Showing posts with label Little Stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Little Stories. Show all posts

October 30, 2018

Adventures of A Baby Moon

 Join Claire de la Lune in The Adventures of Baby Moon. A charming illustrated children's book filled with pleasing watercolors, perfect for reading at story time, bedtime or any time. Claire discovers the seasons, connects with family and friends, and yes, even helps to save the day. Written and illustrated by Kayla Garnet Rose, Ph.D.
This is my granddaughter Claire who was born on October 21, 2018. I wrote and illustrated this book to honor her parents, the Moon Family, and as a surprise gift for their baby shower.

I had taken a class in illustrating children's books last spring at Cabrillo College, as well as classes in both watercolor and travel sketching. We got to go on field trips to Moss Landing, Castro Adobe State Park in Watsonville, the Sesnon House in Aptos, and a wonderful day painting at the Shadowbrook in Capitola.

I wrote the poem after my stepdaughter came in for a hypnobirthing session. After printing it out on white paper, I ripped out each verse and colored the edges to create a scroll-like feel, then glued them into my sketchbook where I had prepared the watercolor backgrounds embellished with some pen and ink details.

Next, I scanned all the images into the computer to create a PDF which I could upload to KindleDirect, which also had a tool in order to create the front and back covers. I ordered a proof and next thing I knew, voila, a book was born.
I have two more children's books in the works, one tentatively titled, Grandma's Got Tattoos. My intention is to create books that appeal to the imagination, are lighthearted and whimsical, and are easily enjoyed by both kids and grown-ups alike. These will be based on some of the classic hypnosis scripts such as The Hero's Journey and I hope they will be especially suitable for those with ADD and ADHD to find solutions to feel calm, focused, and relaxed. 

The book is currently available for sale at the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center's gift and bookshop. Ask your favorite local bookstore or simply click on the link below to order your copy of The Adventures of a Baby Moon, and as always, thank you for all the support, constructive criticism, suggestions, and heartfelt encouragement!

Blessed Be.

June 20, 2016

Poem for Marya

One day Marya the Creatress was walking her path,
When she realized - she really needed a bath!
She rubbed and she scrubbed at all of her spots,
But nothing seemed to remove those red dots!

Off she went to her favorite healer,
A witch in the woods, a real potion dealer.
Who stood up tall, in pink and white striped socks,
And exclaimed, "Oh my dear - You have chicken pox!"

Now the creatress had wandered both far and near,
She was familiar with the ways of Salmon and Deer.
She knew all about Coyote, and the wily Fox,
But what, oh, what, could she learn from the Chicken Pox?

She thought, she mumbled, she scratched and she itched,
She went through hell and tried not to bitch,
Because now she understood those in chronic pain,
Who deal with a similar hell, again and again...

She went on a vision quest, searching high and low,
Climbed the mountains, basked in the meadow.
On Solstice Night, she discovered wisdom of the Owl-
Whoooo simply said -
Be friends with all that is fair and fowl.

Blessed Be!

November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Blues

Got a bunch of pumpkin,
Mushed up in a can,
Tomorrow gonna bake it,
 In a baking pan.
Add some cinnamon,
 Ginger and clove,
Get it really spicy,
Pop it in the burning stove.

Getting ready for Thanksgiving,
Really wanting to give thanks.
Thank goodness we are done with
All the Halloween pranks.
Still time to get out the winter 
Holiday sparkly lights,
Before getting into
All the traditional family fights.

One child is an adult,
But acting like they are two.
Throwing a tantrum,
 Thank goodness, not the food.
The distant cousin is bitter,
Not in a cocktail way...
And who knows what my aunt
 In Italy will say.

My parents will be appalled
I gained so much weight.
I'll try to focus on the love
And ignore all the hate.
I see my brother and his wife
Maybe once or a twice a year.
We are quite distant
Yet in my heart we are near.

Yes, we talk about peace 
And goodwill to men.
But we're ready to bomb, 
Whether foreigners or pathogens.
We feel completely entitled, 
So self righteous.
When the truth is Mr Rogers
Would just tell us all to shush...

There is plenty for everyone, 
All we need to do is share.
There is plenty for all, 
All we need to do is care.
So remember this thanksgiving,
 It's not about which team scores
It's about asking your self
 To spread the love even more.

October 16, 2013

Silent Retreat, Big Sur

My summer retreat started early, on Thursday, after dropping Amber off at her other parent's, knowing she was also getting ready for her big adventure in Europe. I spent the afternoon in relative silence, exchanging a few words with a neighbor, chatting with the cats, mostly fettering around, packing for the weekend. I had been quite surprised by the last minute email from Chip deciding not to go on the retreat, but was glad that he was taking care of himself, taking care of business, and most importantly, willing to look in on the cats over the weekend.

Friday I cleaned the house, mowed the lawn, did laundry and dishes, put clean sheets on the bed, not just for Chip to enjoy but for me to come home to order and grace after the retreat. I gave up on writing my final paper, realizing quite simply I had more research to do than could accomplish in a few hours,and went on a walk instead, depositing checks at the ATM and stopping for a few goodies from New Leaf before heading down the coast.

Despite leaving early, traffic was ridiculous at 2pm, construction creating bottle necks and head aches as I contemplated alternate routes. I decided the truth was I had nothing else to do, plenty of time, and that this was a part of the retreat, sinking into my thoughts rather than getting distractedly the radio, the hum of the air conditioner my only tune. I found myself in a deep fantasy of our wedding day, now that our plans had changed quite drastically from a large celebration with friends and family to what I had originally envisioned, a completely private ceremony between the two of us. My fancies ranged from trekking out to Point Lobos to skydiving in Hollister, ballroom dancing in the city to quiet beaches in Kauai.

After twenty minutes of stop and go, traffic let up after Park Ave, creating smooth sailing for the rest of the two hour trip down the coast. I waved at my parents house in seaside, noticed the driveway to highlands inn, thought about stopping at the Lucia lodge, and suddenly there was the turn into the New Camaldoli Hermitage. The two mile driveway switch-backed over the golden hills bursting with life - Scottish broom, purple sweet peas, pampas grass cheering me on as red tailed hawks swooped overhead.

I went into the bookstore to register, and to my surprise the assistant on duty not only lives in Santa Cruz, but we live on the same street. Small world, interesting way to meet a neighbor. I drove my car down to the hermitage, found my room and unpacked. I sat outside in my little enclosed garden, enjoying the late afternoon sun. A blue jay flew down from the fig tree, looked at me, ruffled it's feathers and pretended to be hurt. I know this bird ruse to lure predators away, and sure enough as I peered up into the leafy green foliage I could see a nest.

Little peeping noises commenced, and as I sat half a dozen teeny fuzz balls began to appear on the tiny trail by my garden. After a few minutes a mama quail appeared, saw me, and quickly ushered her young into the bushes. Hummingbirds came to sip from the orange monkey flowers as I looked across the ocean.

After a light supper, I walked over to Scholastica were the writing workshops were held. A dozen women sat in a circle, each with several journals piled at their feet, candles on the table flickering over an altar of stones, statues, seashells and pinec ones. I realized that I only had a couple pages left in my journal, so the rest of the weekend would write in old journals on random blank pages, something I found rather pleasing in disrupting any linear conceptions of time.

Saturday I woke up early and started reading a book my daughter had recommended. At 9am we had another workshop, reviewing our journals for themes. After lunch I spent the entire afternoon in my little garden, devouring the four hundred page book. After finishing it, I decided to walk down the two mile driveway for some exercise. Going down was easy enough, but hiking back was way more of a struggle, and I had to stop it seemed every ten yards or so, resting in the shade of tree, photographing the purple sweet peas, California poppies and live oaks. We had another evening workshop, after which I was quite content to simply go to bed.

Sunday I ate quiche for breakfast, then went to the morning session. The rest of the day was evenly divided between reviewing old journals, collating in scraps of paper that had accumulated over the years, and creating a healing mandala for my new blended family. I had a lot of satisfaction in  ripping out some pages and  destroying them, no need to cling to the pain of the past. After dinner I started packing, already thinking about the cats, emails, the rest of my week, reminding my self to stay present and enjoy the last of my stay.

Monday morning I woke up early again, took a shower and finished packing up the car. I took a shorter walk to stretch out my calves, still aching from the hike up the hill on Saturday. The fog filled in the valley and there was this feeling of looking down into the clouds, pale pinks and golds dancing in the snowy whiteness, the crisp blue sky above. Wafts of mists would come and envelop me, not the least bit cold, I felt like I could take bites our of the fog, feed myself on the droplets of moisture. Circling back around to the hermitage I found a picnic table to sit and contemplate, writing down my notes for the weekend, eager to share them with Chip after getting back home to Santa Cruz.

August 1, 2012

Chop Wood, Scratch Itch

Right now I am at happy hour at my favorite local restaurant. The sun is hot on my back, the music a pleasant background noise, the day feels unhurried and  accomplished at the same time. I love my California life, all that I have created, from the order and routine to the sudden surprises and chances for spontaneity.  It feels so good to be in a significantly different place than a few years ago - enjoying a relationship, enjoying a steady stream of clients, excited about future projects while staying present in the here and now.

I have a mild case of poison oak on my thumbs, either from weeding or the cats, and I ponder what has been nettling me, what irritants have crept under my skin to boil and itch. How does this excess fluid serve to protect, to heal, to bring awareness and attention where my body needs it most.

I spill salsa on my iPad, taking a moment to dab it off the virtual keyboard, pondering the changes in technology in my lifetime, all that has yet to come. I saw an article on wrist chips, saw a Dick Tracy type watch. Soon our children will be cloning sparrow wings to their backs, growing antennas from their heads as the click their jaw to make a phone call. I'm sure I'll seen old fashioned and obsolete, she who still marvels at texting.

As we move to more voice commands, clicking of icons and using abbreviations to communicate, I wonder not just at a basic loss of literacy and a turnoff a more symbolic time, just as the development of the funnies arose from the need to illustrate current events in the times of illiteracy, I wonder what will happen to our left brains, as the right more symbolic side is found reflected in society, as surely as videos and visual, passive culture has replaced Sunday drives and mornings with the new york times.

I rub my nails against my thumb and wonder if in the future a simple gesture would start my laundry, wash the dishes, have dinner prepared before I get home. Or does it just keep me grounded, in the here in now, chop wood, carry water, scratch itch...

March 14, 2012

Adventures in Detoxing

After reading The Detox Book by Bruce Fife, I decided on trying an herbal detoxification  because "(n)ext to fasting, herbs are the oldest method used for detoxification... In our modern society we have the advantage of using herbs from all over the world, not just the ones growing near us. This way, we have access to the strongest, most effective herbal detoxifies the earth has to offer."  I spent the next eight weeks trying different combination of herbs, mostly in the form of teas, as well as incorporating other detox methods such as regular fasting, oxygen therapy and eating the natural foods diet. As a result, I had more energy, had many minor health issues disappear, and lost 14 lbs.

The physical, mental and emotional steps in preparation for the detox were way more than I had anticipated. Last June I was delighted to come home to my next set of course books from AIHT. I picked up the books on detoxification and thought, "This is what I'll do first!" As the saying goes, we make plans, God laughs. I certainly thought about detoxing for the next six months, reviewing my life style habits, thinking about menu plans and exercise, my general health and well being, and how to create better habits, using the detox as a part of the process.

In December I was diagnosed with Lyme disease from a tick bite six weeks earlier. Three weeks of antibiotics helped with the symptoms but had severe side effects, including daily nausea and headaches as well as a hyper sensitivity to the sun, and coincidentally I was going for my first time to Hawaii. My hands broke out in a heat rash and three patches of ringworm appeared in my arm pits. My reflexologist said that antibiotics can stay in your system for up to three months, which became real motivation for a detox.

In January I went on the Natural Foods Diet recommended in The Detox Book. I bought a scale for the first time in my adult life, and was dismayed to see had gained five pounds while on vacation on top of the twenty pounds I had put on over the last year. I put a calendar in my walk in closet and each day weighed myself and charted what I had eaten, number if alcoholic drinks, any activity such as walking, mowing, house cleaning, etc. and any herbal teas or supplements.

Each day I added one thing to my regime to create my own 7 daily habits. For example, the first day I ate a piece of fruit in the morning, the next day I added a glass of cranberry juice in the afternoon, the third day a cup of herbal tea midday, etc. The first month I added one weekly habit, such as a 24 hour fast, dry skin brushing, a longer physical activity such as hiking or biking, and a regular appointment with a health care provider. The second month I added monthly routines, such as a 3 day fast, hot bath with Epsom salts and ear candling.

It was easy to eliminate meat from my diet, eating salmon, lentils, tofu and eggs, mostly not worrying about protein. I eat vegetables but not a lot of fruit, so I started adding fruits to my salads, such as apples, raisins, and grapes. Later I read more about proper food combining in The Miracle of Fasting and started eating fruits completely separately from other foods. My only dairy is usually milk in my coffee which I replaced with honey, and occasionally yogurt, which I found I didn’t crave any more. I was taking a probiotic supplement to continue to build up friendly flora after being on the doxicycline. A couple of times I broke down and did eat pizza and then really felt it the next day, especially in mucus production. I decided to limit alcohol to the times we went out to dinner, and then only drinking two glasses of white wine.

I slowly added supplements, starting with magnesium/calcium to help the nerve damage in my hands from the Lyme disease and the probiotics for intestinal and colon health. I added a thymactive supplement on the advice of both reflexologist and acupuncturist, both of whom I am seeing on a regular basis and who supervised the detox. Eventually I also added Vitamin C, L-lysine, and a wellness formula.

I thought I was emotionally prepared to go through a healing crisis, which did occur, both physically and emotionally a couple of times. Probably the hardest part of the whole process was my emotional sensitivity and some difficult communication with my partner. Some unresolved issues from the past came up, interestingly that coincided with the time of the tick bite, so I would remind myself that this was a part of the process.

The detox experience itself was great, in some ways easier than I expected, mostly because I had thought about it so much and continued to think about it throughout. I felt like I was kind and gentle to myself, going slow, and choosing to create life time habits more than just trying a fad. I certainly learned the rule of "On fast, don't tell" as had received criticism from friends and family.

The first week I lost five pounds, which I attributed mostly to water loss as both the practitioners said I could be experiencing bloating from the antibiotics and from being on my period. I felt lazy and lethargic, wanting to sleep a lot, experiencing a lot of asthma. I realized that I never want to eat when menstruating, a natural time for me to fast, so for a few days only drank juices and ate fruits. I drank a dandelion tea for a gentle liver detox.

The second week I lost one pound, added the thymus supplement, and found a general return of energy. We went biking twice and hiking. I added daily meditation/visualization that I can do while driving. Both allergies and asthma were better. Went for a chiropractic adjustment. I drank a green tea as an antioxidant.

The third week I gained two pounds. It rained all week, so while I continued to eat clean, my daily walking routine was interrupted. My partner and I decided to take ballroom dancing classes on Monday nights for a fun indoor activity. I started oxygen therapy using hydrogen peroxide on my underarm rash and toe fungus, as well as adding drops to my morning drinking water. I went back to drinking the dandelion tea for a few days.

The fourth week I switched a detox tea specific for kidney and liver health, starting with one cup a day and gradually increasing it to three. Once again, when I got my period I did a 24 hour water fast. I found myself doing more heliotherapy, deliberately sitting out with my arms exposed, and the ringworm started to disappear. I started taking an acai cleanse supplement, along with drinking a berry detox blend tea, which I really enjoyed. I lost two pounds.

The fifth week I continued reflexology, stopped dairy completely, including milk in my coffee, and started drinking an acai based cleansing tea. I felt a lot of energy and a lot of clarity, finding I was waking up early with the dawn and remembering a lot of dreams. I went on a walk six days of the week. I lost six pounds.

The sixth week I had an emotional crises and got the flu, as did everyone in my family. I used a lot aromatherapy, especially eucalyptus. As the mucus drained from my me, I affirmed clearing my brain of congested thoughts. Here the neti pot was my friend as well, helping to ease the strain on my sinuses. I took homeopathic flu remedy and a homeopathic cough syrup. I drank a lot of gypsy cold care tea and green tea, eating mostly soup. My weight stayed constant.

The seventh week I had another emotional crisis, this time with a big outpouring of tears, which ultimately felt cleansing. I did ear candles, my first 3 day fast, and took a bath with Epsom salts and lavender. I went to acupuncture to get rid of the last lingering cough, and she recommended the herb Astralagus. I decided I needed a media fast, recognizing the tv is junk food for my brain, and to go back to reading more instead. I gained one pound. I drank a tea for Fasters that was okay, it did take the edge off the hunger, but liked the acai teas better.

The eighth week I got my period and again fasted for a day. I tried herbal laxative tea and just hated it. The rash where tick bite was flared up considerably. I went on a walk six days of the week. I continued to drink the fasters tea. I felt happy and cheerful, excited for spring projects. I lost three pounds.

My overall perspective of the detoxification process is extremely positive. This was one of my best courses from AIHT and one I plan on using in my life as well as a guide for my clients. Physically, I notice my skin has improved considerably, I have more energy, the toe fungus gone, overall less mucus and even less plaque on my teeth, plus losing 14 lbs., feeling more like my normal size, back in my regular body. Emotionally, I feel like I survived the winter and actually had less symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) than previous years. Mentally, I enjoyed the visualizations and meditations, and look forward to more mind fasts by continuing to go on silent retreats. I know I will continue to use various methods from the book and have detoxing become a regular part of my self care routines. I took to heart the advice, “...those who wish to harness the healing power of herbs for detox and healing at home must take “the people’s medicine” into their own hands and administer it to their own bodies, along with other healing angels of food, water, air and sunlight.” -Daniel Reid, The Tao of Detox (p.196).

Most importantly, the detox had a profound spiritual effect. I did a lot of prayer work as well as Reiki, putting a lot of time, energy and thought into what it meant to detox on all levels of my being, not just the physical. I found my meditations quite focused and engaging, and had a resurgence of creative energy, doing more photography and collage work. I am truly grateful for the detox as it allowed me to clear some clutter from my soul, transmute the poisons of the past and know that I will use this experience as a gift to help others.

The Detox Book.
Fife, Bruce. Colorado Springs: Piccadilly Books, Ltd, 1997.
The Tao of Detox. Reid,. Daniel. Rochester: Healing Arts Press, 2006.
The Miracle of Fasting. Bragg, Patricia. Santa Barbara: Health Science. .
The Fasting Handbook. Safron, Jeremy. Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 2005.

January 4, 2012

Adventures in Maui 3: West Side

Our west side adventures in Maui started out pretty slow for me. After the long drive the day before from Hana, both my hands had broken out into hives from the medication I am on, which makes my skin ultra photo sensitive. While Chip went snorkeling, I hung out at the Lokelani condo, finished reading my second novel, checking out The Ultimate Maui and playing on the computer.

Thursday we cruised into Lahaina town, which reminded me much of Key West. Bustling, full of color and life, a magnificent Banyan Tree making up a wondrous playground and welcomed shade by the yacht harbor. We went whale watching, seeing close to a dozen whales, distant flumes of water and the occasional tail. Afterwards we stopped at The Cool Cat for salads, meandering down Front Street afterwards to peruse the art galleries before going home to make spinach cheese raviolis in a pesto sauce.
The next day was my one of only my swims in the ocean, as our private beach was still in the shade early in the morning. Donning on Chips UV protecting shirt and goggles, I attempted underwater photography but it was much to murky. While he went oft snorkel more distant and clearer reefs, I bobbed up and down on a friendly sandbar, avoiding sea urchins while trying to capture good photos of waves.

Later we drove up to Kapalu and hiked the oceanic trail. First we encountered the Dragons Teeth, fierce juts of lava that threatened to swallow the ocean. Much to my surprise, I also found a labyrinth had been created on one of the clearings. While Chip took photos of the landscape, I did a walking meditation, another incredibly sacred and awe-inspiring time on this trip. We hiked further along the coast line, but feeling overly hot and weary I sat by the tide pools while Chip continued further on. I saw sea turtle come to the ocean surface several times, more gratifying than the whale watching, and took furtive pics of a fisherman who just delighted me for no particular reason. At sunset we stopped at The Sea House in Napili, chomping on yummy salads before going home to cook a more thorough dinner and sing karaoke to our favorite songs on Google Music, repeatedly coming back to Southern Cross by Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Saturday, Chip went zip lining without me, which I had tried here in Santa Cruz and found that the suspension bridges to be simply terrifying. Mostly I just hung out, doing major power lounging and tons of pure nothing, feeling incredibly decadent and fully on vacation. We were invited to a New Years Eve party in another unit, so bottle of wine in hand we went to meet the neighbors and eat luscious pupus. Mostly a tribe from Alaska, our hosts were gracious and kind, jamming in just a ton of people into their condo,  really living the aloha spirit.

New Years Day we said goodbye to The Lokelani and moved down to Kaanapli Beach to stay a couple of nights at The Whaler, a huge resort complex in the middle of several other resorts. What a contrast from Hana! While we had a ocean view, the sound of the outside fountain, filters, and pool literally drowned out the surf, and the muggy temperature forced us to use the air conditioning rather than leaving the doors to the lanai open as we had done thus far.

We ate our complimentary pineapple with relish, then drove back to Kapalua to hike the second half of the trail. Moving off the beaten path we discovered wonderful tide pools, full of anemone and urchins, tiny fish and lots of crabs.

Once again we found ourselves hanging out at The Sea House, this time with a wondrous seared ahi salad. After lunch we sat and watched the paddle boarders, wandering the Napali beach and getting quite soaked by the waves. Later, back in Kapali, we cruised the different hotels trying to find some decent live music, ending up at The Tiki bar listening to a slack key guitar version of the twelve days of Christmas.

Monday we set off for central Maui to hike the Haleakala crater. A series of switchbacks took us up 10,000 feet, past the clouds and droves of bicyclist tours who had started earlier in the day at the base of the national park. The temperature dropped steadily, going from balmy 80 degrees to a very crisp 57. The views were amazing, the terrain quite the desert, looking like what I imagine Mars must be like, deep ferrous reds along with black lava, only the occasional silver sword plant dotting the landscape. The folks at the visitor center were extremely kind, and driving back down we blessed to see Nene, the local goose. We ate an extremely late lunch at the Kula Lodge, where we has the best salads, one spinach and one organic greens, along with my first lavender martini, a welcomed treat after a long day exploring the volcano.

Tuesday was our last day. We packed up and headed to Kahului airport, where we met Alex, the friendliest porter who actually hailed from Florida. We hung out at Stinger Rays, drinking Blue Hawaii's and Pina Coladas, feasting on nachos with pulled pork, looking a photos on the computer and patiently waiting for our departure.

What a wonderful experience. My first time in Hawaii was exceptional, seeing both sides of the island really felt like two vacations rolled into one. The people were so nice everywhere, the weather exceptional even when raining, and I look forward to a time of returning to this place of paradise.

Yes, I loved Maui, now I return to my own paradise, Santa Cruz, and my cats who say "Meow-y"

January 1, 2012

Adventures in Maui 2: East Side

After flying in to Kahului, Maui airport around 3pm, we began the famous drive on the road to Hana. Twisty, turvy, often one lane, we crawled along at 15 miles per hour taking almost 3 hours to complete the sixty mile stretch. I tried to take pics of waterfalls as we went by, but soon got car sick and instead sat and breathed the humid air while feasting my eyes on the rich greens of the rain forest.

We arrived at our destination, Tutus house, a lovely cottage duplex that was to be home for the next five days. After unpacking we sauntered up to the old Hotel Hana, now called Traavasa, ate an incredibly delicious, expensive meal of steamed mahimahi with bok choy while making friends with the hotel cat, Mama.

The next day we set out looking for breakfast, ending up at the illustrious Uncle Bills, a shack like no other, filled with tacky decorations and served coffee in a penis mug (I kid you not) by the colorful queen of bacon fried in yesterday's drippings, Phyllis. One of the only places with Internet access, other customers chained smoked hand rolled cigarettes while we watched the local police arrive to question Phyllis about who knows what.

After checking emails and polishing off our coffee, we walked down to Hana Bay and hiked out along the point, discovering a placard to Queen Wainapanapa who had been brutally murdered by her husband. So much for aloha. Afterwards we stocked up on supplies at the Hasegawa General Store, got stamps at the post office, then had the most amazing meal at Braddah Hutts, a sumptuous shrimp pasta easily big enough for two, served and cooked outdoors under a few tarps. This was a super friendly place, soon to become one of our favorites.

On Thursday we went Power Hang Gliding with Armin Engert, an outstanding experience not to be missed. After a brief lesson, I pulled on my flight suit, climbed aboard, said some prayers and we launched into the sky. Armin took me out across the water, showing me how to control the glider, but after awhile I was quite content to hand back the controls as we zoomed along the coast line, up into the mountains to see amazing waterfalls, and even further until we were flying in a cloud. Armin was an excellent host and instructor, clearly someone who loved his work, his enthusiasm was quite contagious.

Later we drove up to the Nahiku marketplace for tea, fish tacos and coconut candy, continuing on to  Wainapanapa Park, also known as black sand beach. We watched eager teenagers climb the cliffs and jump into the waters, found the blow hole, and hiked down to where their are sea caves.  We went into a Lava Tube that was under the earth and walked for about half a mile through this huge cave/tunnel that was completely pitch dark and drippy wet. It was a self guided tour, they just hand you flash lights, and you follow this railing with little info placards on it every dozen feet or so. It was super cool and trippy, the ceiling high enough (like the living room) that I didn't feel claustrophobic. When we got to the end, before we turned around, we turned off our flashlights. It was beyond dark! Couldn't tell if my eyes were open or closed, really super creepy.  It was chock full of stalactites and stalagmites and an underground bacteria that looked like gold glitter everywhere.

Outside of the lava tube was a maze made out of Ti, a local red plant, but as we wound our way through there were tons and tons of spider webs crossing our path. We used our flashlights to combat them, but after a few minutes of wandering around and feeling lost, we went back to the beginning to get out of spider hell.

Speaking of bacteria, just before leaving i got diagnosed with Lyme disease. Unfortunately I am on heavy duty antibiotics and cannot go into the sun, a huge bummer on this trip, so everyday have dressed in long sleeves and a floppy hat, forsaking any romping in the bay. Despite slathering myself with sunscreen, my hands have broken out in hives, and consistent headaches have plagued me this trip, as well as morning nausea. I look forward to returning in a time when I can play more.

Saturday, Christmas eve, we hiked the Oheo gorge along the Seven Sacred Pools, a series of waterfalls in Haleakala. It would start raining every twenty minutes or so, and the trail was muddy beyond belief. I was only wearing sandals, so the mud was squishishing between my toes, making it super slick and I almost fell on my ass more than once. Luckily Chip had brought hiking sticks, so I could move slowly along like some old lady. We took the secret forbidden path to the Infinity Pool, but didn't go swimming as there was warnings of some bacteria in the water that causes meningitis and I already have bacteria a plenty from ye olde tick bite. It was extremely beautiful, but you know me, I hate the rain and was quite relieved to turn back to the car. I saw more waterfalls today than maybe in my entire life. While my partner puttered around playing professional photographer, I found a comfortable rock to sit upon and meditate. I cast a circle and found myself infused with memories of songs. I found myself singing and singing, watching the aura of trees and feling deeply connected to the earth, the sky, the waters. I prayed to walk a healers path and for my own healing to be complete, healing my mind, healing my body. There are no words for what I felt in those long moments, yet I know them to be a resource I will draw upon for the rest of my life.

Christmas day was a transition time, and we left our pleasant cottage to move into the yurt at Luana Spa, which was truly awesome. Cozy, comfy, with spectacular views, an outside shower, and just the yummiest feeling, I felt deeply blessed to move into this hummy moon suite. After unpacking we hiked down to Red Sand Beach at Kaihalulu, where the waves were quite fierce and the ocean the most incredible shade of clear turquoise blue.

The first night, I went to go to use the outside bathroom and Chip followed me to brush his teeth. We heard a click and realized we had locked ourselves out! No door key, no car key, no cell phone, Chip in a bathrobe, the rain just starting...

First we tried to take the hinges off the door, but to no avail. We walked around trying to find a pay phone that worked, ending up at the beach, and finally able to call 911 who were no help whatsoever. We didn't know the owners name so couldn't call them either. All of this was on Christmas day, well, Christmas night by now.

We walked back to the yurt and realized that the keys were hanging right by the door. We found a plastic stool to stand on and could unhook the top plastic hooks that attach the yurt wall to it's ceiling tarp. The wall literally fell away, revealing the keys! Yay!

Then, the next day we had scheduled a private massage lesson with the owner, whose name turned out to be Nancy Plenty. She set us up in the haolo, a grassy hut overlooking the ocean. First I lay down and she instructed Chip on basic Swedish massage. I turned over and asked for a tissue as I got all cloggy. The Kleenex box was empty, so Chip fetched the one from our bathroom. I pulled out a rather tattered tissue, then a second one, when this HUGE RAT jumped out of the box, onto my belly, and scampered off the table and into the bushes. both Chip and Nancy screamed but I just laughed. Rat medicine...
Cunning rat of silent creeping,
Friend of Ganesha, lord of might,
Guide me through mazes by your foresight,
For all good things are mine by right.

The next day was our last in Hana. After packing up our stuff into the convertible, we headed off to the Sacred temple and botanical gardens in Kahanu. Situated in the storied land of Honomā`ele, Kahanu Garden is the home to Pi`ilanihale, a massive lava-rock structure that is believed to be the largest ancient place of worship (heiau) in Polynesia. This awe-inspiring cultural site is registered as a National Historic Landmark. Again I found myself singing, "Where I walk is holy
Holy is the ground,
Listen to the rhythm,
listen to the sound,
Great Spirit circle all around me..."

After a few hours we once again drove the famous Hana Highway, stopping for lunch in Piilani, the amount of people feeling overwhelming after the remoteness of Hana. We drove on to the west side of the isle to Kaanapali, where the second half our adventures awaited...


December 29, 2011

Adventures in Maui, part 1

Right now I am sitting on an airplane on my way to Hawaii. After three hours, my knees are beginning to ache, but I no longer feel nauseous from this mornings dose of antibiotics to combat Lyme disease. I hear a baby crying, but the one next to me has been almost as adorable as my cat. There is the smell of corn nuts, making me feel peckish, but all in all I feel content in the moment, looking forward to this vacation.

One of the joys of being self employed is choosing my own hours, but actual vacations are rare. Last year I went to Sweden for ten days with my mom to pick up her new Volvo. This year I have gone to San Diego twice for long weekends, once for my partner's high school reunion and once right after his mother died. I'm not overly fond of flying, and need to remember to take ibuprofen before we get on our departing flight home. I did stock up on airborne and drank it's fizzy goodness after lunch.

I am looking forward to doing lots of nothing, and really have no expectations, besides for enjoying this time with Chip. I'm excited to do something new and appreciate him taking me out of my comfort zone. I miss my daughter and the cats already, sending them little infinity loops of love in prayer, and my mind still drifts to work. I need to set my vacation responder on my emails when I have Internet service again, and I feel a great relief to be away from my everyday responsibilities, from cleaning the house and pruning the yard to meeting clients and grading homework.

Maybe I'll spend some time cleaning up my facebook account, but mostly I want to really relax. Lyme disease aside, I have felt exhausted for months, generating the income to go on this trip, and I certainly have a deep satisfaction to having paid my property taxes and my bills without completely depleting my bank account.

I hope to work on my tarot project. I brought templates and colored pencils, as well as a new deck to play with, The Joie de Vivre tarot, the name seems apropos. I won't be able to go into the sun much as a result of the medication, so this project will literally be made in the shade.

We are experiencing some turbulence and I think about the recent episodes of Lost we have been watching. We filled out agricultural forms to be entered into a drawing - how very American, do your duty and maybe win a prize  - and now are waiting to be served complimentary Mai tais, a drink I've never had before. Already it's an adventure.


November 21, 2011

Holding On

After the morning session at the writer's retreat, I changed into shorts and we went to the Blackbird cafe. I found myself enjoying the warm porcelain of the mug more than the actual coffee, staring aimlessly out the window at Tomales bay, just being present with the wood floor, the spilled creamer, the fancy pants car that pulled up so someone could drop off their used netflix at the post office.

We drove a long way to the lighthouse, the fog growing thicker and more surreal, some trepidation growing inside me. It was a thick blanket of grey by the time we reached our destination, after winding through cow pastures a plenty, cattle ranches and farms dotting the way. I was already cold, a condition I abhor, and was grateful that I had brought along pants and my winter jacket.

We hoofed it up to the visitors center, the cypress trees crying drops of condensed mist, creating a microcosm of damp earth, filled with rich moss. I was amazed at the lack of parking, the amount of folks out on this Sunday, despite the inclement weather. We wound our away to the weather station, where a brisk wind would occasionally reveal the ocean far below, information boards proudly proclaiming recorded gusts of 133 miles an hour, maybe my definition of hell.

We walked a little ways back, finding a surprisingly warm bench to eat our sandwiches, sharing potato chips and water. Chip opted to go on to the light house, but I balked at seeing the sign warning that the steps were the equivalent of climbing 30 stories, knowing my knees would complain the rest of the week. I wandered back to the car, the condensation so thick on my glasses that I just took them off, content to have blurry vision in the fog.

I sat in the car and continued to work on what had become my main focus in these last few days, facing my own struggles and writing to affirm myself all the times I had overcome similar obstacles in the past, all the resources I could draw upon now. Chip bounced up to the car, my happy Tigger, ready to hike into the wind and nestle into the poison oak and tick filled grasses. I struggle with the recent concepts of being content with the way things are and the need to create my own reality, which did not include being cold or being exposed to Lyme disease. I tried to not sound cranky as I requested we move some where more conducive to my needs, like the retreat house or a cosy cafe.

We ended up just going down to the beach a few miles away, instantly much sunnier, the sound of the elephant seals filling the air. We had passed many cows and a herd of deer or elk, the fawns practically obnoxious in crossing the roadway. We walked down to the rescue station, where for years brave men had launched boats to aid those who had been lost in the sea and fog, ships run aground and airplanes that had crashed on the shores.

We sat at a picnic table and shared our latest writing, I finally found the courage to share my piece on my real challenges, tears running down my face, choking up in places. We seemed to talk for a long time, and I found that beacon of hope in my chest, a lightening of my spirit as my internal fog lifted.

We walked back to the car and Chip went on another hike while I started a new Sherri Tepper novel, drinking his cold coffee and munching on potato chips. At some point I became anxious, looking up the trail for his familiar red sweat shirt, beginning to imagine the worst and wondering at what point would I go looking for him. I admonished myself to stop catastrophizing, to enjoy the calm warm car, but still my eyes would glance up at the end of every page.

My heart lept when I did see his familiar gait, and I felt silly for having wasted any time in worry. We went back to retreat house to change our clothes before venturing to Point Reyes Station for dinner, ending up at a very pleasant saloon with live music and yummy food. We talked about Gengis Khan and gratitude, holding hands when possible and thoroughly enjoying fresh popovers, speculating on blessings in disguise and how to create our future together.

Now we are back at the retreat house, a quilt resting gently across our laps, sharing the space with other participants, working on our writing assignments. I am tired but quite content, feeling happy with the little rock that Chip bought me, It has the single word on it, gratitude, and I know that this is something I can hold on to.

Blessed be.

November 16, 2011

On Retreat

Friday October 28, 2011

We have arrived at St. Columba retreat house in Inverness, near Pt Reyes. I picked Chip up at Google around 2pm, driving 101 through busy San Francisco, a windy tour into the northern seashore. After dropping off our stuff we walked the skinny shoulder of  the road into Inverness to dine at Priscellas on fish tacos and a sumptuous pesto penna pasta. I am aware of our talking, on this silent retreat, aware of the pauses, the moments of quiet, the need to share, our deep caring for each other.

I am deciding whether to bring my iPad into the workshop or to use my handy dandy journal, noticing the tap of my fingertips compared to the scratching of the pen, the incessant auto correct which is wrong in comparison to my own scribblings, an incessant need to edit, to make tidy and perfect.

What is my intention? To write, of course, but what springs forth is to write love letters - to Chip, to Amber, to Z, to Scott in a coma, to my clients, to myself. What are the letters of love? Looking at the Hebrew letters on the sun and moon tarot deck, what are the letters I would like to inscribe on my deck?

I wanted to make tarot templates before this trip, but time eluded me, getting caught up in the tides and eddies of cleaning the house, clearing my desk, last minute phone calls and emails. When do I put myself first? I comfort myself that all is within, and while I  may not be able to draw a perfect circle, I know I can draw upon my own creativity to begin what maybe I see as my great work, my chef d'oevre, even knowing in this moment that the quest is elusive and to enjoy the journey more than the destination.

Five years ago I really began talking about my intention to create a tarot deck, specifically by the time I am 50. Now at 45 I feels my own pressure, get with it, start writing, start sketching. I have momentary jealousies when I see a colleague who has created a deck, who is being published, and I need to remind myself that my time is my own, dedicated to Amber, dedicated to putting food on the table and paying off debts, there is plenty of time, plenty of time.

Recently I sketched out the minor arcana, and we'll see if I dedicate time to creating more fuller versions this weekend, or if my ramblings will take me elsewhere, always a learning experience, always a part of the process.

We are sleeping in bunk beds, a far cry from spooning together, yet I am so grateful to have Chip by my side, willing to enjoy this experience together. I send the cats energy and assurances, mom is just on a big hunt, and I will be back soon. Meanwhile, the retreat has just begun to be...

A treat!

Our first workshop, Chip and I pass each other our writings, I notice all the people from past retreats, those who are new. I'm curious about their stories, in slight awe of my own, from three years ago being in grief and torment over Chip, last year he house sat for me, this time he is by my side. I pulled the card of change a few days ago, and the wheel keeps on turning.

I am slightly chilled, at least my nose and cheeks, I can't believe I forgot to bring my jacket, she who is addicted to the black velvet. Addiction is my other theme this weekend, noticing all the times I have overcome past addictions, from cigarettes to farmville. I enjoyed my Lagunitas IPA at dinner, conscious of being grateful for moderation on this journey,

Blessed be.

April 11, 2011

Chiron in Pisces

Last night so many memories came up - specifically about going to Paris with my mom in 1979 when we both had foot surgery at the same time. Waking up to indescribable pain, my mother crying and puking in her own bed, me unable to help, her pitifully calling out “Nurse, Nurse” *How stupid* I thought in my anesthetic haze*They only speak French here.*

    Within hours they made us walk, much to my horror, and we hobbled around the old hospital corridors on bruised and damaged feet. I remember seeing the black catgut caked in dried blood when it was time to replace the bandages.

    We shared a sugar cube, our only treat on a Saturday night, and read “Roots” over the next three days. I think my dad visited once, leaving us the Volvo so we could drive home. Why didn’t we take the train? Money? Driving from Paris to Luxembourg is a 5 hour  trip, compounded by a trucker strike that effectively halted their version of a beltway.

    The story goes that I navigated my mother through the city streets, but I remember little. Eventually we stopped for gas, and I asked my mom to buy me a Pierrot doll at the souvenir stand, the first in what was to become quite the collection. I so identified with being seen as the clown, the entertainment system, wearing a happy face when really I was crying on the inside.

    I was crippled, using crutches over the next six weeks, my feet kept in tight bandages for nearly a year. I did not realize at the time that I would never ice skate again, the one thing I felt good at, the one thing I enjoyed. That fall I left for boarding school in England, limping along, the surgery declared ‘unsuccessful’ and the doctors prescribing future operations.

    Almost thirty years later, my mother has had numerous surgeries since, including removing both bone spurs and tumors that grew around undissolved catgut. I have done acupuncture to break up stagnation in the scar tissue and to release the traumatic emotions, but I still feel an ache in my foot bones after Zumba and before it rains.

    There was a wounding my faith that day - faith in my parents, faith in doctors, faith that this would make things better instead of worse. Like the little mermaid, I awoke that day to not just destined to walk on broken glass, but to have my voice taken away.

    My parents didn’t abandon me - they had me “choose” to go to boarding school when I felt I had no other options. I remember how homesick I was the next few years, how I longed to have my parents call, to write me a letter, to find some assurance of connection. Always praised for independence and stoicism, I turned more and more inward, spiraling into a typical teenage depression that I still struggle with today. Only in my twenties, when I first started studying astrology, did I discover that Chiron, the wounded healer, was in Pisces, sign of faith and rules the feet, when I was born.

    I don’t remember the pre-surgery details, the way i remember the anesthesia routine before I had my adenoids out a few years previously. but I do remember the night before we checked into the hospital, walking along the boulevard with Mom, going faster and faster, trying to keep up with her longer legs and wider stride, until finally my mom asked me to slow down. “Slow down?” I asked, “I’m trying to keep up with you!”

August 3, 2010

A Quest for Vision

I decided I needed to reward my self after finishing a final exam. I knew that sushi would be somewhere in the picture, but as it was still fairly early in the afternoon, I decided to go for hike up to Land of Medicine Buddha. My daughter had gone to Tara Redwoods for grade school, which is located on the grounds of this Buddhist retreat, and since it's quite close to my office, I go there quite often to meditate on my lunch breaks.

I have been just loving the course in Vision Therapy, and much like the Aromatherapy class, knew that this was something I wanted to use for myself right away. I first began wearing glasses in 6th grade, and like most people, have seen an increase in my prescription over the years. Currently I wear lenses with a power of -3.00 in the right eye and -3.25 in the left. I switched to contacts in 10th grade, and wore them consistently for the next 20 years. Indeed, my motto for a long time was, “Home is were the contact lens case is."

   I switched back to wearing glasses full time about five years ago. About 3 or 4 months ago I went to my optician for a new set, feeling that I was having a hard time reading, and figuring that since I am in my 40’s it was probably due to macular degeneration i.e. old age. The doctor said my prescription had changed so minimally, it was not worth getting a new prescription, but instead he encouraged me to simply stop wearing my glasses when reading, as I am near sighted.

As soon as I started the unit, I began taking my glasses off in earnest. There are no coincidences, and the timing was perfect for me to practice vision therapy for myself. I found The Power Behind Your Eyes: Improving Eyesight with Integrative Vision Therapy by Robert-Michael Kaplan extremely interesting and useful, but a little disorganized. I enjoyed many of the written activities, and wrote out the exercises in my journal. I illustrated these with a colorful drawings, for example one that showed my third eye opening. Next, I created a spreadsheet with 12 categories with space for notes for 14 days. My intention was not to do necessarily do every one every day, but to experiment with the different exercises and create a system to observe the results.

 I beaded an eye glass chain to make it easier for me to switch back and forth from my prescribed vision to naked vision. I started with fifteen minute increments, usually while studying, and gradually increased to a few hours (cumulative) a day. I began to challenge myself more by walking the half hour to my dance classes with no glasses on, observing my internal state as I negotiated streets and cross walks. I noticed feeling internally softer as I experienced the blur, as well as a softening of my facial muscles. I felt like I was not wearing my social mask, but instead felt really relaxed and unconcerned about other people and their perceptions of me. I also found myself less worried about the mundane details of life (paying bills, returning calls, picking up kids, etc.) and more enjoying the moment, discovering how much more I really could see than I had expected. I felt safe and grounded, never in any danger. Not that I’m ready to drive with no glasses, but this was certainly the proverbial eye opener as to the extent in which my glasses have become a crutch. As I navigated the paths in my softer vision, I found it easier to visualize the steps I need to take to decrease my stress levels in other aspects of my life. This seemed to flow with the assertion that nearsightedness is a message of being afraid to see what’s out there, of pulling with, and to begin reaching out with a clearer purpose and to take risks, as well as to use relaxation techniques that allow “being” more than “ doing”

    I found myself using naked vision more and more, during lectures, meetings, and times when I didn’t have a need to be completely focused (i.e. in control) such as hanging out in a cafe or having dinner. Breaking my morning habit of reaching for my glasses has been difficult, but I now trust that no gnomes have moved the coffee in the middle of the night, and I find it easier and easier to delegate my lenses to the realm of something that I need in order to drive, much like my keys, than something I need to cling to all day long.

Just driving through the redwoods felt relaxing, so I parked my car about a half mile away, deciding to walk up to the retreat, do a walking meditation around the  prayer wheel, and come back by happy hour. I took my glasses off as I moved along the road, finding my rhythm and feeling my stride. As I crossed a little bridge I noticed how much noise my shoes were making, and I decided to slip them off. I popped them by a tree trunk, putting my car keys and glasses inside, so I wouldn't have to carry anything either. I felt light and easy in the moment.

 I have been deeply stressed all month, combined with allergies, and have seen a return of gerd and asthma as a result. "What steps do I need to take for my health?" kept going through my head as I reached the Prayer Wheel. I gripped the handle and began walking, closing my eyes and letting the wheel guide me. I thought about how many feet had stepped on this circle before, how many prayers for peace and to release suffering had been chanted. I noticed the shadows and golden sunlight dancing on my eyelids, as I went slower and slower...

After some time had passed, I felt a deep peace and decided to return to my car. I jauntily set off down the path feeling better than I had in a long time. After a while the path started to veer sharply up, and I came across a gate with a "no trespassing sign." It should say "no stress passing" I thought, realizing right then that I must of taken a wrong turn somewhere. "Okay, " I thought, "here's this adventure," contemplating the day's tarot card. Well, four hours later...

Some who wander actually are lost. I had to laugh at myself, for pretty much I was experiencing my worst nightmare - no idea where I was, barefoot, no glasses, the sun starting to set, starting to get thirsty. And I was fine. Of course, I started to imagine more and more dire situations - by the time I did find the bridge, what if a squirrel had stolen my car keys? I took a deep breath and reminded myself to be calm. I paid attention to the moss under my sore feet, the feel of stepping on soft dead leaves, the quite rustles and inconsistent bird calls. I decided I was on a trust walk and I could trust that I could find my way back home. I turned a corner, and there below me in the blurry distance I could see the bridge. Never have I felt so thankful to slip on my shoes, jingle my keys, tuck my glasses safely into my blouse... And damn, if that wasn't the best sushi I've ever had in my life!

July 17, 2010

Mooses, Wild Boars, and Camels, Oh My!

Did you know that 80 people a day haven an encounter with a moose in Sweden? Neither did I. There are fences to keep the moose off the highways all along the roads, with many warning signs. indeed, at one Moose Preserve we stopped at, they had graphically illustrated what could happen if you hit a moose with a life sized diorama:

Don't worry, there were live moose at the preseve as well:

As well as goats:

and wild boars:

and later on Öland we saw a herd of camel:

but I did think the moose was flirting with my Mom:

Don't you?

Photos by Siv, 2010