Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Because we are, because we can.  Here are some things we've been up to lately.  I hope they inspire.

Cardboard and Duct Tape Boat.  Iteration 1.

Sand Mandala


Sometimes you don't have to go anywhere to be on vacation

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Summer Love

Walking out in a tank top on a moonlit night as the eighty degree soft wind brushes against bare arms.  Clouds drift across the sky reflecting the light of the moon and carrying the tone of day-end peace.  I love summer nights.  I love the sounds of the crickets, cicadas, and frogs all doing their mysterious things behind the shadowed brush.  I love the pavement glistening damp and sheen orange from the street lamps.  I even love the city with sparkling side walks and laughter echoing from bar patios.

This summer has been so wonderful, I don't want it to turn fall.  As my kids have grown out of our bed, and sleep through the night, I've blossomed into a person again (not just a worn out mom).  Teaching Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga has been so good for me.  I'm outdoors on the water, surrounded by nature and doing yoga, at least three times a week.  I've finally got my pre-kid body back.  Really, I'm in the best shape of my life.  I have a freggin 6pack for the first time ever (I might have to pierce the belly button to give it some bling).  It's the luscious mix of eating naturally rich foods, flowing through yoga outdoors, being embraced by love from my family, and finding an outlet for exercising my personal driving passions.

Everyday that passes I breath gratitude into the spaces of momentary reflection because I know how lucky this is.  On the floor, forming tea cups out of rainbow sculpy, I realize how delicious it feels to do art side-by-side with the kids.  Every time I plop down to pick up those damn legos, I say a silent thank you to the universe for giving me the leeway to pick up those legos; because I still remember a time when that wasn't fathomable, when I was a mom stretched so thin that picking up legos by hand off the floor was not a sane option.

I know that luck is fragile and could flutter away at any moment.  I've seen many good families struck by indiscriminate challenges, and I don't think for a second that we are immune.  I wont ask for anything more and will just savor what we have right now... Except maybe for summer to linger a bit longer.  

I write this on a day that was almost so sucky.  Kaio and I fought like brother and sister.  My temper short, his actions incendiary.  It just sucked.  But I'm glad that I was able to catch a late night yoga class after Mari came home.  That fixed the spirit and reset the nerves.  Maybe Kaio wasn't incendiary in the first place, maybe I was just cranky.

That's really the ticket.  Taking care of myself by knowing when I need a break to recharge.  That has been the key to the success of this summer: spending time fostering the family's interests while also nurturing myself.  It feels like living with the kind of relish I remember from my indulgent youth.   Each action worthy of the moment, even when just hanging around the house watching TV.  There's intention, honest joy and the days pass as plump, sweet peaches.

Kriya in Sanskrit translates to "action."  For me it signifies a state of recognition of the action of each moment as a choice.  Even sleep is an action, as you are making a choice to sleep.  During sleep you breath, engage in REM, and relax your muscles.  Sitting on the sofa, watching TV you are recognizing the importance of that moment as a valuable step in your life.  That could be learning something yourself or sharing in some cuddle time while watching a show that someone else likes.  Kriya, is living with intention, and through this you feel the energy (prana, qi) flowing through your body.  That is action.  That is being a master of your domain.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Nightmare Came True

I've had a recurrent nightmare for the last 10 years and yesterday it finally came true.   Backstory: in 2002, I visited the dentist for a routine cleaning to learn that a root canal had become infected and damaged the tooth to the point where I would need a second root canal and possible extraction.  This happened about a week before I was scheduled to study a semester in Brazil.  So I had to make a tough choice: perform the root canal and postpone the trip for winter semester, or do nothing and risk needing dental surgery in a foreign country.  Knowing what I know now, I wish I'd done nothing.  But, I was 21 and didn't know.

Already mentally prepared for the trip, I didn't want to change my plans for departure.   So I went with another and more drastic option, I asked them to extract the infected tooth entirely.  My dad's new girlfriend (now wife) works as a dental assistant, and she was able to call up an old friend laboratory technician to make a temporary tooth in time for my trip.  The novocaine had barely worn off my face before I was on a plane to Miami and South America bound.

The tooth they removed is in the upper lateral front.  So without it, I have an obvious smile gap, like a  hideous hillbilly.

Since then, I've experienced dreams about breaking the bridge and loosing the tooth, being left with a big hole in my mouth.  In my dreams, I'm eating something and feel the tooth is gone, I'm horrified and embarrassed   It usually happens in an important situation, like I'm dreaming I'm at a conference as the key note speaker or getting glamorous pictures taken.  Sometimes I even awake, frightened and confused, then feel for my tooth with such relief.  This has been going on for 10 years.  Years of nightmares about helplessly loosing face and being toothlessly naked in front of the world.

Well yesterday it finally happened.  The nightmare came true while eating a soft pita with tomato and mozzarella cheese.  I felt it slip out of place, it was the moment I'd been waiting for and dreading.  There was that empty sensation familiar from so many bad dreams over the years.  To confirm, I spat the tooth into my hand, there it was, the moment I'd dreaded.  Ok, this is not a dream, think, think, what do you need to do.  What time is it?  It's 4:15, the dentist might still be in the office.  I ran to the phone and called my orthodontist.  Surprisingly she answered the phone instead of the secretary.

"Jessie, my fake tooth came out, I need you to glue it back in."

In her motherly Latina voice,  "Sweety, we're leaving for the day, I'm on my way to the emergency room myself right now for some elbow pain."

"Where can I go, who can fix this? There's a big gaping hole in my mouth!"

At one point, Nala walked into the bathroom while I'm on the phone, "Mom, can you come play with me, princess Luna made invitations for all the ponies for the dinner party..."

"Nala!  I'm on the phone! Don't talk to me!"

Jessie continues, "I can move things around to fit you in at 9:30 in the morning. You are not in any pain right now, no one else is going to glue it back on."

I'm thinking about how to respond, should I whine, should I tell her about my dreams, should I argue?  She said that she's on the way to the emergency room herself.   I force myself to say "ok, thank you, I'll see you tomorrow."

And there I am, staring myself in the mirror, living the moment that had haunted me for so many years.      Talking myself down:  I can do this, it's going to be ok.  I can just stay home in the house and hide all evening.  But what will people do when they see me so ugly?

I walk out of the bathroom.  Nala's outside the bedroom door, holding the door open a crack and peeking through.  I find her and crouch down, speak without opening lips wide,  "Nala I'm sorry for yelling at you, it was an emergency and I was very upset and needed to focus on the phone."

"Can you play with me now?"

She leads me into the living room.  I'm feeling so emotional and upset about loosing my tooth.  I decided I had to tell the kids.

"Guys, I have something to show you.  I'm pretty upset right now because I just lost my tooth."  I open my hand to show them the little pontiff resting in the center of my palm.  It looks so innocent and unworthy of all this excitement and fret.

They lit up and in unison began saying, "Mom!  The tooth fairy is going to visit you now!"

Oh that cheered me up, for sure.

Kaio, "Can I see your mouth?"

I smile as they inspect the empty spot.

"Now can you play with us?"

Bless their little pure hearts.

They don't care.  These kids will never judge me.  They will never laugh at me for being a hillbilly.

I sit down to play, realizing that my worst fear is ok, here and now.

Because I have braces, and because there was some dried adhesive remaining on the bracket, it's not so obvious that I'm missing the tooth from afar.  I decided to try a yoga class at a studio I'd never been to before, hoping I wont have to talk to anyone at a new studio (but of course that doesn't end up being the case).  My mom comes home and is able to watch the kids.

As I arrive at the studio, I'm careful to talk to the yoga teacher with my mouth as closed as possible.  I'm trying not to smile with my mouth open.  The class is a beginner class with a set centered around opening up the Heart Chakra.  It was perfect for me.  They say that if your tendency is to take the power yoga classes, then what you need is a gentle yoga class, and vise-versa: the people who are high energy, need to slow down, and the people who are low intensity, need to push themselves.

My natural affinity is to push my body to the edge and challenge myself with the vinyasa yoga classes.  So what I actually need to balance my energy is the slow gentle classes.  Well this Heart Chakra beginner yoga class was slow and perfect.

I have to admit that rarely do I completely focus in a class, usually my mind continues to race along as I'm doing the poses.  And today was no different.  But in the flow, the movement and breath, as I'm trying not to tongue the hole in my teeth, on this special and kind of tragic day, I had a realization.  I realized that the tooth is not me.

The tooth was a piece of matter, subject to the laws of nature, reacting to stress of movement and breaking the bond from the bracket.  Having a broken tooth does not change who I am.  It did not make me smarter or dumber, or prettier or uglier.  I was the same exact person, just with a wardrobe malfunction.

Breathing through the belly, in triangle pose, staring at my thumb, I understood that things were going to be ok.  That I could tell Mari about it, and he would still love me just as much.  I was so scared of him seeing me with this big ugly hole in my smile.  But then, through yoga, I realized that it wouldn't matter at all.  That he would react with the same way he has through all the dental issues I've had, my teeth moving around daily, separating and warping.

And even though I look in the mirror and think it all looks so bad, he shrugs it off and tells me it's a part of the process.

I kept my lips covering my teeth as a spoke and ate dinner in front of my mom and our house guest, and nobody noticed.  It's amazing how much less people inspect you when they already know you.

I feel like I've surmounted this major step in my life.  Now that the nightmare has happened, maybe I wont have those bad dreams anymore.  I can go on to live without that fear.  And really the fear was the worse that what actually happened.  And through it happening I realized that my presence with the people who love me is much deeper than physical expressions.  I could loose an arm or a leg and my kids would still be asking me to play with them.  Mari would still love me.

So now I think I'm going to be moving forward even more strongly, even more fearless.  My bad dreams of knocked out teeth can be replaced with dreams of getting gray hairs.  And then, when it happens, I'll realize that too doesn't make as big a difference as you fear.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Peeling off the Couch

Although I love staying home with the kids all day, sometimes I get down and feel like I'm failing.  Like this week, it seemed all the kids wanted to do was watch TV and eat ice cream.  I had to coax and beg them out of the house.

I know that I spent summers watching tv and eating ice cream as a kid, and turned out ok.  But I wish my parents had done more to get me off the couch.

The heat has been pretty mild this week, great outdoor weather.  I enticed them out yesterday with a trip to the car-wash.  I still find car washes a huge treat.

Often, I feel pretty isolated, like we don't interact with other kids enough.  I hope that changes in the future.

At least they have each other.  Kaio and Nala get along so well for the most part.

Here she's tickling him with a fern.  I love ferns.  It's one of my dreams to sleep on a bed of ferns.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Bad Date at the Movies

My boy and I went out on our fist date to the movies to see Iron Man 3.  I'm crazy for Marvel Universe films, they're so good!  Upon hearing that Iron Man 3 came out Kaio really wanted to go see it.  We've watched the first two are home already and the Avengers, but there are many parts that are too scary for him and he goes into another room or hides under a blanket.  Well it didn't go well, and I knew that it wasn't going to go well, but I wanted to see the movie so bad that I agreed to try.  He doesn't even sit through a full length movie at home without getting up and jumping around, so I didn't have much faith that he'd want to sit through Iron Man.  We made it to over an hour before he started begging to leave.  The movie is very violent with lots of indiscriminate killing of bad guys.  There were kids smaller than him in the theater too, some of them were crying, he wasn't the only one.

So we left and I didn't get to see the end, which has been bugging me.  I want to know what happens! I even googled, "Iron Man 3 Full Movie" and found a movie on youtube that when you click on it says, "Stop stealing movies, go to the theater."  Now the internet thinks I'm trying to steal movies.  I want to tell it that I DID pay to go to the movie, I just didn't get to see the end.


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