Monday, June 30, 2014

The Nature of Things

Being surrounded this summer by the most amazing natural beauty I am reminded of Andy Goldsworthy's work and how effortlessly children are inspired by nature. This past school year our Environmental Education instructor made available materials that were collected from the school grounds. Using smooth rocks, cedar clippings, pinecones, twigs and seeds the children were invited to create a design of their own making. What came of it were some amazing mandalas and original creations that would have impressed Andy I am certain.
There are so many books and articles written impressing the importance of children having access to the outdoors; unstructured and open experiences.We all can think back to our own childhoods when most of our day was spent riding our bikes, walking in the woods, picking dandelions or lying on the grass for some serious cloud gazing.  I think how lucky the children who grow up in this green mountainous area with lakes and trails and waterfalls. I am mesmerized watching the little ones at the lake as they busy themselves collecting rocks, building with the sand and splashing in the and happy. I love to see the spontaneous collaboration that occurs with children who have never met before but instantly understand that there is important work to be done, creating, building and being.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

 Summer Joys

One of the things I look forward to the most during summer vacation is having the time and inspiration to cook, especially to cook for others. Let's face it, food is fun and in the summer you don't need much to make some magic. 
One of my most favorite food blogs is Their recipes never fail to satisfy and whoever does the photography is a genius. Each photo is a work of art. I am on  a major salad kick these days, primarily because it has been close to 100 degrees here in Albuquerque; but you don't need an excuse to make this delicious carrot salad......just do it!

Saturday, May 10, 2014


I have been ruminating on this subject for a few months now. I want to come clean and confess all that I need to in order for those of you who are mothers can understand a small part of what it feels like not to be one. Please note, this is not a sour grapes depressing revelation confession; just a here it is kind of confession. Maybe confession is too strong of a word. Possibly I just want to speak my truth. At any rate, here goes.
On a recent plane ride to California, I sat next to a young family.  Mom on one side of the aisle with a not so happy two year old and a somewhat agreeable 4 year old and Dad next to me with his electronic device. Mind you, it was an evening flight, in fact dinner time, and a packed airplane. Mom looked exhausted before she even began and Dad, well, he was completely involved in his game.I watched and listened as this young mother negotiated, consoled, comforted, distracted and practically jumped through hoops to manage these two boys( did I mention they were boys!!!!) all the while her partner was mildly attentive but mostly annoyed. The threat kept being, "if you don't stop pulling my hair you will have to sit with daddy". It was shocking to me that the children responded to that threat and would temporarily suspend the bad behavior. At one point in our journey the mother just handed over the two year old in complete frustration and he proceeded to wail. Finally the Dad managed to soothe him by plugging the youngster into the video game that was playing. Without sounding too judgmental or damning, I was simply amazed at the dynamic between mother and father. The complete sacrifice this mom made to attend to her children and not stop for a minute, I was exhausted for her.  
I wanted to smack Dad.
When we arrived home in California , we discovered that a Mourning Dove had made a nest right outside our side door entrance to the porch. She had used a fabric wreath as her base and had added some dry grass on top. She was sitting patiently and diligently on her three eggs and only moved if we disturbed her. Again I was struck by the extreme sacrifice. I wanted to help the Dove and the mother on the plane. I wanted to let them know that that I wanted to take their place, be the support, let them have some relief. I knew that would never happen. A mother has a supreme standing in the life of their offspring. Others can only stand by and silently wish them peace.
On return from California, I celebrated my 60th birthday. Somehow I believed that these occurrences were somehow connected. The airplane trip, the dove and my birthday. A reminder to me that my next grieving is that I am not a grandmother. I thought how cruel to have finally gotten to some place of acceptance in my motherless role in life only to find myself in the category of  no grandchildren.Just when you think you've obtain some level of understanding, it begins again.
I realize it is no mistake that I am a teacher of young children. My "mothering" took on a different path and so I found my calling in guiding children in a another way. I am not sad and I am not feeling sorry for myself. I do however have a empty place in my heart. A place that will never be filled. I want all my mother friends to know how much I love and admire you and your children. When you celebrate them, I celebrate them. When you are suffering because of your children's pain, I suffer too. I love hearing every story, seeing every picture and  being apart of every life changing event. It has been a difficult journey coming to this place . I would have and did almost everything and anything to have children. It just wasn't in the cards. It is an odd position for a woman to be in. I did not choose not to have children, the choice was made for me by circumstance. So there it is, all that has been in my head for some time now. I hope my mother friends enjoy every moment of their special day, you deserve to be honored and cherished for the sacrifices you have made in order to be a mother.
Happy Mother's Day.  

Saturday, March 1, 2014


I live in a dry dusty sunny wonderful place. I am amazed at the amount of days that the sun is present and if there are clouds,it makes the headlines. I like the climate and I am certainly spoiled by the lack of strife involved in weather conditions that have plagued our country this year.
Today it rained. I was so happy because, well for one thing we are having a drought but mostly the smell of humidity reminded me of home. Home meaning NJ. There is a unique smell in the west and southwest when it rains. It comes from Creosote. Although most of my rain associations are Northeast varieties I have come to love this weird and unusual smell. Smells like rain.The Creosote bush is an amazing plant. It can live for thousands of years. The leaves contain chemicals making it unpalatable to most animals. It can grow in the hottest, driest deserts where no other shrub can grow. 
So yet another sign of this east coast girl adaptation. Regardless, I am happy for the change and hope there will be more to come. 
As for the east coast, I sympathize.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Free Spirits

“I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free.”
Charles Dickens

I didn't know Jacquie Angove very well. I only had a few occasions to spend time with her. But that didn't matter. Jacquie had a way of letting you in, not in an over the top way;but in a way that made you feel really comfortable and aware that you were in the presence of a very interesting and creative spirit.She spoke openly about her struggles to be her own person and the expectations of being a wife and a mother.She endured a great deal of trauma as a young child growing up in war time and she was able to overcome that and heal herself through artistic expression. Her courage to step away from tradition and go off on her own  caused major ripples in her life. I am in awe of people who know themselves so well that they can overcome their fears and break away from what they are expected to do; and then find solace and peace in a new life far from the one they had. 
Jacquie passed away early in the morning of Friday, February 21st ,8 days shy of her 75th birthday.
I imagine her spirit now; free from the concerns and worries of trying to live and survive as an artist in a confining world. I imagine this never ending canvas filled with stories and color and light expanding across an open and beautiful horizon.
 I am grateful  for all that she shared with me in a very short time. 
Peace to you Jacqueline Angove.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Just stopping to take a moment to say Happy Birthday to my blog. It has been two years since I began this little journey and many many miles..... Although I don't stop by too often I know what has been documented here is all apart of a very wonderful adventure.
Thanks to my loyal readers and to my friends who continue to inspire me.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Reinvention of Self

I am constantly searching for context. A difficult task when you keep starting over. The funny thing is, I have adapted pretty well to the unfamiliar- that it has become what is familiar. I live in a self invented world in the context of a real world surrounded by a new world and immersed in a challenging situation that provides a great deal of inspiration but in many ways becomes unreal. Am I making myself clear? I didn't think so. 
Someone recently made a comment on my Facebook page that made me smile; "I don't know how you still do this." was her comment to me regarding me starting a new year in a new school. How does one continue to find motivation to do whatever they do?

It's an interesting question and one I ask myself quite often.  The motivation is the method. That by discovery; whether it is within the three year old that I am teaching or in my own daily rhythm,  there will always be something to learn or cherish or notice or be grateful for. That is how I still do this. In gratitude  you can always find motivation because without it all you will find is a void. 

I am here to say that I have been tired lately and grumpy and less then joyful and I want to apologize to anyone who may have caught me in one of those moments. But here's the good news, not once did I let those feelings consume me. Not once did I say "I give up" ( maybe I thought it) but the point is I remembered I am very grateful for all that life has given me and in that split second of self doubt and self pity I pushed through, spun around, took a deep breath and went on with the reinvention.