Friday, January 23, 2015

Just the facts

I love interviews.  Whether it's the Living with Kids series on Designmom, an interview with an author on Powell Book's site, Oprah's Super Soul Sunday or Vogue's cover story with a popular actress.   Everyone has such unique experiences, perspectives and tales to tell.   

Often times the interviews end with a short series of questions to summarize or just show a relatable side of the person that may not have been otherwise captured. 
I write this blog most days, but I thought - perhaps through answering these questions readers might get to know me a little bit more.  I borrowed these "just the facts" questions from another source...  Here it is. 

Favorite Date-Night Restaurant:
Oleana or Turner's Oyster Bar.   Never a table, always two seats at the bar.

Local Family Activity:
Playing Yahtzee or Cards with our 16 year old after the baby goes to sleep

Celebrity Crush:
Sienna Miller

Dream Vacation:
A month in Spain.  Begin with a stay at the ME Madrid and move on to some cities we've yet to explore.

Lipstick:
Never.

Meal I Make That My Kids Love:
Homemade chicken soup.

App I Rely On:
I'm recently hooked on podcasts.  

Most-Worn Shoes:
I try to keep my Uggs for home use and walking the dog only but I can't deny how darn comfy, warm and well-loved mine are.    

Mentor:
I feel on my own in terms of career guidance/support. 

My Friends Would Say I'm:
A talker, well-read, real.  


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Article Club III

Tonight's January Article Club will meet at the Beat Hotel in Harvard Square and discuss this fascinating article, The Confidence Gap. 

Some of the most interesting facts I picked up from the article are as follows:

*Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence.

*Each year she asks her students what they expect to earn, and what they deserve to earn, five years after graduation. “I’ve been doing this for about seven years,” she has written, “and every year there are massive differences between the male and female responses.” On average, she reports, the men think they deserve $80,000 a year and the women $64,000—or 20 percent less.

* Underqualified and underprepared men don’t think twice about leaning in. Overqualified and overprepared, too many women still hold back. Women feel confident only when they are perfect. Or practically perfect.

And yet the result is that many girls learn to avoid taking risks and making mistakes. This is to their detriment: many psychologists now believe that risk taking, failure, and perseverance are essential to confidence-building. Boys, meanwhile, tend to absorb more scolding and punishment, and in the process, they learn to take failure in stride.

“Confidence,” he told us, “is the stuff that turns thoughts into action.”

The last bit really stuck a chord.  Coincidently, on my birthday post last week I wrote that Action was going to be my mantra for the year.   I had never thought much about my lack of action to be tied to confidence.  I always equated it more with a fear of failure or a desire for perfection.  But after digesting this article it's impossible not to consider the role confidence plays.




Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Being human

To feel.  To be understood.  To be heard.

To keep striving.  To have patience.  To be still.

Dance to the rhythm of our life.  Lay on my back while the soft current does its work.

Peacefully accept who you are and what that means.

I write this while my mind goes a million miles an hour.  Some days are like that for me.  I have difficulty focusing and want to read - yes, yes, yes!  Or converse...  I want to hear people's truths or speak my own.  I want to flush out.   What I've come to learn is that's part of my humanness.  I work in cycles.  I have days when my thoughts seem to rush, overflowing.  I have days where I am drawn to silence.

It's not judgement, it's simply awareness.  Simple. Simply. Always. Awareness.

"We see how beautiful and wonderful and amazing things are, and we see how caught up we are. It isn’t that one is the bad part and one is the good part, but that it’s a kind of interesting, smelly, rich, fertile mess of stuff. When it’s all mixed up together, it’s us: humanness.
This is what we are here to see for ourselves. Both the brilliance and the suffering are here all the time; they interpenetrate each other. For a fully enlightened being, the difference between what is neurosis and what is wisdom is very hard to perceive, because somehow the energy underlying both of them is the same. The basic creative energy of life … bubbles up and courses through all of existence. It can be experienced as open, free, unburdened, full of possibility, energizing. Or this very same energy can be experienced as petty, narrow, stuck, caught… The basic point of it all is just to learn to be extremely honest and also wholehearted about what exists in your mind — thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, the whole thing that adds up to what we call “me” or “I.” Nobody else can really begin to sort out for you what to accept and what to reject in terms of what wakes you up and what makes you fall asleep. No one else can really sort out for you what to accept — what opens up your world — and what to reject — what seems to keep you going round and round in some kind of repetitive misery.
This is the process of making friends with ourselves and with our world. It involves not just the parts we like, but the whole picture, because it all has a lot to teach us." - Pema Chodrom


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sensory

My little one's mind is exploding.  You can see it.  It's as though I can watch the mind making connections, realizations, associations.  Not a day passes that I don't feel so grateful for that healthy, loving boy but these days are especially fun.  His eyes are so expressive.  His words are coming together.

One of his favorite activities these days is sensory play.  His teacher commented on how much he enjoys the rice table.  I'm looking forward to the warmer weather when the possibilities get a bit more messy and free-range, but for now I'm thinking of ideas that we can do in our living room.

I try to keep the sensory activity special.  We do it in a room we don't normally use and we have a special mat to signal that's what we're doing and also keep the mess contained.   I'm searching for more sensory ideas - I think it's a fantastic way to explore, be creative, and play in an open-ended way.  

Last week we did a combination of dry pasta and mini marshmallows. A strange combo, yes, but that's the idea.  This should be cheap and easy.  For 3 days, we've played with this set.  It's amazing how entertained he is.

Tonight I think I'll try soft spaghetti.  The goopy, sticky texture should be a welcome break from the loud, dry pasta.  I'll bring some containers in various sizes and maybe a rolling pin and see where that blossoming brain takes us.

Friday, January 16, 2015

January

Yesterday I took the a mid-week day off to just plain catch up.  I took the dog on a gorgeous walk through the conservation land in the backyard.  The pond was frozen and the composition of his dark fur, the grey sky, the snow and the ice was exquisite.

Later, I was listening to Dear Sugar radio. they were discussing transformation.   People typically expect transformation to be very concrete - I was one way on December 31st and a new person on January 1.   They used the word "binary" - you are one or you are the other.  You were the beast and now you're the beauty.   But that's not how it really transpires.  Transformation is slow, painful work.  It might be one step forward, two back, a step off course completely, a tumble to the bottom of the hill and a sprint to some mid point.   The first mile might be the most difficult or trying to transition from one seemingly insignificant place to the next one might hang you up for years.   It was an interesting point, especially relevant in the new year.

To enjoy a quiet moment.  To say Thank You for the gift of living in this paradise - paradise measured not only by it's beauty but it's safety, it's freedom, it's tranquility.   The pause is part of my transformation.

Patient nature. 



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

thirty four

Hello friends.  Today marks another rotation around the sun - I turn 34.  It's a good number, doesn't strike me as particularly eventful.   And I'm happy that I'm in such a good space - a mama, a wife, a homeowner and financially independent.  And most importantly, healthy - in my body, mind and spirit.

I work hard at creating the life that I want to live.  I try  to be intentional with things that are important to me.  Being a passive participant in life, in my opinion, is one of the most damaging things a person can do to themselves.  The magnitude of what is achievable is enough to blow all of our minds.  

On this 34th year - I hope to finish what I've started with small, consistent action toward my goal.  Action - what am I doing about it?   What steps can I take to resolve the undone and incomplete.  Action - Forward Movement.  Advancement.  Motion.   Action, my mantra for thirty-four.




Thursday, January 8, 2015

Until next time...

My sister-in-law, brother-in-law and niece have been visiting from Rio since Christmas Day.  What a wonderful trip we've had!   The house felt so full with family and love and laughs.  Everyone got along so well and they were ideal guests - easygoing, helpful, appreciative!   They spent so much time playing with J and I know they'll miss that sweet boy a lot when they leave.   It must be said, we're having brutally cold temps here and there hasn't been a single complaint about the weather.  I will try to remember that when I'm whining about the sauna-like temps in Rio.

They are a wonderful family and I know all of our hearts will be a little heavy today as we say goodbye, for now.