Friday, December 22, 2006
I admit I fell prey to the momentum as well. Yesterday, my entire team flew to LA for a workshop with our ad agency on new media. It was a terrific session and we all learned a great deal. However, I arrived home coughing and feeling a bit under the weather.
This afternoon, my cough progressed to a fever, leaving me drained and my family no-shows at a holiday party.
For the next week, I will blissfully put work behind me and focus on home, my husband and kids, and my own interests. I need to be vigiliant that down time doesn't become jammed with priorities and activities, even personal ones. I need follow the example of my children and just play sometimes.
I guess our bodies tell us what our minds refuse to acknowledge. Everybody needs a rest now and then.
May your holidays be filled with peace.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Time passes so quickly: Chanukah, Christmas (yes, we're interfaith) and on to New Years. My son wants to celebrate Winter Solstice, too. I think the key is to jump in, celebrate, and go with the flow at this season. Creating space and peace in the midst of all of this activity is critical. So here's to peace, now and in the year ahead.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
What happens after today? I keep writing. I want to break out that Moleskine; okay, I want to open the many Moleskines that I own, one by glorious one, and fill them with words, drawings and photographs. I also want to keep this blog going, as often as I can . . .perhaps even daily.
Words are flowing. They may not be profound but at least words are flowing. They can flow onto a screen, a page or wherever. It's not the product, it's the process. That's what we say about the kids' art projects. Why not mine too?
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
On a broader and different note, it's amazing what trying to blog daily leads you to write about. I find myself asking "what happened today," "what am I noticing," "where has my perspective changed." This writing is, by no means profound. However, it is the stuff of life. I've never had the discipline to keep a journal. With this NaBloPoMo experience, I believe I can transfer the discipline to paper. Will I write about different things? Almost certainly. This space, after all, is quite public. It invites exploration, to a degree. What goes into my pristine black Moleskine is all mine.
Admittedly, I rather like the daily blogging too. It feels rather like shouting into a canyon; you get the satisfaction of expressing yourself but never know who might hear.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
Four weeks and I get another chance. I'll never trade kid-time for chore-time. I just need to be a little more productive and motivated in those non-kid times. Sometimes being responsible has little to recommend it . . . at the time.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Days like today feel strange. It feels slothful to read, to curl up under the comforter and daydream. Yet, with our crazy lives, days like today are needed and justified.
Ah well, off to find some dinner of the non-turkey variety.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
The turkey is on the rotisserie. The oyster stuffing is in the oven. Mark is frolicking (an understatement) with freshly bathed kids. In a couple of hours, we'll be off to my cousins, Brian and Liz, to celebrate the holiday with their two kids and many more holiday treats.
At this very moment, parallel celebrations are taking place. My parents and Liz's parents are gathering in Decatur, Illinois to celebrate the holiday as they've done for decades. We carry on the tradition on the Left Coast but with a strong bias for Northern California cuisine. Mark's family is gathering in New Jersey for the holiday. Many, many Greenbergs and even more opinions make the holiday there.
Thankful? More than I could ever express. My kids, great husband, curiousity and comfort level in life--indeed, I am blessed. There is so very much for which to be thankful.
Best wishes for a fantastic holiday!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I love spending time with both my children. Given that they're 18 months apart, I quickly default to the role of referee. It's a pleasure to sit down with each of them, look into their eyes and connect.
Don't feel left out, my dear Lauren. It's a long weekend. Trust me, Mommy has a master plan!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Today, the fine folks at Whole Foods called to say they were out of the variety of turkey that I ordered for Thanksgiving. I ordered a Diestel American Heritage Bronze turkey. Apparently, the turkeys (literally) flew and my name was lower on the list of lucky ones this year. Lesson learned; a week's notice is not enough to ensure your bird of choice.
Thomas, the Holiday Table representative, called and talked me calmly through the results of the turkey tastings Whole Foods held for customers and team. He recommended a fresh Diestel Natural bird, noted its juiciness, confirmed its availability in my preferred weight, and confirmed the order. Thanksgiving disaster averted.
Thank you, Whole Foods, for being proactive, well informed, and devoted to making your customers happy. I would have love the American Heritage Bronze. I'll still have a great fresh turkey. Next year, I'll shop earlier.
Monday, November 20, 2006
On more mundane notes, there is business work to be done and I'm doing it. The car gets serviced over the holiday. Graham's classmates are requesting a playdate. We have some major closet cleaning ahead of us.
At any given time, it feels there are about a billion choices, options, and pieces of stimulus. I'm hoping a bit of focus, exhaustive lists, and good planning will see us though.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
On the wish, we were in different orbits. We wished Graham would develop a love of learning this year. He wished for his own math book. Today, I drove off to Lakeshore Learning and got him his very own math book, in addition to several other items. He settled down at the kitchen table and began to practice his numbers immediately. The little guys said "thank you so much, Mama. I LOVE this math book. I enjoy doing math." When it comes to encouraging that love of learning, his wish is my command.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
He came home with a great idea: the punch list. It seems that good folks at Friends write down everything need by room. They tape those lists up and, when parents come to work, they place their initials by the task and get after it. We walked our home this afternoon making the Delman punch list. We noted the things we wanted to do, regardless of the time horizon. The list will be a living one. Mark is off right now checking out alternatives to our various (and somewhat despised) blinds.
The magic here is that we have all of our visible projects in a common place, not in our heads, and ready for action.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Deep fried squid, peppery duck, pad thai, spicy spring rolls and vegetable-studded fried rice graced our table and woke up our tastebuds tonight.
Thank heaven for simple pleasures, like Thai carry-out.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
What a great way to start the day. Graham's Ohlone kindergarten teacher, Adrienne Brimer, is first class. She addressed literacy and math competency, all within the context of a larger vision of learning. We learned the value of play. We understood how core skills were key but not something to obsess over. Mixed classes (e.g., k/1 and teacher continuity) allow for individual growth over a larger span of time.
We spoke about what (we thought) turned our son on (when he "shined"). Unbeknowst to us, he answered the same set of questions. Bottom line: his needs are simpler and more directly met than ours. Okay, got it! We can fully meet the needs of the little guy.
This dialog is so very special. This is the first objective input on our son's learning progress. I am thankful that the input was focused on skill building, on progress, on real learning, rather than on some abstract concept of assessment or what is appropriate.
Here's to a good night's sleep for an anxious Mom.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I wish I could say the same for airplanes. We sat at the gate for an hour last night while the Northwest folks investigated the fluid leaking from the plane. This was not a confidence inspiring issue for me, an avowed nervous flyer. Having gotten up at 4:30 a.m. Central Time on Tuesday morning and read for a solid hour past my bedtime on the tarmac, I managed a relatively decent sleep once we took off. Although not a first, I can count the number of times I've actually slept on a plane on one hand. Despite my best efforts to load up my video iPod, I didn't even turn the little beauty on. I shouldn't complain. I arrived home safe and sound, albeit past 1 a.m.
I ended up at an outdoor photo shoot this morning for an upcoming series of ads. The sky over Berkeley was amazing; the sky was a perfect pitch of blue, streaked with thin white clouds that faded into pointellistic daubs. Despite my lack of sleep (or perhaps because of it), I was struck by the singular beauty of the sky. The good news is that I actually had a camera with me. Photos to come.
The travel is catching up with me fast tonight. I wanted to make sure I got a post up. NaBloPoMo is a demanding taskmaster.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
Before my team convenes to review our plans for tomorrow's meetings, I'm taking a moment to re-group, getting re-organized and re-focused after our flight. There's something about being crammed into that sleek metal tube hurtling through space that begs for recovery.
My good deed for today was sending my son's Kindergarten class a postcard from Minneapolis. His class is receiving mail from all over the world. I realize Minneapolis may not be the most exotic destination but it is where I am. I do love the little guy. Hopefully, the kids will enjoy the moose photo, distance report from Palo Alto to Minneapolis, and a brief weather report.
Back to trying to shake off that time out of mind feeling.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
I'm looking forward to a few hours of solitude tomorrow. The window seat becomes my nest, to work, read, and think. As much as I miss my family when I travel, I appreciate a bit of time away.
I recently worked with a fellow who made every trip an adventure. He might choose an eleclectic or historic hotel. He wanders new neighborhoods and photographs everything. He inserts himself into the path of life and lives more richly for it. This is a good lesson for me. Carpe diem!
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Uncharacteristically, I needed to do a bit of work this morning. Mark did various chores around the house. I joined in the usual clean up and laundry. Graham was feeling particularly snuggly this afternoon. Curling up with him was an absolute pleasure. Graham and Mark are now off in the kitchen. Lauren is splashing about in the bath. I'm enjoying a glass of wine before we settle down to dinner and a quiet evening.
Life is truly sweet.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Although I haven't downloaded audio books (and I don't know why as I am an avid audio book listener), I have downloaded entire courses from The Teaching Company.
I recently got an iPod video and am actively seeking content. I'm not a huge movie fan but who knows what can happen? I look forward to podcast-y stuff in video format: TED talks, MAKE magazine how to segments, and things from public broadcasting. The how-to wiki also explains how to view You Tube content on your iPod. Getting the video aspect of my life up and running is definitely a project for this weekend.
Today, MacWorld arrived. Among the headlines were fifty new gadgets for the iPod user. Undoubtedly, I'll find holiday possibilities among them. Oh, joy!
There is something magical about having that sleek device(s) at hand to learn, explore, or orchestrate life's score. I'm hooked. And happy!
Thursday, November 09, 2006
I'm thinking about choice. I travel to Minneapolis on Monday for a meeting with the good, smart folks at Target. I respect their approach to business. I'm looking forward to the dialog.
Between the Target boys and me is a four hour plane trip and a quiet evening in the hotel. That means one thing to this business traveler: time to read! Without question, every business trip is a chance to curl up with my laptop and catch up--on email, on presentations and memos, etc. Every business trip is a chance to also spend hours curled up with a great book(s). I typically travel with two or three books . . . just in case, I tell myself.
Here I am, a full four days before I fly, thinking not about my presentation--it's done--but what I'm going to read on the plane. Will I start Ayelet Waldman's mommy as sleuth series? Do I want something more literary, like essays from Rebecca Solnit? I am an avowed foodie, so perhaps I should finish Anthony Bourdain's latest book or Mark Kurlansky's The Big Oyster? I look longingly at Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, but it's so very, very big and heavy. The agony of a nightstand full of possibility! The heart-rending challenge of choosing a few, select friends to accompany me on my trip.
Am I book-crazy? Absolutely! Yes, I'll sync the iPod with music and podcasts. If I can figure out how to separate video from music & podcasts, I'd love to bring my iPod Video as well. However, after all is said and done, I need to travel with my books. That means a few, not one.
Stay tuned. I'll share what I finally choose to accompany me on the hop over to Minneapolis.
P.S. Great steak in that town. If my colleagues are wise, we'll dine well and I'll post about that as well!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Friends is a parent-particpation preschool. This is not necessarily an easy thing to manage with two professional parents. However, we are proactively handling workdays and fundraising commitments. It's all about being on top of the calendar.
Tonight is a parent education night. I am soon off to attend a session led by a Stanford prof on childhood friendships, what they mean, how they change, how a parent can nurture them. This seems like more than a fair trade. We supply tuition dollars and time to support the program. Friends Nursery School helps us become better, more effective parents and provides a wonderful growth experience for our kids. This seems like a bargain to me.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
I could leave this post at "I'm tired." However, I can't. The reason is simple: I've been blessed with a pretty terrific life. So to wrap up the week, here's what I'm grateful for (not exhaustive, but representative):
A warm, strong hug from my dear husband, my best friend
Snuggles and reading with my two beloved kids
A challenging job to engage my heart and mind
A ready supply of books to offer me both distraction and challenge
A home in what I consider to be paradise: Palo Alto, CA
I could go on . . . and I will. Posting what I'm grateful for will be a significant part of this month's posts.
The very act of writing down what I'm grateful for makes my spirit a bit lighter. More to come.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
I live with a master pumpkin carver. At least, it seems that I do. Trick or treat time brought families, known and unknown to us, in search of sweets. More often than not, kids and adults would stop to say "Wow! Great/cool/scary pumpkins!" I would explain that Mark created the magic.
Over the past two Halloweens, Mark has become a bit obsessed with pumpkin carving. This year, he purchased two fine Japanese saws to help in the effort. What can I say--they worked!
In some ways, pumpkins are an art form and one given to impermanence. As the fall rains began to fall last night, we gathed the pumpkins together under the eaves. Perhaps we can preserve them a few days longer for all of us to enjoy.
You may be asking, why a Halloween posting on November 2? It seems to be bad karma to light the pumpkins before the magical night.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
There's another option: posting something every day for a National Blog Posting Month--NaBloPoMo. Daily posting, still an accomplishment for erratic me, seems achievable. As for the novel, well . . . we'll see.
Here's to NaBloPoMo. To day one. To new beginnings. I'm posting. Today, words. Tomorrow, photos. Everything is a journey.
Wishing you all the best on your own journey!
Monday, October 02, 2006
Farmer's markets are reflecting the shift in seasons; we're seeing more hearty greens, squashes and root vegetables and the end of the tomato season. Another month or so and Dungeness crabs will be at their peak.
I need to fall in love again . . . with the kitchen. Like every other foodie, I have the master plan for kitchen renovation at hand should Fortune smile this way. Still, I can't help feeling it's not about the equipment. I need to crack open those cookbooks gathering dust at the hand of the summer grill season. I look forward to immersing myself (figuratively and a somewhat literally) in soups, stews, and hearty, slow food. These books literally let me explore the world. Even more importantly, they let me express my spirit. I also want to involve my kids more in the kitchen this season, encouraging them to create, taste, and savor.
As the sun sinks ever earlier and the year turns, our hearth needs to grow brighter. It's a right and good balance.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Okay, we live in Northern California . . . it's the family space or zone. Room would be an overstatement.
Nevertheless, the sheer joy in those voices, individually, together as in melody and harmony, lift my spirit. Laughter is magical. They are magical. They make life sweet as honey. I love them beyond measure.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Monday, September 04, 2006
Organization is this weekend's theme. Old clothing gets donated. The Master Calendar with all of the kids activities, school and otherwise, is updated. Healthy take-along lunch and snack foods have been identified and the proper gear purchased. Now if we can just get to filing the mountains of paper around here . . . .
Labor Day marks the coming of my favorite season--Fall. Palo Alto is glorious this time of year--warm days and cool, crisp nights. The leaves are starting to turn (somewhat) and will drop from trees, giving me as much of a signal as I need that fall is here.
I've lived by the academic calendar as far back as I can remember, becoming more energized with the cooler weather and the start of school. With both kids now sharing the routine, I feel the cycle of seasons even more deeply. Graham is into Week 2 of Kindergarten and loving it. Lauren has started pre-school at The Friends School and is adjusting well. She hasn't shed a tear. My babies are secure little beings and this will be a big year for both of them.
My personal challenge is to jumpstart my own learning: physically, emotionally and intellectually. I must--simply must--find a way to embrace physical fitness. I'm not getting any younger and I need to be in shape. This is a BIG challenge and this new phase of the year is a good time to face that head-on. I need to attend to emotional growth--for myself and my family. I am more often kind and generous with those around me than those closest to me. That balance needs to be redressed. I also need to keep learning. This is less an issue than a joy for me. I need to map out the classes, communities, and individual endeavors that will keep me learning and being creative this year.
At the start of a new season, it's all good. I'm ready for my favorite season and trying my best to live life to its fullest.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
My wish is that he learns how to learn and that he develops a profound curiosity for the world around him. He has a wonderful teacher, kind and engaging classmates. The school features mixed classes (Kindergarten/1st Grade), no grades but extensive teacher evaluations, self-directed learning (accelerating over the years), and minimal homework. This special place even has its own farm.
One giant step, indeed. Here's to you, Graham, and here's to learning. May the life of the mind find you young and stay with you. I'll be here to help any way I can.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
We moved as a pack to In 'N Out Burger after doing store checks (marketing pays the mortgage, after all). I've been a fan of In 'n Out Burger since we moved to the Golden State but had no idea that a secret menu existed.
My colleagues took good care of me, introducing me to "Animal Style" burgers. I was intrigued, delighted, and included. The burger really is better with mustard, griddled onions and special sauce.
I've been all over the web searching for more. Yes, In 'N Out Burger has a more extensive menu. It's pretty staightforward--more meat, more cheese--after "Animal Style."
Nevertheless, it's fun to be an insider. Maybe I'll try the extra crispy fries next time . . . .
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Saturday, June 17, 2006
I don't really understand why, but I cannot stop thinking of one of my favorite (store-bought) cookies today: Leibniz Cookies. These cookies are a crisp, buttery shortbread topped with a slab of delicious dark, bittersweet chocolate. They are not overly sweet and are immensely satisfying. I also love the fact that the cookies bear the name of the great philosopher and founder of Calculus.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Taking the writing class meant I was writing on paper, not the web. I also hit a rather intense patch of business travel. And, hey, life gets busy with a husband, two careers, two kids, two dogs, etc.
I realize I've been in the mode of taking in, versus reflecting out. I've been reading books and magazines voraciously, listening to audio books, reading blogs by the dozen. All those words and images going in, filling me up, seemingly endlessly. Now it seems time to reverse that trend.
I have been thinking about what this blog should be. I don't have a single theme but neither does my life. I do want to be posting images online. Of course, that requires picking up the camera--a good thing. It also challenges me to draw, something I've been reading about and want to put into action.
I struggle with getting these pages to do what I want, to look the way I want. I'd like to be posting more reviews of what I'm reading, have read, and have queued up. Getting the Amazon links is still a bit of a procedure. I struggle with how to get in-line links (and haven't won that battle yet). I sometimes look lustily at blogs from Typepad--they're more visual and seem to show links effortlessly.
Ah well, here's to re-engaging. Let's see where this road leads.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Sunday, March 19, 2006
What's working for me is reading the book and tackling at least two to three exercises each week. As I've said before, Cameron's tone often makes me feel like I should be coming from a wounded or at least denied place. I simply don't feel that. If I've been less than I could be creatively, it's more a case of benign neglect than anything else. I enjoy the exercises . . . especially imagined lives. I really am making progress taking steps to bring those imagined and desired lives into the present, step by step. I've taken the haiku workshop at Stanford. I'm registered for a class in food writing beginning April 4. Yes, it's out of my comfort zone. No, on the surface of it, I don't have the time. However, I need to do this. My wonderful husband is supportive. Hey, I have nothing to lose.
The Artist's Dates are a big win for me. Despite work, family, and a harried schedule, I have no trouble carving out time for the Artist's Dates. I love them. They give me real joy and a sense of space that carry me through the week. Planning those little escapes is pure magic.
I'm still struggling with morning pages. I've come to realize that journaling and free writing are immensely valuable. I need to keep at this. I'm not sure whether I'm resisting because there's a barrier there I don't want to deal with or whether I really just am crazed from a time perspective. I realize there is value in this daily writing and will find a way to do it.
At the moment, I can say the Artist's Way has truly propelled me to experiencing new things and new thoughts, staking out more time for myself, stretching my thinking about who I am and what I want to be, seeing the value in regular personal expression, and accumulating a variety of Moleskine journals.
Not bad. I'll call this a win. I'll also be looking to revisit parts of the the Artist's Way to deepen the experience and looking to the community for other worthwhile explorations.
The big next goal is to start drawing. More on that soon.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
It was only late last year that Keplers, a Menlo Park bookselling institution, declared bankruptcy. The good news for Keplers is that they were able to put together a group of angel investors and stage a comeback. I try to support them with my purchases at every turn. Understandably, their stock is more limited than before but still a good experience.
I hate that original, independent booksellers are increasingly being put out of business. Their idiosyncratic voices are valuable ones. I am truly saddened by the growing lack of these sages in the world of books.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Note that the capitalization is meant to complement a staggered layout on the page that didn't quite translate to the Blogger environment. C'est la vie.
20 Things (in no particular order) . . .
I love BOOKS
I collect FOUNTAIN PENS, which I use, and JOURNALS, which I too often don’t
I enjoy the ritual of using INK FROM A BOTTLE
I love PHOTOGRAPHY—both MAKING pictures and LOOKING at others’ work
I am trying to learn to DRAW
I could not survive without AUDIO BOOKS, PODCASTS, and NPR
I FLIRT with technology
I adore my husband MARK and my two children, GRAHAM and LAUREN
I desperately want to RENOVATE MY HOUSE
I am INSPIRED by WORDS and want to write
I have LIVED in Decatur, IL, Chicago, IL, Brooklyn, NY, Seattle, WA,
Tokyo, Japan, Rochester, NY, and Palo Alto, CA.
I consider WINE a food group
I love to COOK and confess to being a foodie
I love things JAPANESE
I am promiscuous with TOOTHPASTE brands
I dislike being BAREFOOT
I enjoy my two big, lumbering LABS, Hamish and Isla
I think God intended BAGELS to be savory and MARTINIS to be made only with gin or vodka and vermouth, an olive or a twist of lemon
I love getting up EARLY in the morning and seeing the SUN rise
I sincerely try to do GOOD THINGS in this world
Sunday, February 12, 2006
First, the good news. My Week Four Artist's Date was nothing short of terrific. Stanford offered a haiku workshop for an afternoon and I jumped at it. I found our instructor, Gary Gach, had a quiet but strong presence. He provided a good foundation for the mechanics and the beauty of haiku. Importantly, he was clear about not being bound by the form (e.g., 5-7-5 syllables) if something worked better--even if that something were a single line. Then we walked and wrote. We walked all of 100 feet into a grove of trees. I walked 100 feet or less and had a whole universe open up to me. I wrote a number of poems. We returned to class and Gary read our chosen poems, aloud. This was a first for me. This was stepping outside my comfort zone in a big way. I admit that it felt great.
The two poems I shared with the class are as follows:
Five purple petals
Signal spring ahead
and, with Gary's advice and counsel,
Reaching across chasm
Of twinned redwood trees
The spider's web
I sincerely hope we have the chance to do another workshop. The afternoon was a pleasure. Whenever I feel the notebook in my pocket, my spirit soars. I will keep seeing and writing.
Week Five was simply lost to me. My father-in-law passed away. My focus has been on my husband, where it needs to be. I hug my children a bit more tightly and whisper "I love you" a bit more frequently. This is a new part of life's journey for us. This is a source of much reflection for me.
Originally uploaded by sharon_delman.
For the second day in a row, my flight from San Francisco to New York City has been cancelled. Completely cancelled. No chance to get out and get to work. I can enjoy this (see photo) or keep struggling to get to NYC and the 22+ inches of snow in Central Park (not that I wouldn't like to see that). Go ahead, twist my arm. I'm staying put. I'm getting to like this California thing.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Suprisingly, I didn't buy anything. I didn't need to. This is a first for me. I looked, I enjoyed, I reminsiced about my time in Japan. However, I'm well-stocked on notebooks, photo albums, paper, etc. It was just wonderful to enjoy a visual feast and think about my favorite places in the world.
I was hoping for synchronicity this week. It didn't appear in any expected form. Danny Gregory is doing a new sketch crawl in NYC; alas, I'm scheduled for travel there exactly one week late. I did a fantastic Artist's Date on Saturday (technically, Week Four), taking a haiku class at Stanford. I was simply amazed by the degree to which our instructor (Gary Gach, an established poet and teacher) saw the same things I did (or vice versa), albeit expressed a bit differently. Maybe that's sufficient.
More about the Artist's Date (Week Four) to come, including poetry to share. Here's to discovering a "Sense of integrity." And here's to a significant breakthrough: I'm comfortable writing and sharing poetry. Who knew?
Sunday, January 22, 2006
First up, morning pages are a struggle. I already get up at 5:00 a.m. (ish) to get a jump on the commute and get into the office early. Trying to layer morning pages onto that is tough. When I get home, it's time to be Mom. That puts a damper on what could be "evening pages." I do have a Moleskine daily journal and that is space where I can be a bit more present . . . but it's not three pages worth. Nevertheless, morning pages are a worthy goal and I'll keep trying. Part of what may help is not just writing whatever is on my mind but working through Cameron's exercises at those times. I hope that's not at cross purposes for the morning page process.
I am beginning to embrace the affirmations Cameron suggests. At first, I was skeptical . . . period. As I read and reflect on her words, I do feel a shift in my attitudes. This feels very New-Agey to me but I'm open to it. I especially like the taking care of quantity and surrendering the quality. This speaks to being present and trying. Everything else flows from that effort.
I realize I need to be rather fierce about my time. With work, kids, husband and general life stuff, it's easy to do everything and accomplish nothing. Living with more intent is a key goal for me. Carving out space for myself is critical. I'm aware enough of my priorities to know where I have flexibility and where I have less. The answer is not in trading off family time; my family is an inspiration to me. In fact, one of my wished-for lives is to be a child again. My kids have such a wonderful exuberance and headlong enthusiasm. Good stuff to learn from. I have a long commute, about an hour each way. I listen regularly to audio books on the drive. I just need to make sure those choices are feeding my creativity and addressing those "impoverished areas" of life wherever possible.
My artist date this week was a cooking date . . . making Portugese Caldo Verde, a simple soup with potatoes, kale, and chorizo. Despite the simple approach, I tried to focus on each step, to notice the extraordinary green of the kale, the flecks of red papper in the chorizo, and the green glisten of the olive oil. The soup was magnificent and I felt wonderful cooking it.
I look forward to exploring more goals and the immediate actions that can lead to achieving them. I am enjoying the idea of imaginary lives. I very much respond to the "tiny change" philosophy. I did respond actually, submitting a photograph of a pink aster for this week's Photo Friday challenge.
On to Week Three and Recovering a Sense of Power.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
So how did I "do" during Week One? I'd say okay, not great.
Morning pages . . . clearly not 100%. The week started strong but two sick children, followed by a sick husband, and an increasingly intense week at work left me falling short. At one level, I wanted perfection. However, I'm willing to live with less than perfection. At least I'm putting words on a page and I've never really done that before. I'll call that progress.
My Artist's Date came to me, with a large box from Photo-Eye books arriving on the doorstep. A glass of wine, silence and a host of new photography books can engage me like nothing else. What can I say but "ah . . . ." The challenge is to be inspired to go take more photographs myself; that is a worthy goal.
My five "other" lives came easily: a monk, for simplicity, focus, and being in community; a writer, for the sheer joy of expression; a professor, for the joy of disseminating knowledge and asking good questions; an artist--any medium--for the passion to pursue a vision; a chef, for the passion to experiment, create and nurture through food.
My actions following the "other lives" exercise include: challenging my business teams to confront tougher questions, challenging them to find the big idea in their work, writing wherever and whenever I can, and, of course, cooking to nurture my family and myself.
All in all, this was not a bad week, by any means. Cameron writes of "A Return to Safety." I'm not sure that this theme resonated as much with me as this coming week's theme "A Sense of Identity" will. My path has been less about what is denied and more about what is embraced. I'm looking forward to the stronger sense of identity as a creative person.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Sunday, January 08, 2006
One of the cornerstones of the program is Morning Pages, three longhand pages each and every day. So far, I'm on track. I thought "hey, three pages can't be too hard." I realize now "three pages is a long journey, with some very big silences." The good news is that I am finding my voice. Writing longhand is a different experience than writing at the keyboard. It seems to have a greater connection to my head and heart. I'll be shifting over a fountain pen tomorrow; I don't know why I started using a rollerball. As a fairly enthusiastic fountain pen collector, I have about seventy pens to choose from. There's no excuse for not having a great pen at hand.
The Morning Pages seem to be singular exercise. I'm not sure whether we go back and mine them for information or insight. Cameron recommends sticking the pages in an envelope. I have a standard notebook for the purpose.
I am excited about the Moleskine journals I have for the new year. I have the daily calendar (large size) so that I can make notes, musings and observations on the day. This will help with my goal of being more present every day. I also have a blank Moleskine (large size) for drawings, projects, lengthier thoughts and reflections. I keep reading comments from the Moleskine obsessed that these little notebooks work magic all their own. I'm looking forward to falling under their spell.
That's all for now. Dinner awaits.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
I've spent a wonderful week with my two children, enjoying them and seeing the world through their eyes. It really is the simple things that give great delight . . . running in the park, climbing the monkey bars, swinging high, reading books, singing, jumping everywhere, having exactly what you want for breakfast, drawing page after page of "mysterious creatures" (Thanks, Graham and Lauren).
I always feel a bit of hesitation at the beginning of the New Year. There is a little bit of anxiety for me at this time, driven by things both done and undone. However, this year I have a new attitude. It's all about being present, of experiencing the moment. The great news is that I'm finally DOING something about it--not just thinking about it.
I have registered with an internet group to blog the Artist's Way (Julia Cameron)--thanks to KatsPaws. I truly cannot wait to experience the creative energy from this undertaking and am incredibly excited; I also admit to being a little intimidated by the fact that people will actually see this blog . . . and a lot more of me. I'll post links and logos for the experience as soon as I figure out how to make my blog pages bend to my will.
I've committed to a more creative, more engaged year. Over the holiday, I read Danny Gregory's The Creative License and found his advice and encouragement incredible. I will journal and I will draw this year. You cannot read his book and not want to crack open a sketchbook and try.
I've also found a terrific website called 43Things.com. (I'll link as soon as I figure out how . . . ). The idea is very simple . . . you chronicle what you want to do. At the same time, thousands of other people are doing the same and you can see where there is linkage and where there is not. More than numbers, I've found the process of saying "I want to do this" or "I want to go here" incredibly affirming and motivating. I drop into this space and update my list with surprising regularity. Some goals are short term, others are long term but at least they're in front of me and ready for action.
I cannot tell what the year ahead will hold. I can tell you that I will live it with greater intention. Here's to new beginnings!