Saturday, August 29, 2009

Challenges

Loving ourselves and loving our world... even when we're overwhelmed?



(Amber's hands)




~ Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.~



Marianne Williamson (adapted)



Alternative post title: My life has been in such a state !!!
(Am I "playing small"?)






The gate's closed-tied by vines and blocked by weeds.


So much to overcome in life...
this is a view of the gate from the back; it used to be called the Pig House (I try not to take it personally!). Now it is filled with plants-volunteers- there are always plenty of them! (The weeds do take over!)















It's a jungle.

And my little terraced garden? Overgrown and neglected.

~~~A garden overgrown (and under-tended)~~~~






Sometimes the work just piles up... (and it's not just housework and gardenwork)












When I get too much stress, my mind just goes blank...I'm like the deer caught in the car's headlights...a part of me want's to scream at myself...Get it together...

WATCH Out!!! MOVE!















I need to be alone, breathe, and just re-evaluate.
Don't you wish life came with signposts?

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Amber has a project this weekend for her Human Development class. Last night, we were up every two hours because the baby is programed to cry and she needs pretend diaper changes, food, and various other necessities that must be recorded-time/event-IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. I tried to help Amber wake up...we were so tired because our schedules are packed once school begins.


I'm so proud of her...that's what I need to focus on.

~~~~~

If you have ever worked in another country, you know how difficult it is to process paperwork. This week, we recieved news that our work contracts weren't processed, our taxes had an error so no refund, and bill collectors don't like to wait.
Isn't it true that most things seem to pile up?
I don't notice the stress-on purpose-but then I suddenly go brain-numb. I realize I've gone to the OTHER SIDE... I can't think.


"Do something!"...I hear in my head...my concentration goes cloudy...I focus on what's in front of me...I look tired, unhappy---peevish---Wake up!!!

~~~~~~






Speaking of cars...

We had a flat tire on the way in to work this week.





Who is that squating down? Oh- that's our oldest child, Alex, still half asleep at 6am. (I hope he's alert by the time school begins.) He's "helping". Do you remember that scene from A Christmas Story? The older boy, Ralphie, was told that he could help his father change a flat tire (in record time) and the bolt's flew everywhere? (That's the scene where Ralphie said "the queen mother of all dirty words. The f--- word!" ) In this case, our sleepy boy-man is little help in a flat tire crisis...sigh... and his father is addressing the Queen Mother.

It's a good thing that Mr. Oasis knows how to change a tire.















We commute two to three hours each morning...
While the tension of being late built up, I walked over to a nearby flamboyan tree.
Focus on beauty...that's my calm down strategy.
Ah, isn't that Maria Von Trapp's wisdom from The Sound of Music?

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May we all have a productive week ahead, dear bloggers friends, and not too much stress!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wonderful Life: Paying Attention to Details



Oasis Feature:

A Series of Views;
Epilogue

Appreciating What's Around You

I draw my inspiration from Audrey Hepburn who believed that it is important

"not to live for the day-that would be materialistic-but to treasure the day. I realized that most of us live on the surface without appreciating just how wonderful it is simply to be alive." (quoted from Pamala Clarke Klogue's Audrey Style, 1999, pg 225)

Photo credit Alex Waterhouse



Didn't Audrey Hepburn become more beautiful as she aged? Of course she was incredibly elegant throughout her life, but I especially admire her humanitarian work for the UNICEF organization. She was genuinely beautiful both inside and out. (If you feel compelled to share with those in need please visit -Dr. Maithri Goonetilleke at The Soaring Impulse to help the people of Swaziland with their struggle against incredibly high HIV infection rates and dire poverty. Or for inspiration, look at the Imagine video that I posted at the bottom of the blog.)

I'm thinking about how to apply Audrey's insight to remember that it's ~~~~

Wonderful to be Alive
.

~~~~~~

So you're walking to the parking lot, anxious about all that you have to finish during this first week of school. You don't notice the beautifully arranged rock artifacts. (That's Mr. Oasis walking, briefcase in hand, toward the car.) Don't forget the campus is beautiful.




Nature is everywhere!











Looking down...the Ceiba roots are ornate works of art and the Taino utilitarian rocks lead to the on campus museum. (Are they real?)~~~~~~





















What a beautiful stone that might be used to grind or mash food? Now it's filled with rainwater.
Did you know that the Taino indians were the first people of Puerto Rico?









Imagine that they once walked right here on this same spot...and now they have mixed in with this diverse Puerto Rican population.





~~~~~~

We must remember that it's a beautiful life...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Waterloo; Moving Pictures

Summer's Goodbye


This is me at the end of summer vacation, capturing another moment to share with my dear blogging friends...

Now, it will begin.














Again...the daily drive across this bridge...


















I do love the angular design.
~~~~~~

How do you handle change?
I feel the upheaval and know it's necessary.
I feel the resistance and make myself stay with it.
I tell myself: I want to move along in life and this is the price.

These are the thoughts I ponder:
If good things are to come, we must all allow for change.
Change can be exciting.

Still, this change can be dreaded. It's a Waterloo!

SOLUTION?

The contrast must be met HEAD ON.

I'm getting myself hyped up for the next few months. I console myself with the thought that maybe I can still fit in a few walks around the Condado lagoon?
~~~~~

My friend, Daphne and beautiful niece, Tina-linda, smile for the camera, while we pause to take in the gorgeous view.



















In an effort to keep our girlish figures, we've been walking around the lagoon this summer.
(Miss Daphne and Tina-linda have been quite successful!)















When we are close to the end of the walk, we often stop at the little park on Ashford Avenue to take a look at the sea.




Here at the park, I am having a chat in front of a Botello sculpture, this is the last walk before we all return to school.
(The song, See You in September has to be modified a bit in Puerto Rico to... See You in August which is when we return to school.)









~~~~~
As the semester begins, I have to remember to give
Michelle extra hugs and lots of love to the pups.



















My little lovie-dovie, Buddy Holly (My Buddy), will miss my excessive attention.



















And I must give Benico del Toro (Beni) an extra treat. He's such a good dog and he watches the house so well.



My brave Beni will be alone all day...er...rather he will be with the 'dirty dozen' - our rescued dogs.













~~~~~
I'm tempted to get moody. Just stay here at the park, and sit by the sea... but enough!















I must face my Waterloo ABBA Style! Won't you join me in singing into this shift? Let us celebrate our life changes! Why don't I buy some hair dye, get some sparkly platform shoes, and CELEBRATE!!! (Mama Mia- does it get any better than this? Hey Pink Cowboy! Don't you agree?)




Quotable quote: All that friggin yoga has made my feet bigger!! Tanya (Christina Baranski)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Life in Paradise; Where to live? Who to be?

Oasis Feature: A Series of Views #3
Tourist Trying on Identities

You could say I live in the jungle, which is what my son and some of his friends have said about our isolated setting. I have lived in many places in the US, and traveled to many other countries. I realize that this life of movement and travel is not unique to me but a social trend of which I am a part. People are grasping that they can live in new ways. I see that we are becoming open to change and allowing our localized identities to shift. Are you like me when you travel? Wherever I go, I imagine myself living there. (I do that in blogland too.) When I go for walks, I look at homes and people, and imagine myself living that life. I'm part of the sliding group of humans who ask, "Who am I in this place?"

Even within the same country there are so many lifestyles to try on. I've explored country life, small town life, and city life. I'm in the country again and, I feel somewhat situated here. My greatest conflict though is between living in the city or the country. I love the accessibility of culture in the city. I love to sit in coffee houses and write, or to find my own special places in a city such as a restaurant or art gallery, or a favorite walk, or join in special local events. I love the country too, where I can grow things, and watch nature change. Of course, seasonal transitions are available everywhere. It's just that in the country, nature is the strongest character in life's play and consequently, makes the biggest impact. I enjoy being alone all day and having time to think or just clear my rushing mind from intense feeling. While living in the country, I can create my own retreat-like atmosphere. I have the option to boycott the television, the radio, the phone and just float off into silence, whereas there are often intrusions in the city- or depending on your perspective- they may be opportunities to connect. I don't want to become so cut off that I lose the vitality that comes from people.

What place expresses the real way I want to live? I think that the country is my true home, especially when I'm reveling in nature's abundance as it spills out at my feet. You may wonder what is causing this pensive reflection? And I would blame it on the trees.




In Puerto Rico, it's funny how the blazing flamboyan trees, signal the end of summer and the return to school.


This summer as I looked over the mountain side trying to catch a glimpse of red, I understood that when I found the popular draping scarlet curtain blown open by the intense Caribbean heat, it's message would be: It's over. Time to go back to your other life-the lively but more driven life. Like the burning sting of the red fire ant when you boldly walk barefoot across the grass, I realize it's time- the flame tree is ablaze. I reason with myself; it's not the arbol de flamboyan's fault!

Its' blossom is like an abundant bouquet of orchids and the closer you get, the more detailed the beauty. From a distance, you see a Spanish flamingo dancer's skirt twirling open and it's caught in a memory ...














I remember the first time I realized the beauty of this tropical tree. It was in the 80's, and my mother was traveling with me to visit my new husband's family in Puerto Rico. The Flame tree enthusiasm was lost to me- buried as it was in the general over saturation of a new cultural experience. Plus, it was hot! We were driving through the crowded tapon (traffic jam) on route number 2, when the car's tire blew out. Pulling over under the nearest shady spot, we pour out of the car to assess the damage. It would take a while for my husband to change the flat tire so Mom and I began to look around. I find large brown seed pods on the ground. When I start to collect them, I notice they make a sound like a rattle or maracas but softer, and they came from the tree above. The ground is covered in a red carpet, and looking up, I notice that we are stranded under the famous flamboyan tree. I call out to Mom, "Look at this tree!" It connected me to the Caribbean as no other natural experience. Perhaps that's why it's obsessively featured in local paintings?

You can go to Plaza Las Americas any day of the week and find a painting of a flamboyan tree for sale. Puerto Rico, it says to the culturally smitten. And now, here we are driving home to our house in the mountains. Just around the corner, there it stands. I realize that I must stop and attempt to capture this stunning tree. We are Puerto Rican for a time in Puerto Rico, the heat of the dancer's skirt rises from the street in Barrio Achiote. Red flame. Summer's end.