Today Is…

lettersToday is…

a sorrowful, messy, ugly day,

a joyful, sunny, pretty day,

an instant in time

a moment,

the only moment.

Today is

what we have,

precious.

In response to WP Weekly Photo Challenge Letters

Advertisements

Boundless – My Word for 2014

This year, I have chosen Boundless as my wordThis word holds a promise of infinite possibilities and limitless potential.  It is the word that I want to serve as guide and inspiration for how I want to live, love and walk in this world this year and beyond.

boundlessIt feels like a big word and it both thrills me and scares me with the possibilities.  I am done with living my life within the boundaries and expectations that have been imposed on me and more importantly that I have imposed on myself.  This year, I challenge myself to  live life differently. Boundless.

What will you pick as your theme word for this year?

For more inspiration check out some of these sites:

A cabin in the woods – the embarrassing truth.

Morning mist on the riverFive days in a fairly isolated cabin in the woods, on the Magnetawan River is exactly what you might expect. A peaceful retreat that gave me the opportunity to sleep, re-energize and reconnect with myself and My One and Only (MOO).  I also learned some embarrassing truths about myself and MOO that I sort of knew but became glaringly apparent during this get away.Magnetawan River

  1.  We love being near water – but not so much in the water.  It was lovely sitting on the edge of the river, enjoying the sunshine reflected on the water, the gentle movement of the dock when the wind picked up, the early morning mist and the afternoon sun.  Deep cold water with things (pike, bass, turtles etc.) moving in the water however freaks us out so we did not swim in the river because neither one of us wanted one of the water creatures to nibble our toes or get caught in our hair.  Oh, and neither one of us really likes cold water.  We did take a ride in the paddle boat, once we figured out how to steer it, but paddling against the gentle strong current was more energy than we wanted to exert and so we returned to our chairs on the dock after a quick paddle to the island and back. We did see one of the water creatures (aka a large turtle) swimming beneath the boat.  I think it was a snapping turtle and I was sure that it would somehow jump out of the water and go for my jugular.  MOO tried to briefly follow her but after losing sight of it, we turned around and headed for shore.Sitting on the dock
  2. We are the manicured outdoor nature lovers and not the wilderness type nature lovers because the woods are a little bit  very scary. We spent a lot of time looking over our shoulders especially when we were sitting on the dock with our back to the trees. MOO was sure that a black bear was in the vicinity itching to come for a visit. I was secretly hoping we might see one but no such luck.  We did see a Blue Heron standing on the shore watching us for a while but he eventually lost interest at our lack of activity and he flew to the opposite shore.  Little dogs especially are not safe in the woods.  We saw an Osprey circling overhead near the cabin when Abbey was trying to do her business.  Even though Osprey primarily hunt fish, MOO was sure that this particular one was a carnivore and thought a little Shih Tzu might make a nice dinner.  We subsequently scouted the skies for bird of prey each time Abbey had to visit the loo.
  3.  I read way too many mystery novels because my first thought driving down the one lane, gravel road to the cabin was that this would be a perfect spot to kill someone and dispose of the body.  During the five days we were at the cabin, we didn’t see another soul except for the occasional canoeist on the river, one motor boat and a couple of Sea Doos from across the river.  Who would know? I definitely need to stop with the mysteries.
  4. Flashing red lights on dimmer switches do not signify that an electrical fire is imminent.  At about 4 a.m., on her way to the washroom, MOO noticed that the light switch was intermittently flashing red.  After feeling the switch box for heat, smelling the area and inspecting the switch plate, she was relatively sure that a fire was not slowing brewing but she searched the cabin for a fire extinguisher anyways. When she couldn’t find one, she placed a set of clothes for each of us, keys, wallets and phones near the door for a quick get away and then spent the next couple of hours watching the flashing light.  I was more worried about the storm raging outside that was going to wash away the road to the cabin.

I think we might return to the cabin in the woods but next year MOO will have her pepper spray in case of bear sightings and Abbey will have an orange vest for her trips to the loo and I won’t pack my bathing suit because I will not be swimming.  I may still bring a couple of mystery novels with me though because they would make good projectiles in case of an attack from a snapping turtle.

Magnetawan River, Ontario

Las Vegas – The night club experience

The adage, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas is absolutely true but there are some experiences worth sharing.

New York New York Hotel, Las Vegas

Walking along the Vegas strip, you are repeatedly accosted by entrepreneurs offering all sorts of deals and experiences. Manny stopped us outside of the New York New York Hotel with offerings of free club admissions and free shows. Well not completely free. For $5, (per person) Manny gave us free admission to a number of clubs: The Bank at the Bellagio Hotel, Revolution Lounge at the Mirage Hotel and tickets to number of comedy shows. Now it’s important to read the fine print on these passes. Apparently, the passes were to be used on specific days of the week and specific times (before midnight). Getting six women organized and ready for a night on the town takes time. At 11:45 pm M was still doing hair and makeup for the others and only three of us were dressed and ready to go. It was at this point that I happened to read the fine print and realized that we had to get to the club by midnight so as not to pay a cover charge. It would take us 15 minutes just to get from our rooms and through our hotel lobby. We were staying at the Tropicana at one end of the Strip and the Mirage and Bellagio were mid-way down the Strip.  Given that we had spent 12 hours shopping (it was important to visit every store in both outlet malls in case me missed an awesome deal)  and some of us were trying to travel on a fixed budget, our beds ultimately were the more attractive, desirable and less costly option for the night.

We did get to a dance club the next night (Sunday) – although I’m not sure if I would call what we did dancing. We grabbed a limo (after all, we were in Vegas) to the Mirage and made our way to the Revolution Lounge ready to enjoy a free drink and great dance music only to find that the club was closed. Apparently, clubs are closed some nights. Who would have that this in Sin City right?  Maybe that’s why the passes identified going on Saturday nights? No one was prepared to give up on the night so we agreed to go next door to Pure at Caesar’s Place. Now if you haven’t been to Vegas you might not know that getting from one hotel to the next on foot would qualify for at least a half marathon (at least!). Nevertheless, we agreed to walk . Although tempted, we couldn’t justify taking a cab (or another limo) to get to the hotel next door. Fifteen minutes later, Three hours later, traveling in heels, we made it to Pure where we found only a very small line up and a reduced cover charge ($10 for Sunday night). Things were looking up. We were excited. We were pumped. We were prepared to dance!

We were finally granted admission and the bouncer and staff directed us towards the music. Up beautiful white marble staircases, past billowing gossamer curtains, up, up, up, towards the music. We finally reached our destination – the rooftop of the club where there were what seemed hundreds of people mashed together overlooking the neon lights of the Strip. It was a  spectacular sight and the music was loud and pulsing – but there was no dance floor! People were dancing where they stood.  Trying to get anywhere was difficult. We found a relatively empty spot near the bar and planted ourselves there. Maybe this was the pre-party before they opened the doors to the main club (somewhere below)? …..Apparently not. Given that it was Sunday night and there were only a few hundred people instead of the larger numbers that typically attend, the party was limited to the rooftop.

Pure Night Club

Pure, Caesar’s Palace – Rooftop Night Club

We could have sat on the beautifully canopied and comfortable looking sofas cordoned off along the perimeter of the rooftop but that would have required us to pay for bottle service which none of us felt we could afford. $10 drinks at the bar already felt a bit outrageous.  So instead we stood, in our heels, in our little section (just beside the sofa pictured above) and danced (without moving our feet much) and enjoyed the revelry around us with the occasional young man grooving and grinding his bits behind one of us (apparently this is the current mode of expressing interest in a woman among the younger crowd – who knew?) and then happily headed back to our hotel room and sleep a few hours later.

Glad I had this experience but I don’t need to visit this scene again any time soon….

Summer Moments

It’s raining.  After almost two months of glorious sun, heat and summer weekend bliss,  it’s raining on a Saturday afternoon.  But somehow it’s okay. After all, the trees and the garden have been waiting for a good downpour and it gives me an opportunity to post on my neglected blog.  I haven’t found the time to post anything, mostly because I have been too busy enjoying the beautiful weather and the opportunities that summer provides.  It felt like a bit of a waste of the beautiful days to be sitting at my lap top when I could be outside.  So today’s rain is an opportunity.  An opportunity to reflect on the simple pleasures of summertime.

So here is my list of moments of summer bliss:

Leisurely strolls with Abbey:   Abbey waits patiently for her mama to get her keys so she can start her walk.

Dining al fresco

 

 

 

 

Even left overs somehow taste better outside.  Grilled vegetables and shrimp on pasta. Grilled asparagus. Cucumber salad with basil.

Growing watermelons:

Every day, we patiently water this watermelon and watch it grow.  It didn’t come with instructions so now we just have to figure out when it is ready to eat.

Summer dressing:

Love the loose, colourful clothes of summer.

Frothy icy drinks from Starbucks:

Yummy. Especially after a long walk on a hot summer afternoon.

Planning our Fall trip to Italy:

Big beautiful hanging flower baskets decorating the streets:

Playing soccer and baseball:

I’m such an athlete.

Our first garden vegetable:    Writing this post reminds me and re-connects me to the wonderful everyday moments of my life.

My backyard oasis…shattered

I delight in my peaceful backyard oasis.

It’s a small garden but over the years I have filled it with statuary and perennials that bring me joy and contentment.

I sit on my deck, reading, blogging, sharing a meal with friends and simply enjoying the beauty around me.

And then it happened.  My One and Only and I were sitting on the deck, enjoying a lovely summer evening.  The wind gently rustled the leaves of the large black walnut tree overhead.  The birds chirped cheerily.  The pond fountain gurgled. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a  flash of black charge down the trunk of the black walnut.  The underbrush shook violently and we heard hysterical chirping.  The streak of black emerged from under a large hosta with a slash of red in its mouth.  It took me a moment to register that it was the neighbour cat with a cardinal in its mouth.  It took me several more seconds to realize that the cat had grabbed the cardinal that lived in our backyard.  The cat looked at me triumphantly and then before we could to react,  the cat  took off across the yard, leapt over the fence into the neighbour’s yard and disappeared.  We sat shocked and somewhat traumatized. 

I know, I know – it’s what cats do.  But still.   So now we sit on our deck,  less peaceful, with a broom at the ready, to chase that damn cat away if it even thinks of stepping foot in our garden oasis.  So far, the cat is winning. 

Goddess to the Core Workshop

I can’t believe it has  taken me two weeks to post about my latest adventure.  Two weeks ago, I did something daring and a bit out of my comfort zone and attended the Goddess to the Core workshop described as “an inspired workout to maximize your fitness, beauty and power.”  I attended this workshop at the Omega Institute.  (You can read about  my love of the Omega Institute in an earlier post).

The three-day workshop was led by Sierra Bender, a beautiful, fit energetic and passionate woman.  It was a weekend filled with empowering messages and celebration of the strength, courage, wisdom, and beauty of all women. And although there were parts that were physical, it really was about finding and believing in our core that we as women are able to do anything we want in this world without giving up our femininity, our goddess nature.

Our mornings started with stretches, singing and a smudging ceremony to cleanse ourselves followed by a silent hike in the woods.  Hiking in silence brought awareness to our surroundings as well as our own inner dialogues.

After the hikes, we meditated.  The meditation connecting us to nature, led by Sierra’s partner, Dr. Jeff Midgow amidst the trees, was powerful.  I felt grounded and connected to the world around me.  This meditation brought me a sense of peace.  Thinking back on the experience, I am reminded of the power of being still, of being present and the need to continue this practice daily (although it always seems harder to do when I’m back in my life).

Probably the most exciting and amazing part of the weekend was the board breaking exercise.  Imagine a room full of about forty women of all ages, shapes and sizes.  We each wrote on one side of a  pine board a negative message that we believed about ourselves.  On the other side of the board, we wrote the opposite of that message.  If someone wrote that they believed they were unworthy, on the opposite side they wrote that they were worthy.  Then with a trio of drummers drumming and women clapping and cheering, women took turns breaking their boards with their feet.  The energy and encouragement and joy in the room when each woman, after a varying number of attempts, was able to break through their board with a quick powerful kick was incredible.   I broke through my board on my third attempt. It was exhilarating a finally break through.

I went home from this weekend with a sense of wonder at the power of women and a sense of contentment that I am where I need to be in my life and that despite the day-to-day challenges of work and responsibilities, life is good.  I took a chance on a workshop that scared me (I don’t do experiential very well) and lived to experience a great adventure.  Writing this post has served to reconnect me to those good, positive feelings.