Monday, December 31, 2012

my wish for the new year

I wish to be surrounded by love, and filled with peace.  I wish to be fueled with curiosity, strength and determination. I wish for space, for in-between-moments and silence. I wish for slow moments where the hot chocolate is savoured, where arts and crafts get done, slowly, calmly, bathed in conversation about nothingness and everything.

I wish for long days and even longer nights. For the year to be slow, long and memorable, in a most unmemorable way.

I wish for discovery and adventure. For questions to be answered and new questions to arise together with new possibilities.

I wish for mouthfuls of sticky chocolate.

I wish for health and life.

I wish to be filled with wonder and surrounded by fairy dust.

I wish for love. To be loved. To love.

Happy new year y'all

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

DAY 25: my unholy christmas

notice that this year we opted to make a christmas tree from reclaimed trees

For better or for worse, Christmas stopped being a religious holiday for me a long time ago, but it is still the most important one. For me christmas is a time to celebrate family which, as far as I am concerned,  is about as  holy as it gets.

I love doing up the house and have been buying decorations during my travels for years. Next year when our new house is ready  I plan to go all out (minus the reindeer and the santa on the rooftop thing)

Back in the day when I had time and it was all mine, I spent ages thinking about, planning and buying for gifts. I didn't necessarily have that much money and, you know, it was kind of better that way, it was good to have to save and think, and it really was the best part to see other people's faces when they opened them.

I still put up a nativity scene, which makes no sense, and I haven't even explained to the kids what it is about.  Actually, we had one that broke and bought another, so now baby Jesus has a twin. For some reason I need all the details to be there. They are all  part of this pagan ritual of mine.

Last but not least is the feast. My mother would cook the same exact thing every christmas eve, and at no other time of the year. Smell is a  powerful thing and it  brings me right back to that place. The turkey would take about 6 hours to cook, (part of the tradition requires turkey left overs, so they are always pretty huge,) so we would wake up to the smell of the beast roasting under the heat of the mustard, bacon and beer.  The sound of the spanish christmas jingles (villancicos),  and a fully lit tree standing proud  over colourful and carefully wrapped  presents. So this one day a year I am in charge of the kitchen, and no one is allowed to make any changes to the menu.

I may not be religious, but this is about as sacred as it gets in my house.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

DAY 23: Dear me in old age....

Dear me in old age,

I'm so glad we can just sit and talk about all this now. I mean, you used to be so uptight about so many things! don't get me wrong, I get it, I get that you just meant to do it right and you did it because you cared. And I love that you cared, but I'm glad that experience and time have given you the strength  and wisdom, like the saying goes, to know the difference. I'm glad that you are just  enjoying the kids without the stress. that was so funny when you kept thinking it was going to get easier! but alas, you realised there was only so much you were going to be able to do.  I'm glad that you realised that love, example (yeah, and time) was what you could put into the mix, and then you just had to wait to see what came out.

I'm glad that you turn work down now, that you prioritise  the things you love even though they don't pay. I know,  I know it wasn't so easy taking that decision when you didn't know which way it was going to go. It was brave of you and I am proud.  Personally,   I always knew you had that little artists in you waiting to be let out. I knew you had  that book in you, and I knew it was the piece you needed to complete the puzzle, to get to the next step, to become more whole, more you. I was just never sure which one it was going to be,  photography or writing. I'm just glad that you still had a few things that even surprised me up your sleeve. who knew?

I  am SO glad you went back to regular exercise when you did. I know it sounds lame to even bring this up, but I'm not sure we'd be having this conversation otherwise. We both know your body always needed a little extra love, care and attention. Payback for not having quit when it had the chance. 

And now here you are, an old grumpy strange lady. Yes, strange, love that you never let go of the weird, glad you never let go off that "freak flag" and let your kids know that life is ... whatever we make of it, and may other's judgement of it fall on deaf ears. We've got  a choice and we make mistakes, and we learn and end up in unexpected places. 

I loved how you always rolled with it, yeah, a little grumpy at times, but always willing to go along and see what kind of lemonade you could come up with this time.

Most of all  I'm grateful that you decided to put love first  and "tomorrow" second. Love first and pride or recognition second. And there you are, basking in it, swimming in it, the love you planted and nurtured in your friends and family, so that now you can be that old, funny looking grumpy lady, that knows weird facts,  has done even weirder  stuff, and everyone loves to love.  

gotta go.

love always, 
the young you

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day 21: what's your next step

mexico, 2005

About 7 years ago I was in a really good place, in every way. Yet for some reason I realised that -where I was- was not a place I wanted to stay in for that much longer.

I very much have that feeling  right now. Nothing's wrong. Actually, everything is going as planned, (surprisingly so). Yet, there is a restlessness that tells me that the next step is near. That it will soon be time to move on.

Back then the next logical step  seemed clear. We would have babies. We would start a family. Even though I was no where near able to envision  how much this would affect my life plan, I knew I didn't want  my career to continue being the centre of my universe. I knew I was ready to move on.

This time, I don't know what the next step is. Really there is no hurry. In a way I am nicely curious to find out where this is headed. In a way, it makes me some what impatient and anxious. I would like someone to open that door already. ... I'd like to know. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

DAY 18: on laughter


sadly, I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard  I nearly peed my pants, what I can share is that I laugh regularly (mostly at my kids.... or with my kids, depends how you want to look at it), and I also make sure to get my daily does of laughter through my daily TV session at night, (think Daily show with Jon Steward or New Girl). 

The acoustics in my house are such  that  you can hear the TV better in almost every OTHER room, so the hubs bought me some wireless headphones. I leave you with an image in the hope that it will make you smile, of me  sitting in the dark, surrounded by silence, alone, laughing my  butt off. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

DAY 17: what mantras keep you going?

These are some of the mantras that kept me going throughout the year 
and define who I am and who I want to be.

“don't sweat the small stuff”

“think long term: what kind of person 
do you want your child to be”

“ this too shall pass”

“a dios rezando y con el mazo dando” 
(whilst praying/hoping, you need to put in the work)

“remain humble. Remember all you DON’T know, 
and relish all you are yet to learn”

"no one is better than you. No one is worse than you. You can learn something from everyone 
and  every situation"

“you are never too old to learn something new”

"don't limit yourself with tags and definitions. let others worry about that, do what you love, 
love what you do"

"if it brings you joy, do it, 
even if it doesn't 'make sense'"

"there are many paths to get to Rome"

“remember who your REAL clients are” 
(hint, NOT the ones paying me)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Day 15: what are you thankful for?

six years old

We all know how me tend to take for granted the most important things in life. Partly because we just can't imagine life without them, we don't even stop to consider how lucky we are to have them.

This year more than most I've been reminded of a very simple truth: how lucky I am to have two beautiful, healthy -live- children.

I'm grateful for routine. For the kids getting off the bus hungry and complaining. For the dinner they refuse to  eat. For the struggle to get them to brush their teeth and go to bed.

Even though I know I am extremely blessed and have a long list of things to be thankful for. Today, now,   I'm just going to stick to that one.  Because I can't begin to imagine life without them. Because I can't stop thinking what if it'd been me. What if it'd been mine.

five years old

Friday, December 14, 2012

this is not a political statement, just a fact

on love with a capital L

We interrupt this December Challenge to say CONGRATULATIONS to two very special people who are celebrating, today, FIFTY years of LOVE, companionship, partnership, tolerance, friendship, adventures, misadventures, connection, chicken soup, unconditionality, protection, understanding, splitting romantic and adventure movie nights, date nights, pre-cooked lobster valentines, late nights dancing, travel (with kids, which counts for like twenty), jewellery hidden in a cookie box, kindness, sincerity, silent dinners that are NOT awkward, apologies, patience, impatience, connection, humour get the picture

"love is the fabric of all creation. It's beginning and the end. Love defines existence. You are love. I am love. Love is all there is"


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 13, the beauty of different, what makes you YOU?

I've always thought that my eyes were a bit too small and my nose a tad too big, 
but you know what they say, careful what you wish for 

also, people tend to think I'm a little odd, go figure, but I always kind of liked it. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day 12: imagine you have 5 minutes to rescue what you can from 2012.... go!

The Family Trip to Miami, the first  time ever we all travelled together * Love my work related trips * being overwhelmed by Bangladesh * enjoying the tastes of Ethiopia, and generally being given the chance to share the lives of others and while remembering how fortunate we are * Mario’s new school * Summer holidays back home (Spain and Italy) with the family, always lovely * I’ll take the little chopito with me, even if he didn’t last long * Visit to san Francisco and going back to Monterey after soo many years * the feeling of having an established business and being able to work in a team as opposed to alone after a looooong time * girlie lunches * The kids beginning to read (yei) *  the kids beginning to  have more in depth conversation * 20 days in timor, it felt like time had stopped and I got to live by the sea, I’ve always wanted to * home baked bread and home made yogurt * The many family visits and the chance to share my life with them * the frumpy man that sleeps in my bed and makes it all happen * New friends and seeing old friends * Yoga * capoeira *  The green juice detox, a new addiction,  for once a healthy one * an increased and increasing sense of normalcy *  being spared by sandy * health for my family and no major issues in the family. No news is good news * The house!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 11, what's your super power

recently I saw a t-shirt I loved. It read: "I make milk, what's your superpower?"

so here's to all the mommies in the world, cause making milk  (never mind the actual human being that goes with it) is a pretty damn awesome superpower.

Now if only we could make some  bread and jam to go with it we'd have breakfast sorted. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

DAY 10, on friends and family

I’ve been away from home for nearly 16 years now. And when I say “away” I don’t mean that I moved out. I was in another country, and for the most part in another continent.

But still, after all this time, and although for the most part we all go about our every day business, whenever I’ve needed it my family has been there for me. Like a quiet net that has been there and out of sight all along, it closed in and wrapped around me. It cradled me just enough so that I was warm, but still had enough room to breath.  Their generosity holding up the bit that  wasn’t strong enough to bear the weight. Be it because I was hurt or because I had a dream, they rallied around me, be it with their time, their money or just the quiet vigil of those who know there's  a journey  you have to do alone, but will stay up the night with you anyways.

They say friends are the family that we choose, and it is true that I did not choose my family. But I could not ask for better friends.