People are strange...in a very good way!


I love having a diverse group of friends with varied tastes, perceptions, interests and backgrounds. It makes life interesting and it means that there is always someone there for you when you need them. This week I've called on several friends that I am grateful for. Whether to answer astronomy questions, give tutoring advice, meet up for bowling playdates, remind you that exercise can be fun or to listen non-judgmentally as you relay the plot of the last Twilight film (ahem), interesting, cool people rule. Wouldn't it stink if we were all the same?

And I just had to go back and edit this post thanks to my editing friend, Ellie, who pointed out that I misspelled the word "advice". See!?

Holiday Music Has Arrived!


Here we go! Christmas music is floating around everywhere and even our local diner has switched up its selections. Radio, car and outside spaces are no longer safe from holiday tunes. In fact I am actually enjoying it (for now). 

If you don’t have something nice to say…

I was recently having a conversation with a very bright (female) colleague when she made the following remark about someone she was having a challenging relationship with outside of work: “Everything she does with her hands she un-does with her words.”  I was struck by just how appropriate this comment was in describing so many situations.

How many of us have worked hard to produce something (whether it’s a work project or a home/family project) only to shoot ourselves in the foot with an impulsive or ill considered criticism/remark? Sadly, I know that I have. It is a humbling experience.

In my case, it was in pushing others to my own standards, believing that my own way is the very best way. I may get an A for my efforts but if no one wants to celebrate the achievement with me (for being an overly critical snoot) then what joy is there in the result? For those of us who are our own worse critic, this is a very challenging life lesson.

If you do suffer it, be eternally grateful for the experience. Acceptance without ego opens a lot of discoverable, middling ground.

It does not matter how hard a person works to deliver results if they fail to treat other people with respect and with an open mind to another person’s dignity. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our heads that we don’t always step outside ourselves and into someone else’s shoes.  Ever been there?

What Are You Passionate About?


Finding your passion (or passions) in life is such an amazing gift.  Many people float their entire lifetimes searching for something that truly engages them in a meaningful way.

I think it you are one of the lucky ones, it is because you were fortunate to be exposed to it (and/or born with a rare, innate talent/disposition such as a Mozart or Leonardo DiVinci - gah! No pressure there!) and secondly, that you are brave enough to persist in your area of interest until you master it.

I don’t know a single person that lived a successful life that didn’t have passion for something they found meaningful. Whether you are an inventor (like Steve Jobs), a teacher, conservationist, parent, artist, philanthropist, rain maker or CEO, it all happens from a place of joy and excitement in the pursuit of what we love and find to be worthwhile.

I especially love what Mr. Jobs has to say about hiring and developing talented people. The best leaders are those who recognise, cultivate and value a highly skilled team. Leaders who understand the magic that occurs from a passionate, collaborative collective. So, what’s your  passion?

Winter is Coming

Summer in the city is a sight to fall in love with. Flowers blooming in unexpected
places, bocce players in Bryant park, Mr. Softy on street corners, drifting
through the village for late night coffee outside at crowded cafe tables, summer
dresses and tons of tourists who seem surprised at how hot it gets
(there is a reason so many flock to the Hamptons through August!).

In a city with so many buildings, fall is fleeting...yet the winters are magical.
People are breaking out their boots and jackets, flirting with winter wear on the
chillier days. We are looking forward to ice skating at the park, wandering
through museums, seeing the tree come up at Rock Center, hot chocolate at La
Maison Du Chocolate and tea at the Plaza after long, cold walks.

City landmarks look so different in winter white and dressed in elaborate lights.
Window dressings, festive shopping bags and perhaps a Broadway show or three.
I do miss the old Tavern on the Green. Champagne cocktails while looking through
the crystal room at thousands of twinkling lights woven through bare winter
branches. Ah, well. We have our memories and changes can be unexpectedly
delightful. Just like the seasons.

Mummy or Mommy?


Today I feel more of a mummy than mommy. Ever have those days? When you are fighting off a cold and going through the motions of daily life like a zombie while what you really want to do is succumb to exhaustion? These are times when I throw away the checklists and listen in to what I really need.

Today it was about skipping errands that are not important. Ordering in dinner and playing checkers by firelight. Losing those games with a smile at my opponent's glee. Reading and being read to without feeling guilty about the 101 things on that checklist. I'll worry about preparing the garden for winter tomorrow. Tonight I am content with being a mummy. A mummy with a hot cup of Theraflu. Mmmmm.





Boys to Men

Lately I have been thinking about men.

photo credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/330921669/

It started with the search for winter outerwear. Since our son is out of the cute Janie and Jack era, it has been a struggle to find excellent quality clothing for boys that also look “cool” enough for his changing sensibilities. Popular catalogs this season are 90% adorable girl clothing and 10% okay boy clothing. Even the mall stores carry an enormous selection for girls and just a small, out of the way section for boys. I've also been noticing a huge array of interesting toys for girls in the market – with just a couple of aisles of standard cars, balls and robots for boys. What gives?

It has made me look closer at the world around me.  Have we become a society so focused on the development of girls that we are leaving the boys behind? Educational research has proven that boys learn differently than girls yet public and many private schools are still taught primarily by women with a female influenced perspective. The issue is not boys versus girls. It's about encompassing all aspects about the individual. Women and men are equal in their contributions at every level of society. Yet equal does not mean exactly the same.

photo credit:http://pinterest.com/pin/254003635/
I love my wild boy – we just also expect him to say excuse me and avoid mowing down small children and grandmothers without stopping to check if there is a pulse.

I have taken for granted the loving influence of gentlemen in my life – particularly how they influenced my own feelings of self. Don’t we want to develop young men who can rule the world - as well as cook a meal? Gentlemen don’t develop in a vacuum. More than anything I want my son to find true love in his life. The kind that sustains you and lifts you with laughter during the difficult times and holds your hand as life unfolds.
photo credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/444798326/
Of course I want him to rule the world with wisdom and grace – yet in those life changing moments I want him to be a strong and whole partner in any relationship he chooses. The reality is that I am raising someone’s future husband, father and grandfather. I am eternally grateful to my in-laws for teaching my husband how to love deeply and steadfastly. To be a stand up guy who solves problems and doesn’t run…from anything. That comes from good examples.

photo credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/197690075/

Today I thought about my father and my uncles. I recently lost a much beloved uncle and his loss is still taking me by surprise. Those unexpected moments when you are thinking about seeing him again only to realize there are no more opportunities. It is my second one, the first passing several years ago. These men stood guard over me and taught me life lessons from a masculine perception. In their youth they stood straight and tall, men who look you in the eye and shake your hand with a solid grip. In middle age and beyond, they are still just as wonderful.

photo credit: http://
pinterest.com/pin/
7367614
3873535836/
My father is the epitome of the perfect guy. No one is without fault, yet my Dad is pretty close. He never has a bad word to say about anyone and he stands up for what he believes in, no matter the cost. He has done well in life by staying true to his values and as a parent he cared more about molding my character than in buying my love. He taught me to drive a stick, change a tire and keep a checkbook. He has always challenged me and that has taught me to feel capable - regardless of gender. 


There were other male influences.


One uncle served in the Vietnam war and suffered the disability of losing both his legs. From him I learned about the stalwart grace of the human spirit. I have never heard him complain about the great pain he must experience on those occasions he gives up his artificial legs for a wheelchair. I never saw him take out his frustrations on his family. I never heard him blame someone else for his troubles. He raced cars and did as he pleased. A handsome man, his smile could light up Madison Square Garden. A man with an unlimited supply of jokes, he has suffered more in needless remorse for the one occasion he reprimanded me (well deserved!) than he has ever communicated about
his physical condition. He taught me to never feel sorry for myself,
to choose happiness and craft my own perceptions about life.

Photo Credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/215765258/
My father’s brother is a man of God. A talented musician (as is my Dad), he comes from a very long line of preachers. He has selflessly dedicated his life to sharing this love with communities around the world.  When I was a little girl I thought he was Elvis Presley. He gave me a love of practical jokes and the values to follow one's own path in life, regardless of where others walk.

My gentle Dayi is my husband’s uncle – mine by marriage and mine by fierce claim. He passed this fall and his loss is offset by the legacy of love and warmth he left behind. He was a beloved husband, father, brother, son, grandfather and uncle. Generous and kind, soft spoken and fun loving. My son gets his avid and unusual ability to solve any puzzle at dazzling speed. At a time when I was a young woman lost in a foreign country and lonely, he took me under his wing and folded me in without judgments or reservations about our cultural differences. He made me loved for just being me.

My husband treasures his own memories of his father and uncles - the men who came before. The men who set positive examples of how to conduct yourself as a gentleman in life. He has many treasured friends who act as uncles to our son – lucky boy. He also treasures the women in his life. The women who taught him how to treat a woman, who taught him to view a woman as an equal partner in life and to value and cultivate unconditional love.
photo credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/231876593/
Although women, like my mother, have been a significant influence in who I am, in retrospect, it is the guidance and examples of good men that give equal impact to the development of any human being. The Ying is nothing without the Yang. Our reflection of self from both genders impacts who we become. For all our differences, we all want to be happy in our lives.

So as much as I am raising a boy, I also have the responsibility of raising a human being who we want to make a positive impact on others with his own light – perhaps even with a daughter. He has lots of wonderful men in his life (and women!) that set the bar high.
I hope he shines as bright as those who came before him.

How to ( not ) be a class mom!

I love being involved with my son's school. I love the idea of it. I like his teachers and we are pretty passionate in our house about homework and spelling tests. With that said, I learned a lot last year about my limits. Excited about our son's new adventure into Kindergarten, I was the parent in the front row feverishly taking notes at orientation while my husband actually had conversations with other people. I signed up for every parent/volunteer event I thought I could handle (ha!).  I signed up for year book photos, festivals and events I had no idea experience with. I ignored the wiser mothers in my life who shook their heads and advised me to pare it down. I had no idea what a "class mom" was exactly in this day and age, yet I was determined to be the best one ever!

hmmm.

I really did try my best, yet it was not a natural fit. I admire -and am grateful for -the moms who devote themselves to ensuring all of our children enjoy special events throughout the year. As a volunteer, I found myself too...impatient to truly enjoy each and every experience (What is the true ROI for these fundraisers? Is every child having a GREAT time? How do we improve this process for next year? Whose minding that crazy child over there...oh, wait that's my kid...).   I really enjoyed getting to know people but my main goal was to be there for Monkey. Running around like a manic person actually made me less present for him.


The end result of my experience is that I signed up for nothing this year. That's right. Big zero. I will join in the fun if it works with my family priorities and our schedules. I will always donate goods when asked and be present when it makes sense for us and it means something to Monkey (like an upcoming mystery reader stint). And I will definitely be donating generously to the PTA this year...

For fun, here are a few pictures last year when I did a Halloween craft for Monkey's class. It took me 6 hours over two nights to hand cut little bat bodies and it took them 10 minutes to complete. The candy boxes and cellophane were from Michael's. It was fun - yet this year I am delivering food made by someone else as I intend to keep my eyes on Monkey as he dazzles in his Star Wars costume. He'll be happy with my undivided attention - inside or outside the classroom.




NYC Food Carts


As a Midwest transplant I always enjoy the surprise and delight of visiting relatives when they witness the diversity of New York City first hand. Not just the people - also the food. For tourists and dedicated foodies alike, NYC restaurants offer an amazing variety that suits any palette or preference.

On recent outings, I began to notice that the most casual dining available in the Big Apple is just as diverse. Let me preface by admitting that I DO NOT eat at these carts (with the exception of a hot dog - or "dirty water dog" - shared with my dad in 1994 because he really wanted the experience...). This is not because of any health concerns - thousands of people enjoy cart food every day and I am sure they are just fine. I just happen to be a bit of a germaphobe and...anyway. Here are a few pics of NYC food carts. I think they add to the uniquely artful NYC backdrop...street art that simply looks wicked cool.


Indian...
Crepes...
Hot dogs...
Dumplings...
                                                                     Lobster Rolls...
                                                                            Gyros...

and this cute little guy...
                                                                love the sombrero.








Traveling for Business - a how-to-guide for moms who are new to it

From a work standpoint, I am well into gear for fourth quarter. It is a challenge akin to preparing for the homecoming game. You have your strategy well in hand and are navigating last minute interference while keeping end of quarter performance goals in sight. For me that means a bit more travel. Most working moms (including myself) don’t particularly enjoy traveling on business - especially while your children are young.
photo credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/204231759/

As an example, I recall the plight of a breastfeeding colleague whose stored milk leaked all over a fellow passenger’s carry on. She was embarrassed but mostly upset to lose two days worth of pumped breast milk. Luckily she laughs about it today. Personally, I tried to really cut down on business travel when the enormous, seismic pull of a helpless infant and/or toddler existed. Once your children are more self-sufficient, however, things do get a lot easier.

Here are my two truths to share regarding successful business trips for working moms:
  1. You will be too busy on these trips to experience more than a tolerable amount of guilt. Sounds crazy but it's true for me. The week or two beforehand is really the worst of it. Once you are engaged in the purpose of your trip, your focus is pretty much tied up. To get to this place requires a bit of preparation – which I’ll share below.
  2. As much as you might think your child(ren) are pining in heartbreak without you...they are not.
They are enjoying forbidden Burger King with Dad. They are wheedling him into breaking rules and they are successful at it. They are jumping on the couch in wrestling battles and watching too much television. They are playing computer games with animated zombies that drive monster trucks over unsuspecting pedestrians. They are playing Wii after bedtime on a school night and your floors will acquire mysterious stains that no one knows anything about.
photo credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/229003348/
The man you married, who agreed that children without boundaries are a result of bad parenting, will drive him two towns over to buy out of season FIREWORKS. When you call to check in, they will give you the bum’s rush in order to get back to their next adventure. As much as we mothers are the glue that hold our families and civilization in check, it's fun for them to be barbarians once in a while. Not that I would tell them this. The truth is - great fathers pretty much rule. They hide the bad stuff from you until you get home.

The weeks before are my guilty weeks so I distract myself with preparations. Here is what I do:
  1. Spend a Sunday making and freezing meals such as lasagna, meatloaf and chicken Marsala, which they will never eat because they are eating out every night.
  2. Create lots of sweet or funny notes and hide them in sock drawers and shoes. Ask husband to place a note each day in your child’s snack or lunch box. You will find these later in the bottom of his backpack.
  3. Create a video of you reading a chapter or two from the current bedtime book. This will never be seen because of all the Wii time he is getting in.
  4. Select and hang up school clothes for the week after checking the extended weather forecast. Pin signs with days of the week on each set so that he wears the right shoes for gym and has a jacket on the chillier day.
  5. E-mail or speak with his teachers so that they are prepared that your child might be sad at school on those days and need a little extra TLC. He won’t need the TLC but he will certainly milk it if necessary (aka gets a reminder about talking too much during circle time).
  6. Buy little presents and ask the hubby to go on a clue hunt to find one each night. This one is really for the second half of an extended trip and is purely motivated by guilt and an egotistical need to still be remembered as a fun parent, although out of sight. This will backfire on you as Daddy will get the credit and he will take the credit without any of that regrettable guilt that you felt in the first place.
  7. Before leaving, really talk up the airport gift you will be bringing home for him.
  8. When packing for the trip, remember to include one “something” that belongs to him but that he can live without. A discarded baby blanket or a stuffed bear. Take pictures of this “something” in your hotel room or other location to e-mail an adventure story about. Make sure your Itouch or IPad is stocked with your favorite family photos, music, movie and an app that allows you to connect virtually - such as Skype. Sleep with the bear at night. Ditto for your husband’s t-shirt.
These steps are mostly completed in the pre-trip haze of guilt. Again, once you are on the way to the airport your focus will shift and it will be an amazing miracle when it happens. Knowing your family is able to exist (yet never wants to) without you is oddly comforting.

And trust me. As difficult and lonely as it may seem to be, sitting in a hotel room at the end of a long day (and thousands of miles away from your beloved family) not hearing someone call your name fifty times in a row or ask for the remote control the moment it hits your hand - just may rank up there with a spa day.
The thing about leaving is that there is a wonderful reunion. Lots of laundry – but a very happy family waiting for you to return.

Ahhh...Fall!


Fall is officially here. This time of year I can still smell pencil shavings and hear the crunch of leaves from school days past. Our son is happily settled into his own new school routine and all is well.


This weekend we will be opening up the fall d├ęcor boxes and switching things up a bit – we may even go a little crazy and bring out a few early Halloween things.

 

Despite the well publicized pumpkin shortage here on the Eastern seaboard
I am happy to report that I found both canned and fresh pumpkins at our local Whole Foods. Yea!

Pancakes!

I've gotten several requests for the pancake recipe I use. I have several and it really depends on whether I have fresh buttermilk in the fridge at the time. I only buy it for this recipe so I suppose it really depends on whether we add it to the grocery list. I am a big fan of online recipe sites yet find a reliable source to be the magnificent Martha Stewart. Say what you will, the lady has some very good core recipes.


You can grab the original link here:

http://www.marthastewart.com/318689/best-buttermilk-pancakes

I make adjustments to this recipe from time to time but my three main changes are that I use whole grain flour mixed with millet flour, I always add freshly grated organic lemon zest and I cook with organic coconut oil (I like the one from Spectrum for medium to high heat - tip from a brilliant friend).


I know it sounds like a big deal but it takes me less than ten minutes to throw all the ingredients together and get the first batch on. My dad and mother-in-law love the ready mixes - many people do but once you've converted to the real deal it is hard to settle for anything less. Everyone LOVES these pancakes! Will post my alternative pancake recipes later. Enjoy!

-------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE:
As promised last month, here is my alternative pancake recipe.
Pancake Recipe # 2:
Add 2.5 tablespoons of white vinegar to 1 and 1/4 cup of 2% milk and let stand
In separate bowl add:
1.5 cups of flour ( I use two kinds)
2 tbs of organic cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
3 tbs butter melted
Mix the dry ingredients together, mix the wet ingredients with the milk mixture and then combine.


Will I have a mustache one day?

We are getting a lot of chuckles from observed moments lately.

Boys are hunched over in my living room over an Itunes app of the 'magic eight ball'.  The app waits for the question then answers in a male voice that's supposed to be a mystical fortune teller.

Boy 1: "Will I have a mustache one day?"
(What? Since when has he thought about facial hair?)

Magic Eight Ball: "It looks doubtful."

Boy 1: "Ahh, man."

moment of disappointed silent

Boy 2: "Yeah. That's too bad."

Childhood's Journey

Every moment of childhood is special. At times you see him putting things together
and working out the puzzles of the universe and it's humbling to witness and share these early days of another person's journey.


Every perspective is built upon fresh experiences and his own unique compass. I often wonder what he is thinking and am so grateful that he is still of an age to tell me. That he wakes up eager to share his dreams. I hope it will always be like this. Someday he will be a teenager, more guarded in his independence. There are no absolutes and motherhood means letting go as much as it does holding on. Easy to say when I have not had to experience that sting in any significant way yet.
So I'll remind myself that it is not about me. It's about him. Childhood's journey is a joyful, lonely, happy, frustrating and wondrous time. My best wish for him is that he loves the journey as much as the destination.

The Small Things

As busy as life can get, I do love the small things. A good book that keeps you up all night. A song that lifts you out of your worries. A really good conversation with a soulful friend. The polished swing of a new blow out at the hair salon, an amazing cup of coffee, laughing with loved ones. A cup of tea from a pretty teapot at the end of a long day.


My husband handing me a glass of wine as he smiles at me with my favorite smile. Sitting down to a great meal I did not have to cook. Feeling my son kiss my arm as he passes by without saying a word. One realizes that the small things outweigh the big things by a ton.

The Original Supermoms


My sincerest gratitude to all the mothers in history who cared for their families without electricity and modern conveniences. That are still doing so in parts of the world today. Although our experience during Hurricane Irene lasted only 2 ½ days (felt like two years), it made me appreciate what I take for granted. Perhaps even how spoiled I am. My great, great grandmother and the lovely ladies before her had to do without vacuums, hot running water, crisp lighting, refrigerators, cooking appliances, mixers, telephones, computer and internet. Without television, Wii or I-anything.

It also helped me understand why children behaved less entitled in the “old days”.

What sane child would complain about bath time when he had to carry five buckets of water up a hill and watch his mother boil it over a fire? Bedtimes must have been a bit easier as well when nighttime meant no natural (or artificial) light to keep you active and interested in television or a computer. We read through four of the Little House on the Prairie books last winter and our recent experiences caused us to reflect on Ms. Wilder’s memories of laying in the prairie grass, helping Pa build a fireplace chimney or washing the dishes for Ma.

During one of these discussions, Monkey asked aloud one night why anyone would want to “live like that” (he was a bit grumpy at being forced to brush his teeth from a paper cup). It made me sad that he would automatically see a lack of running water and electric lights as a tragedy.

I now have more insight into why children were thrust outdoors more. Not only to help with chores during precious daylight hours, but to give their mothers some peace and quiet to do their own labors. My mother used to literally lock us out of the hours in the summer months, placing a pitcher of iced Kool-Aid or lemonade on the front porch with cups while she cleaned without us underfoot. It was a learned tactic handed down from mother to mother when children could not be enticed to sit like zombies watching Scooby Doo or the Backyardigans.

My own grandmother was a world class genius at keeping us entertained. Her mother, my granny, was as well. We would pick wild berries and make a paste from them to paint rocks with sticks. We tied thread to the leg of a June Bug and flew it as a kite, taking care to set it free without removing its limb. We made mud pies and washed our feet beneath an old fashioned water pump that splashed us in the summer heat. We learned to sew stitches, pick strawberries for jam and snap green beans. We cranked the handle on an ancient ice cream maker and picked warm eggs from beneath cranky hens. It was magic and her patience was infinite. It is funny how I do not recall the thousands of hours I have spent in my lifetime watching television yet I can recall these memories with magnified clarity.

Flash forward to this past weekend. For two days we played every board game in our house, even resorting to using scrabble tiles as dominos (to see them knock one another over in fantastic structures) one evening by candlelight. As the house grew dark we were always together. Never separated by rooms and different activities. Boiling water on the grill for tea was a special ritual.

As glad as I am to see the return of electricity, I see it differently now. More as a want than a necessity (with the exception of indoor plumbing, which I still see as non-negotiable). Even in the days following our adventure, we are finding ourselves gravitating to the same room in the evening, content in reading Harry Potter aloud, playing a round of Skipbo or preparing for bedtime all together. I can see all sides of the affect that modern conveniences has had on modern families. It makes me admire the women before me even more than I did before. It took so much effort to keep your home and family clean, fed, entertained and on track without electric outlets and washing machines. It inspires me to continue to share my beloved Grandmother’s lessons with my own child and future grandchildren. As much as we talk about “supermoms” today, they were nothing compared to the super moms back then. I am humbled and I thank them all.




Recharging

Being without electricity has been interesting. Now at a nearby Starbucks shamelessly taking our turn to recharge cell and apple devices. Loving that the place is crowded with chatting friends and neighbors. Best of all, no one is wearing make up and no one is self concious about it. Frizzy hair in buns, baseball caps and barely disguised pajamas rule.

We love the ocean so much. The sounds, scent and power is magic. Today I've been drawn to YouTube videos of how the shores looked today in anticipation of Irene. Here is an interesting one - and I am going to research what that foam is...


Spinning too fast


HIP_336006556.990319 by lemonbubbles
I am not feeling like a happy lemon today. We are preparing for Hurricane Irene. Keep in mind that we live in New York but far enough away so that we are not in any real danger. Mr. Lemon did a fine job of moving the deck furniture and grill yesterday. We have plenty of water, candles and food on hand if the worst happens and we have no electricity for awhile. I trust him completely when he insists we have more than enough batteries. We have a handy dandy list with suggestions like filling the bathtub with water in case you need it to flush toilets. Hope we don't need that one. So this morning I woke up early to exercise and finished tucking my roses, herbs and plants out of the way to avoid being stripped of all leaves by the fierce winds we seem to get with big storms around here.
I am feeling out of sorts. Thinking about baking pumpkin bread before we are tossed into the unknown. As much as I longed for summer, I am really looking forward to Fall. Crisp apples and Halloween. Why do we always look forward to the next thing, the next season, the next event or the next milestone? Why is it so hard to stay in the present and not force the world to rush by so fast? Think I will meditate before the menfolk rise for the day. I need to find a way to look forward to a Hurricane. Sheesh.

Leave Negativity Behind

We recently made a day trip to a Native American Indian festival.
Within an hour Monkey realised we would not be purchasing him a real,
hand crafted arrow (They were really sharp!) and his interest level dropped
considerably. It was a fun afternoon yet the best part was this sign
posted at the entrance:


 Monkey thought this was unfair and worried about all the negative
people who don't know better and wouldn't get to visit the festival.
So sweet.






The ironic part was that the festival itself included an overall theme of suffering at the hands of the federal government. I know it happened and I cringe to call this out as having a poor attitude (Maybe that sounded negative. I swear I have Cherokee in my gene pool somewhere - does this give me a pass?).  I realise that people are still blaming the federal government for most everything - and I include myself as a sometime critic. Sadly, it's easier to complain about what "other" people are doing rather than to inject some positive energy into the mix.

This human trait applies to most areas of our life. Personally, I could find something wrong with just about anything. There. I said it. Or typed it. Unfortunately, I am not alone as most of us seem to have a default button stuck on negative. It's a personal choice to be a happy, positive person who looks for the benefits to any given situation. So - although I could have lived without seeing the Irish guy dressed in a loin cloth eating barbecue at a picnic table,  I just thought...good for you guy. You are willing to really put yourself out there and have a fun day playing dress up as an American Indian. He was a good example of what it means to live in the moment and not care about what other people are thinking. I think he must have read the sign.

Hermit Crabs


We visited a Connecticut beach last weekend and came home with an unexpected visitor - a Marine Hermit Crab. He had lots of cousins but they lucked out and got to stay behind. You can see how small they are in the picture above. Although against taking him/her from its natural habitat, I was outvoted. Nearly a week later and I am the only one still interested. Its the guilt - I need to keep him alive so that we can make the drive back to release him this coming weekend. It has to stay in sea water and so far I know that it is not groovy about anything other than tiny pieces of shrimp.

We are definitely not ready for a dog.