Thursday, December 30, 2010


Given the torrential downpours in the Caribbean and the heavy snow fall in the northern states, it is surprising how mild a winter we have had here in Central Mexico. Since I have been back it has been cloudy approximately twice while the majority of days are composed of flawless blue skies averaging 75 degrees. These stunners coalesce with what can only be described as a real-life planetarium at night, a rose colored sunset between them. Though this isn't my first winter in Pozos, last year was overcast and rainy for 2 months steady, something the locals proclaimed extremely unusual, so this is my first experience with the normal weather for the season. 

Because it has been about 5 weeks since it last rained, I have been noticing several roadside fires ignited by the friction of the dusty brown grass against the wiry brush. The flames ravish the land leaving only the high standing cactus alive while the rest of the previously beige landscape gives way to strikingly black earth giving the road from Pozos to San Miguel the feel of a patchwork quilt. As I drove home yesterday, ipod dead, and my sisters tired of speaking, I reflected on these natural fires. The prairie grass and dry leafless bushes were ready to be wiped out, simply waiting for the desert wind to ignite the burn. I find these fires have a somewhat spiritual significance and they resonate with me especially at the juncture in my life, as things haven't exactly been peachy in the last week.

To me, these fires represent a need for change, as I learned in my environmental english class at the University of Minnesota, fire is a source of renewal. A human who has been going through a rough patch could see them as a a wild means to an end, that end being letting go of the past and forging onward. The peaks of newly green grass sprouting up from the black earth is a reminder of the fresh starts evoked by letting issues of the past go up in smoke and eventually turn to the air we breathe in and exhale with out even a thought.

So as I drove I observed these strikingly green blades beginning their new journey and I began to feel oddly at peace with the events of the last week, month, year. It seemed only fitting that the fires were consuming the fields at years end, as if to say to those who will listen to the brilliance of nature "the year is over, make peace with it and let it burn."

Happy new year to all.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Doubt And Other Bad Feelings

Since before I left for Minnesota I have been feeling far away from my self. At my best I feel productive and creative, but for the last couple of months I have not had my usual sense of self assurance and I have been engaging in a lot of questioning of the purpose of my very existence. A few specific things are spurring this uneasy feeling forward:

1) I am 22 and living with my family, I contribute by helping and baking, but there are times when I feel completely useless, like I should be forging my way through the world at a much greater speed than I currently am.

2) Davis is back, and though I wake up and set an intention of peace and understanding, there is residual feelings of anger lurking ready to strike me whenever my eyes fall upon his face. This not helped by the family scuffle (that was Mom's word, mine would have been earth shattering blow out brawl) that ensued on Monday in which he called me a parasite, an unpleasant nickname inspired by my lack of my own residence, this coming from a man who lived with his mother until he was 35, but like I said, I'm working through it.

3) I want to write everyday and I haven't been. Aside from the times I sit down to write and am interrupted by Tallulah or a menial tasks, I just haven't maintained the motivation that originally prompted me to sit down and get it done. 

4) Until today, Tallulah has had a relentless diaper rash that has prohibited her from sleeping longer than 2 hours at any time of day or night, and has caused her to be fussy and squirmy. My sleeplessness has made it difficult to focus and has clouded my enthusiasm as I am chronically exhausted.

5) Davis got unjustly arrested on Thursday and was in jail for 24 hours. This turned Mom into an unrelenting cynic who is untrusting of everyone and wants to move out of Mexico as soon as possible. As someone who's significant other has been wrongfully locked up, I can sympathize with her present state of mind, but her extreme mental state has the entire family on edge and hasn't made for a very jolly holiday.

6) I don't know what to do about Keikai. I want very badly for him to be a part of Tallulah's life, but I'm not going to sacrifice mine to make that happen. Similar to the Davis situation, there is still a hint of resentment that I am having a hard time shaking. It makes me feel awful and dirty and I want to let it go, but again, it's going to take some time.

7) Chloe is going to Greece and although I am incredibly happy for her, I am also sad at the uncertainty of when I will see my baby sister again.

Those are the big things. I know everyone experiences these patches of self doubt at some stage in their life, and so I am prepared to obey my new tattoo and allow for the feelings this period of time is providing, one of those feelings being guilt for the 4 cookies I just devoured and one being immeasurable pride for as I sit here and write this, Tallulah is starting to crawl. She constantly reminds me of how adaptable humans were meant to be. Whenever the shit hits the fan, as it so often does around here, she is always seen smiling and giggling as all the other members of the family engage in screaming or fits of hysterics. Even through the discomfort her rash has caused her, she has mostly maintained her sweet, calm demeanor which is refreshing in a family that more often than not veers toward the dramatic rather than the rational side of things. In the end, I guess we are all doing our best, and that's all that matters. If we can wake up and be kind and helpful to the people we love, these phases of unsatisfactory auras will eventually be lifted and reveal what was there all along; wonderful people, and at the end of the day, the people are all that matter.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Air Head

When I was 7 my dad found me staring at 2 people talking 5 feet away, picking my nose, completely enthralled in their conversation and oblivious to the fact that I wasn't at a movie theatre, rather in the middle of Target making these strangers mildly uncomfortable. Such behavior has been a trademark of mine since I was wee, and has designated me the family space cadet. My 'head in the clouds' manner once spurred my dad to imitate me by stating "I'm sitting on a pie... what's the problem?" Though at the time I was embarrassed, I can laugh about it now, and understand why he and other members of my family are chronically frustrated with me.

The first sign that ones dear to me would ongoingly have to help me focus was when I was three. It was sweltering and I was waiting, not so patiently, to get back into the pool. Adult swim was a cruel and awful time that seemed to go on for hours as one lowly grown up waded back and forth through the otherwise still water. Beads of sweat were starting to form on my pale freckled face, I stared at the water, the same shocking blue as my eyes, anxious and thirsty. The lifeguard's scrawny figure slouched in his chair as I watched him bring the whistle to his lips. The abrupt shriek was followed by Open Swim! And I failed to contain my excitement. I ran and jumped in the water to feel it crashing not only around my waist as I was accustomed but over my shoulders and head. The sun shone through the water, moments later blocked by the lifeguard who stood to dive in after me. Mom was up from her lounge chair with a panicked expression on her face, my water wings lay on the chair next to her, the obnoxious orange screaming How could you forget me?

Another milestone of airheadedness was when I failed to put out the sterno from a buffet pan at my catering job. Though 18 years had passed since I first exhibited forgetfulness, I was still up to the same shenanigans. I later claimed to have tried to extinguish the blue flame while the truth was I forgot. I carelessly dumped it in the enormous garbage can and walked away only to be summoned back moments later when the room was filling with smoke and black bits of ashy trash. I stood there shell-shocked as one of my co-workers hurriedly poured the left over drink bucket on the fire only to see it soar from the drops of assorted alcohols inside.  It eventually died down and left a burnt odor that every new arrival  inquired about and was told of my err as I stood there quiet and blushing. 

Now, at 22, a mother of a 7 month old baby, I thought I was finished with these life threatening catastrophes... not so much. During a skype session a couple weeks ago I allowed Tallulah to bat a glass of water out of my hand and onto Mom's MacBook which hours later had a fried motherboard. You may be thinking That isn't life threatening, but believe you me, she wanted me beheaded. She thankfully found enough compassion to forgive me and kindly request that I pay more attention for the billionth time since I was born.

In between these isolated incidents there have been several accounts of parking lot fender benders, forgotten diapers, sending credit card numbers through email, and even bringing two left shoes to go out dancing causing me to salsa in my Nikes, and through it all I just thought it's who I am, but I am starting to see it doesn't have to be. Of course some may find it charming at first, but as one who is well used to it, it's downright irritating running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to find your retainer only to realize after your mom has emptied the trash into the kitchen sink that it is in your mouth. So here is what I propose, we all have traits that are less than desirable, and we can lay back and pawn the responsibility on habit or genetics or we can consciously make a change. It isn't easy, believe me, but it is worth working at, in my case, not only for my sanity but for the safety of others.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Seated at a round table in the middle of the restaurant, my dad to my left, Chloe on my right, and my aunt and cousins adjacent, I heard the familiar guitar of Green Day played gently over our conversation. I hope you had the time of your life... This song always reminds me of the video dad made of our childhood super 8 footage and generally spurs a sort of reflective state. As I sat there, surrounded by one side of my family and preparing for the return to the other half, I felt completely content. 

I mentally took flight from the table and returned to treasured moments the last month provided me; seeing how absolutely in love Danny and Mel are and witnessing their wedding vows, rekindling my beautiful bond with Amanda, fondue with my high school sweeties, Keikai breaking through the oddity of our arrangement and making me laugh like old times, watching football with Chloe and dad, reminiscing with Meredith, Emily, and Laurel about our old shenanigans, reuniting with Megan and seeing how beautifully happy and gifted she is, and seeing all of my college friends succeeding and moving through the world with incredible velocity. I did have the time of my life I thought, and I am thankful for all of it, the good and the bad. 

When faced with leaving Mexico a month ago, I was scared and unsure, hesitant to leave the tranquil wild west to return to my old stomping grounds. Now, 1 day away from traveling back to my new home, I couldn't be happier. Though this month flew by, I accomplished everything I set out to do. I laughed, cried, worked, and laughed some more. I baked 5 pies for Thanksgiving. I had several giggle-filled days with Amanda, Ophelia, and Aaron. I spent almost every second with my beautiful baby sister whom I love more than words can describe. Before I came back, the space between Pozos and Minnesota seemed like a gaping hole of nothingness that I was attempting to cross as safely as possible. After a month here, I feel that the pathway is paved with connections from me to them, them to me. Loving phonecalls, emails, energy and thoughts being transmitted through the miles of separation. So as I gaze out my frosted window at the leafless trees black against the colored streaks of the early morning sky, I see love. Passages of mine and other peoples love strewn through the sky, illuminating it with shades of salmon and baby blue. The stark maples and oaks sprawling branches reminding of my roots and my journey. 

This Thanksgiving I am grateful with every fiber of my being for my extraordinary family and friends. Happy holidays everyone, I love you all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Short Trip

Well, it's 10:30 now do you want to go to 11:00 mass?
I don't know, maybe I'll read the paper first.
We heard them converse as we walked the long hallway to the elevators.
I'm just going to stay here until they turn the corner.
My 94 year old great grandma waved one last time.

A day earlier we arrived in Atlanta, 2 hours later than scheduled due to the heavy snow in Minneapolis, our nerves shot from the constant whimpering of a teething baby on an airplane. After about a mile long jaunt through the airport I was greeted by my great aunt who held my shoulders and told me that I "did turn out to be quite pretty actually." My great grandmother stared at me in disbelief, marveling at how much my appearance had changed since our last rendezvous. She turned to me, completely unconcerned with the hasty photo shoot, and asked to hold Tallulah.

Grandpa made a game of guessing which one of us was which and consistently referred to Tallulah as a boy. He made several jokes about chasing women while Grandma rolled her eyes. I was comforted to see how little they had changed since I saw them last. The oldest people occupying their assisted living center, they weren't doing half bad. Though their recurring miscommunications due to their resistance to hearing aids supplied us with many laughs, other than Grandma's use of a walker and Grandpa's missing teeth, they are as healthy and sharp as ever. Grandma was even sharp enough to drop several not so subtle hints that she wished I was with Keikai.

After eating breakfast at Waffle House on Sunday morning, we returned to the nursing home to see their apartment. The bright and humid space was filled with pictures of the Cassone family, many taken years ago. As Uncle Philip carefully photographed each one and explained who was in them, Grandma stood by oscillating her attention between the baby and the pictures of times past and I could see salty water glossing over her big blue eyes. No one wanted to say what we were all thinking as we exchanged our parting words; that this was probably the last time we would see each other. Grandma's hug was surprisingly strong and tight and renewed my faith in another meeting.

Our time together was brief, but it was worth every minute. To see Tallulah sitting happily in her great great grandmother's lap was wonderful beyond words. Though I resisted the trip at first, seeing it as an inconvenience, it was truly a great reminder of what I believe to be the purpose of life; spending what little time we have here with the people we love. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First Meeting

I ordered tea that I didn't taste until after he left and stood near the doorway of Starbucks, across the street from the apartment where we shared our first kiss, waiting for him to arrive. I felt a familiar sensation similar to waiting in the wings of theater for a queue to enter the stage, but with more uncertainty and less enthusiasm. I saw him approach, his thin body walking briskly across the street toward me, I looked down. The mere shell of the man who waved to me from the back of a van 7 months ago, his face looked gaunt, tired, but most of all sad. 

He held out his hands to hold the daughter he was meeting for the first time and she, the baby who is still only when in a deep slumber, embraced him pressing her cheek to his and held herself without movement for many minutes. When she pulled away, it was only to examine the face that belonged to the voice she had heard so many times through the walls of my uterus. She placed her chubby hands on each side of his concave face and smiled sweetly as her papa welled up with tears. 

An attempt to make small talk fell flat quickly. There is too much between us to utilize normal pleasantries. His large yellow eyes were pleading with me to offer some inkling of a continued relationship as we exchanged useless bits of information. After about thirty minutes, he left abruptly, giving the sense that the situation had made him more than a little uncomfortable. He kissed his baby girl somberly and requested my right hand, which I supplied to have him press it to his cheek, his large brown hand covering my small pale one. He kissed my palm like he had on our first date and after many a fight throughout our 2 years together, then he got up and left the coffee shop. I didn't watch him walk away. 

The first thing I felt was relief swiftly followed by the crashing of the anticipation of the moments that had just passed, the feelings that were hovering above me like a mobile rain cloud, and I started to cry. So few words had been exchanged but so much said. He gave me a small silver stone with the word hope inscribed on it, though I felt maybe I should have given it to him. His frail figure and haggard face looked like life had worn on them since we parted making me think he needed hope more than I did. 

With tears welling in my eyes I looked around at the other patrons of the coffee shop working on their laptops or sharing pleasant conversation and realized that they were completely oblivious to what they had just witnessed. I picked a busy place, hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, but knowing I couldn't possibly anticipate what would take place. The quiet exchange and heartbreakingly darling silence between Tallulah and Keikai had no effect on the people around us which was oddly comforting in my shaken state of mind. It made me realize that the world is full of mothers and fathers and daughters with complicated circumstances, that I wasn't the only one. Though participating in a long-distance pseudo friendship with the father of my child who only just met his baby after she lived 5 months with out him seems like a less than desirable situation, not everything we experience in our lifetime has to be simple to be great, and we are seldom alone.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Throughout my life, home has become quite a fluid concept for me. In my 22 short years, I have lived in 9 different houses and, being a product of divorced parents, have become hardened to splitting my time between households, having to adapt every 2 weeks to calling a different place home. I recall upon each place with great nostalgia, remembrance of the upset it caused me each time mom declared we were moving, and the deep sadness I felt when we parted with 7 beeebe, the house I spent most of my formative years in. I always felt extremely attached to the place, only now, as I prepare to board a plane back to the city I grew up in, am I seeing that it was never about the place, it was about the people in it. 

I spent yesterday trying to soak up every last ounce of Casa Montana, becoming saddened as each minute passed that I was leaving my present home, with all of it's quirks and comforts, behind. In my state of slight self indulgence, I failed to acknowledge the real reason for my angst, that I would soon be leaving my people, the people who define my reality and who I love so much. I spent so much of the day saying silent farewells to the structure that would be only a piece of architecture if it weren't for the family occupying it, and it was only in the middle of the night that I realized the ridiculousness of how I spent the last 12 hours. 

In a perfect world, I would have every person I love in this wonderful place with me, but I believe that this tearing between worlds is yet another lesson provided for me. I have never been one crazy about change. Even if my day plan varies slightly form what I had previously set out, it takes me a while to adjust and get over the unwanted blemish in my carefully programmed schedule. Now, being plucked from Pozos where the most eventful part of each week is delivering scones to San Miguel and being tossed back into the chaos of city life, I will be pushed to put my attempts at becoming more adaptable to the test. Yes, I will miss my Mexico clan terribly, but it does me better to focus on all of the lovely people I get to reunite with while in my hometown, because that is what it is all about, the reason for my travel in the first place, to spend time with with friends and family who I care for deeply.

They say home is where the heart is, my heart resides in several different locations, between paying homage to days past and manifesting the future, which is perhaps why I feel this bittersweet dichotomy when confronted with traveling between them. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


As my trip to the US approaches, I am forced to confront my nearly crippling fear of flying. I have had butterflies not so pleasantly fluttering around my stomach for the last week, gaining velocity each day my flight nears. I was talking to Ian last night about the matter and he confirmed my suspicion that he is indeed a person who enjoys flying. He confessed to me that every time the plane is about to land, as the wheels have dropped and the aircraft hovers feet above the runway, he feels a sense of fulfillment, that if anything were to happen at that point in time, he would be alright with it.

This is a comforting thought, and one I have thought on many occasions, but being on an airplane, in transit between my 2 worlds, I can't say I would be at peace with dying. Leaving mom, nana, Bronte, and Tyler behind in our castle-like abode in Mexico to venture back to my hometown to visit dad and Chloe, I still have a lot of living to do and I don't feel complete without either of these groups. My fear is gravely escalated compared to previous trips and I believe this is this reason. Being without my baby sister, the one I shared a room with most of my life, the one who's hair I pulled out and clothes I threw in the toilet in the midst of sibling rage, the one who loves to lay on me and snuggle to no end, is a dull ache, not a sharp stabbing pain, but an off feeling that hazes my days. Even when things are wonderful, there is always a Chloe-shaped hole that when filled, makes it perfect. And to be without mom, who, after years of denying it, I have finally admitted my bond with, would be awful. 

When I think of my trip, I am filled with a mixture of excitement and sadness that I have to leave half of my family to honor the other half. It is a difficult feeling that only living in Mexico for a year has forced me to acknowledge. My troupe here are such an integrated part of my daily life that being without them for a month is going to feel odd for certain. On the other hand, I am thrilled to renew old bonds and spend time with people I seldom see. When I think of the concept of accepting my plane going up in flames, I know it is necessary, but I resist it because I simply don't feel that I've had enough time with the people I love, but perhaps I never will.

Monday, October 18, 2010

On Breast Feeding

As my trip home approaches, I have been wondering about nursing Tallulah. In Mexico, people are pretty relaxed about breast feeding, given that there are babies everywhere you turn and the fact that the culture is much more laid back in general. When I first had Tallulah, I was extremely shy and would retreat from public places to the car to ensure that surrounding strangers didn't see snippets of my boob. As time went on I would use a blanket to cover me or move to a more secluded area, but now I simply don't care. 

Talking with Chloe and dad the other day, dad expressed his belief that I shouldn't feed my daughter in front of certain people in our family or at my cousin's upcoming wedding. While my immediate reaction was to get defensive about the matter, after more thought I realized that in a conservative Jewish family setting, whipping my breast out might elicit some harsh reactions. So I can see where he is coming from but I still believe that it is my right as a mother to feed the munchkin when and where I see fit. Plus, is there anything in the world more natural than an infant's dependancy on it's mother's food source?

I decided that the level of appropriateness you place on public nursing is directly connected to how you view breasts. A straight man may be uncomfortable with the sight because he has been accustomed to thinking of breasts as sexual objects. I think this is the reason for my initial discomfort with nursing in social settings, because my mindset had always been that breasts were private parts not to be revealed to the general public. But given time and experience I began to value Tallulah's need for food more than proprietous behavior and have begun to see them less as seductive entities and more as practically useful objects.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Eat to live don't live to eat.
-Yogi B

Food is the most primitive form of comfort.
-Sheilah Graham

I was never a picky eater, I was the kid who was willing to try anything. From a young age I have had an insatiable appetite for fine flavors. Never a fan of excess as far as drugs or alcohol, food has been my vice. If ever in a tough situation or pushed beyond my limits, I crave chocolate cake, mashed potatoes, and spaghetti the way a smoker might want for a cigarette. Because of this, my weight has fluctuated in my years since puberty as has my outlook on diet. For years I went without eating anything with wheat flour due to my grumpy great grandmothers question "do you eat a lot?" And her comment when I affirmed her suspicion "I can tell." The whole time I was avoiding breads, pastries, and cookies I was idolizing them, wishing terribly that I could simply devour an entire bakery. Then, after a disappointing dance competition, I decided that, in addition to processed wheat, I would cut out potatoes. At this point I became truly obsessed with my weight. Taking my dance coach's advise to jumprope everyday, I lost 10 ponds and was always hungry. I would binge on the weekends and starve myself during the week, such was my diet plan throughout my high school experience. I used food to check out from reality, similar to how a pot head uses marijuana. I recall several times, eating entire family sized bags of potato chips or cartons of ice cream, not because I was enormously hungry but because I was craving contentment or escape. 

(pictured above are delectable raw flax crackers!)

Since having Tallulah, I have been forced to evaluate these eating habits on a daily basis. One reason for this is my desire to lose the whopping 60 pounds I gained while gestating (which I have successfully done by the way!) but another is that when you have a newborn child requiring your attention, it is nearly impossible to take leave from reality, even in your sleep. While I was accustomed to shoveling food into my mouth until I reached bloated happiness often prompting remarks such as "breathe, Tara"
or "She's eating like she's never seen food before!" I am now used to having to leave the table several times during a meal either to feed, rock, or change my daughter's diaper. Through this process I have found that I don't need to eat as much to reach satisfaction. I often return to my meal after my brief hiatus to find that I am no longer as hungry as I thought I was. It has started me thinking on the rules of the Yogis stating that when one completes a meal their stomach should be full of 1/3 food, 1/3 liquid and 1/3 air.

However, knowing these facts and applying them are two drastically different things. As it turns out, my admiration of food would serve as my wake up call. A month ago I made the grave mistake of ordering delicious looking tacos from the street vendor across the street. A week later I was doubled over vomiting for an entire day with a fever and severe stomach pains. A couple weeks after that I woke in the middle of the night to an unsettling pain in my lower left abdomen. When I awoke the next morning the pain hadn't ceased like I thought it would rather it had become worse, making it hard to walk. For a week a battled with this pain, hobbling around like an elderly woman to avoid using my the muscles that stretch over this inflamed organ. After numerous hysterical breakdowns (something that I discovered through research are a symptom of my condition) and extensive internet investigation, I found that I most likely have a parasite. My chronic tiredness, abdominal pain, recent onset of allergies, and crankiness are all a symptom of numerous parasite infections. Though antibiotics are one way of treating intestinal bugs, they are only 70% effective, I wouldn't be able to nurse, and they double the likely-hood of susceptibility to parasites in the future. The best and most natural way to eliminate the infestation is to eat a high fiber diet devoid of bread, sugar, dairy, and fat. Imagine my pleasure in receiving this information. 

In my cleansing period I am beginning to see food as it should be seen, a means of nourishment, something to provide my body with nutrition rather than my brain with feel-good chemicals. I have been pushed to examine my hunger, to question whether I am really hungry or just bored, because overeating is also a culprit in spurring my symptoms onward. I have been prompting myself to put things into my body that lend the most use to my well-being rather than giving into innate cravings.  This has been very difficult but it is the first time in my life that my health has depended on completely conscious food decisions. Along with my success in weight loss, I have put to rest my long-standing battle with unclear skin as well as the everyday sniffles I have always been known for. I have now added to my spiritual growth the letting go of my attachment to food, and it feels good.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Though this is a topic I have covered in the past, I feel that the more life experience I gain, the more my perspective on the matter changes. It's a concept that is easy to explain and extremely difficult to achieve. Having faith that an illness can be cured if you trust your intuition, that the currency spent will be replenished, that even though at times all the forces of the universe seem to be pushing against you, you will persevere and likely become a stronger person for having endured them. 

For me, a woman who has scarcely been sick my entire life, having this newly developed stomach ailment for an extended period of time has been massively disruptive not only to my physical body but to my mind. Because I am nursing, I cannot take antibiotics and because I am trekking on a new spiritual path I have my doubts about going to the doctor in the first place. Now, on a steady diet of bentonite clay, raw garlic, pineapple, raw veggies and grains, and a plethora of dietary supplements, I am forced to discover that healing is a process that requires, over all of it, trust.

When mom and nana bought Casa Montana, they were hardly prepared for the heap of complications that came with it, and given their extensive experience with renovating, that is saying something. Along with adjusting to the Mexican construction customs and allowing for over a year of 9 hour days, there is also the necessity of confidence that the money put into the project will come back, something that is an ongoing undertaking, though less tangible, as large as the overhaul itself. Though many fights have been elicited by this subject, the overriding message is to remain faithful and discard the negative reel of monkey chatter convincing us that prosperity is out of reach.

Though it is definitely simpler to preach the power of trust when existence is peachy, what makes us solid is sticking with it when tried by life's lessons. As someone who is a perpetual worry-wart, it has taken all of my strength to breathe and focus on my progress rather than my disturbing symptoms, because the alternative is ruminating on misery which is certainly unproductive. As the Law of Attraction often states "focus on the good feeling thought" as thought is what drives the universe into action. So I picture myself in good health, envision wealth and abundance, and manifest happiness and when I reach that vibration of gratitude and well-being, trust is simply inevitable.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Love means never to say that you're sorry.
-Beres Hammond

As I mentioned in my previous blog,  on a beautiful autumn evening a couple of weeks ago we had a family brawl. It was ugly and brutal and brought out colors in us that are reserved for the most unfortunate arguments. It took place at the end of the evening when were supposed to be settling into bed which made the situation much worse as we all woke the next morning tired and cranky with the hazy and unsettling memory of the harsh words exchanged the previous night. We regarded each other with tension as we waited for the storm to pass, but the incompletion was eating away at us all in our separate ways. Come mid afternoon, after we had all attempted to move through our daily tasks without mention of the fight, Nana, the instigator, pulled us all into the kitchen, and with humility and reserve, two qualities we rarely see in tenacious, the strong-willed matriarch, apologized for her behavior.
(The photo above is one mom spontaneously shot as a memento of nana's repentance)

The whole scenario, from the unspeakable quarrel to the heartfelt words of regret, have started me thinking on sorry. Part of my journey in Mexico has been learning to apologize when I am wrong, but also to be conscious in the moment so as to avoid the hurtful behavior altogether thus preventing the uttering of regrets. Since the scene that spurred my many thoughts on asking forgiveness, Davis has declared, with little warning, that he is to return in 3 weeks.  This has brought to the surface many feelings of anger and neglect from the past, and I have spent the last 24 hours ruminating on how exactly to deal with this sudden reshaping of my immediate plans. The children love and miss their father, and despite the many instances in which he used his animosity as a weapon against her, mom feels the same.

As far as Davis is concerned, the subject of apologies has come up more times than I care to recount. Sorry can only go so far when it comes to wounding someone time and time again. Though there are always times when genuine people use this word to resolve sporadic issues, there are also people who abuse it to the point that it becomes a nearly meaningless gesture. I feel that sorry should be used in moderation in instances where consideration has been left behind rather than a fall back plan for incessantly indecent conduct.

Though it will be difficult for me to come to terms with living with the man who abruptly left us months ago, it will just be another stepping stone toward learning to live with grace. While I can't control his choices, I can be the master of my own and allow for him as I am aspiring to do with my other loved ones. I write this as a reminder to myself of something that I read months ago, something to the effect of when given a choice to be right or be kind, always choose to be kind. While sometimes this may mean abandoning your pride and stepping forth with your tail between your legs, it most often means to act righteously, to admonish reasons to apologize by opting to goodness now, rather than expressing remorse later.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


The world is too complex for linear analytic thinking now. To be smart in the global village means thinking with your stomach, thinking rhythmically, thinking organically, thinking in terms of yourself as an interwoven piece of nature.
- Jean Houston (quote extracted from The Cultural Creatives)

Gold will be slave or master. 'Tis more fit that it be led by us than we be led by it.

Last night, as I was anticipating settling in to bed next to my cuddly little munchkin, a family brawl ensued. The subject: money. A recurring discussion between mom and nana from and old school perspective to a new age mind set. Mom presented points that as the world market collapses, real estate and gold are our best options for preserving wealth, that hoarding money just for the sake of having it is an interesting way to live, and that ventures that are based out of a desire to make money can't stand up to projects based out of passion and innovative thinking. Not to mention, focusing on the lack of anything, money in particular, is no way to spend your days. Though I can understand where nana's belief system is based given her age and upbringing, I feel strongly that it is time for a shift. 

While dad was here we had many a conversation about him choosing a new career path, one that involves him actually enjoying what he does. He and I would get hyped about all of the possibilities until the issue of how came into the picture. I was reminded of a Law of Attraction passage that I read months ago stating that if you simply focus on the good feeling prospect unwaveringly it will inevitably become a reality, it is when you focus on the logistics of a situation that you get stuck in thinking it will be too difficult/costly/time consuming and the fire that was originally present at the base of thought dwindles into ash.

About a week ago, I was deep in the midst of working on the store, when mom came in and said "let's go." I whined back, not really wanting to leave in the middle of my task. She of course went into a spiel about how she thought it would be quite beneficial for me to see the property she was taking me to and as always, she was right. Las Barancas is a collection of homes and casitas owned by various people who mostly use them as vacation dwellings. Two of the only full-time residents, Dar and Cynthia, planted a lavender farm there which Dar stated began as a quest to have a beautiful front yard and evolved to a 7,500 plant endeavor. They harvest 4 different types of lavender which stand in vast curvy lines throughout their property, and let me tell you, to view these savory purple plants blowing in the dry wind, the resplendent mountains guarding them from every angle, is a beauty unlike anything I've ever seen. Dar, perhaps one of the only people I've met who can nearly match my mom's level of industriousness and vision, told us of all the undertakings she has on her horizon, and we had a lovely afternoon exchanging ideas of the future of our minute ghost town. I left there feeling refreshed and inspired from having indulged in an afternoon with like-minded people. I gained even more faith that if one is fervent about their vocation, abundance will guide them through. That creating with the use of intuition and inventive wiles will bring sustainable forms of income as opposed to the limited means of the money-hungry thinker.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


It's my party, I can cry if I want to.
- Lesley Gore

Birthdays have always been a funny thing for me. It was as if I was expecting everything and nothing ever went according to the extravagant plan in my head. I was incessantly wishing for somebody to love and imagining that on this one of 365 days, I would be happy, that the stars would align and everything I wished for would come true. It never quite worked out that way. 

On my sweet sixteen I ate lunch in the hallway of my new high school by myself because my only friend (who wasn't really a friend, just someone to insure company at lunchtime) had an Amnesty International meeting. My mom sent me an enormous bouquet of flowers which, although a nice gesture, only enhanced my awkwardness as I sheepishly walked the still unfamiliar halls. 

On my eighteenth birthday my friends threw me a party in which my 3 best friends were some of the only people I knew. As one of my acquaintances quieted the room for a birthday toast I started to blush only to find that it was directed at someone named Paul. Tired from work and toting a freshly broken heart, I simply didn't have the energy to announce that it was also my day. I went outside to get some air, where my friends who knew me all too well followed and saw the tears well in my eyes. As far as I was concerned there was only one person I wanted to receive a Happy Birthday from and we all knew that wasn't going to happen. I was too embarrassed to tell my friends this was the reason for my sadness but they all knew it anyway. 

The evening preceding my 21st birthday, Keikai locked himself in the bathroom with all of his possessions threatening to leave. I laid in bed and cried, watching The Office to distract myself from the pain. I was probably a few days pregnant. When I awoke, I had an uncomfortable guitar lesson, fought with mom all day and made my own cheesecake which I couldn't eat until the next day. "It's my birthday." I said to Tyler. He said "I know" and walked away. Nana forgot the significance of the day altogether. I cried myself to sleep.

The birthdays before and in between the aforementioned ones were the same, yet less dramatic variations on the residing theme; my birthdays suck. Somehow from one to the next I always seemed to forget the agony of crushed anticipation and come the 15th I would experience the same disheartenment year after year. This year however, in my new phase of enlightenment, I reminded myself to live in the moment. I implicated a mantra that this was simply another day in the grand scheme of my wonderful life. I woke up this morning, happy to be alive and feeling fortunate for all I have. I wasn't expecting a letter from the Queen or a private concert from John Legend (how great would that be????) rather just to spend this 22nd anniversary of my birth with the people I love. I awoke to a plethora of celebratory emails. I opened my window to have my baby brother scream Happy Birthday and offer me my "morning squeeze," something which he so often avoids. I baked all day and I had dinner with my dear family. I would venture to say that it was my best birthday ever, not because I went on a huge shopping spree or ate at an expensive restaurant, but because at this stage in my life I have faith that the life I live is great and it's only going to get better. I have justification to celebrate, not just on the 15th day of September, but on the other 364 as well.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


A couple of weeks ago I walked toward my room and heard the unmistakable sound of mom's voice, loud and clear, singing to Tallulah. As she rocked my baby to sleep she sang the words I have heard so many times throughout my life, the hymn she lulled me with in my formative years. Though I was never taken to church, I knew the words by heart, but they never resonated so strongly with me than as I stood there with 2 of the most important people in my life absorbing their true meaning for the first time.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see.

I started to well up as bits of my life came before my teary eyes. It was these moments of unexpected tenderness that made me truly appreciate every facet of my existence.  


A year ago, Keikai woke me up wheezing. He declared that he was going to quit smoking at 2 am but come 7, he was beside himself with anger. He refused to leave our bed. Feeling helpless as I often did when I cam up against such unwarranted hostility, I left the house to walk up the familiar mountain alone, frustration searing through me. As I walked, I waited for it to dissipate, but with every stride I became increasingly upset. The sky was blue and the weather was superb and all I could think of was why my beloved treated me with such disrespect, and a few days before my birthday no less. Upon returning to the house, Fernando, mom's assistant, told me in his broken English that Keikai left. Perfect, I thought. Yet another instance of him abandoning me with my angst for untold periods of time. I retreated to my room to attempt to tame the dragon inside of me.

I laid in bed staring at the ceiling. Keikai returned, but my eyes stayed fixed on the dark wooden beams, determined to ignore him. He walked past me and set something on my desk and looked at me. My curiosity got the better of me and I glanced over to the left to see a un-potted rose bush sitting in front of my framed picture of Marilyn Monroe and Keikai grinning smugly. The red rose stared at me as my expression changed from deeply unsettled to delighted surprise. Keikai walked over and kissed my cheek, his shirt stunk of cigarettes


I just finished watching The Duchess, a visually stunning film with a less then uplifting story line.  Yet another tale of an oppressed woman who was forced to make heartbreakingly difficult decisions due to the tenacity of old patriarchal laws. Though I was filled with remorse at the struggles she endured, it made me feel immensely grateful for my own freedom. Freedom not only from the year and a half long relationship that my denial kept alive much longer than should have, but from my former self as well. Freedom to forgive Keikai for telling me he hoped that I lost the baby because I wasn't ready to be a mother because I will never forget the way those words stung my heart and they propel me to make a better life not only for me but for my daughter. My current state of mind has pushed me to favor my revery of the new love of my life rather than my bitterness toward past events. As this 7 year cycle draws to an end I am finally ready to absolve the instances of hurt I experienced and inflicted.

The rose bush remains, healthier and more beautiful than the day it came into my life, though I can't say the same for my relationship. It seems to be a metaphor for our time together, beautiful with inescapable thorns. Spikes that if ignored, could cause more harm than good. Though when Keikai first left, I couldn't help but scowl every time I walked past it, I can now see the rose for what it is, a beautiful flower. It took a while for my resentment to resolve, but I can view it as a reminder of our good times and a warning to stay strong, and I plan to. My daughter is absolutely the light of my life, and as I witnessed the Duchess give up her child in honor of the lives of her other 4, I felt her pain as only a woman who has given birth could. I sing Amazing Grace to Lulah every night as her eyelids waver in strength until they give in entirely, and I truly feel the words. She grips my finger and stares into my eyes until she submits to sleep and I do feel like I have been saved.  

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Breaking The Cycle

"Nothing is as solid as it appears," he said. "Most of the obstacles we face in life are only illusions and can be dissipated just like I punched a hole in that cloud. That's why it is important to use your mind. Once you know how to do this, nothing will ever stop you. Life is very different when you use your mind's unlimited potential."
-excerpt from Walking Through Walls by Philip Smith

On May 6th, 1936 My great grandmother, Doris, married Michael Cassone. Both immigrants to the U.S. (Doris from Holland and Michael from Italy) they raised a family of 2 girls and 1 boy. Michael, who I know as a quirky old man who carries an envelope of blonde jokes in his pocket at all times, loves to talk about money, and incessantly points at everyone to emphasize his point, has been and, though softened a little by his senescence, continues to be an overbearing and controlling husband and father.

On February 14th, 1959, Michael's daughter, Diane, wed Keith Johnson. 17, and pregnant, Diane married this handsome and charismatic man out of social obligation. They raised 3 children and traveled around the country living in California, New Jersey, Georgia, Michigan, and Minnesota. After 19 years of living with an abrasive alcoholic, Diane called it quits. With little money or resources other than her astounding creativity and artistic ability, she went to school for graphic design, enrolled in Alanon, and eventually started a successful clothing company with her only daughter.

Kelly, Diane's first born, married Jim, had 2 children and divorced 6 years later due to there differing opinions on life. On the brink of starting her new solitary existence in a funky apartment in St. Paul, Kelly met Davis on a tropical vacation. His charming smile and raspy voice won her over as he said to her on their second date: "We're gonna get married, have 1 boy and 1 girl and live happily ever after." On April 20th, 1995, Kelly and Davis eloped in a courthouse in Barbados. They had Bronte on March 30th, 1997 and Tyler on July 4th, 2000. As for the happily ever after...though still married, they are currently living in different countries as Davis's 15 year long chain of threats to leave my mother finally came to fruition. Mom keeps him at a distance emotionally, as her life long fear of being alone melts away and she finds peace in her man-free existence.

On June 4th, 2010, I brought a child in to the world co-created by a hopelessly sweet man with several demons, a couple of them being drugs and alcohol. He left me April of this year and despite his efforts to maintain a front of loving behavior, I simply can't see myself going back. Lately I have been having terrible flashbacks to the wide array of disrespectful and disheartening words he spat my way, and I find myself welling up with anger, not only at him, but at myself. I am angry that I allowed myself to become part of this sequence of women choosing men that don't treat them right. That despite the hundreds of times Chloe said "You and Keikai are exactly like mom and Davis," I still didn't reconsider. Angry that after every time he called me a bitch, a word that never ceased to shoot knives in to my soul, I didn't break it off. Even though in hindsight I would have done things much differently, I have the most perfect baby girl as a result of our relationship, so I can't complain. The way in which I can alter the rhythm set by the women who preceded me is to act with grace, to do the hard but right thing and allow Tallulah to know her father, despite my judgements of him. 

 A few years ago when we took my great grandparents to Barbados for a vacation, after witnessing how Michael treated her, mom urged Doris to leave his aggression behind. She saw the validity in the argument, and cried, something that I had never witnessed her do. In the end, she decided that it was her duty to remain faithful to the man she married and see out the future, whatever it may hold. Doris and Michael are still married, living in an assisted living center in Atlanta. Nana and mom are both living without men, and I have been fortunate to watch their journey's unfold and learn from their developed wisdom. Having just welcomed our 5th generation of woman to the family, I know that if I am able to brush this chip off my shoulder and continue heading in my current direction, Tallulah will have a fresh start, a perception not jaded by witnessing hurtful words and difficult separations, rather an awareness of endless love and opportunity.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Stop thinking in terms of limitations and start thinking in terms of possibilities.
-Terry Josephson

The other day Bronte got mad at me for not listening to her, as she often does when I get lost in thought. I was completely absorbed in watching the table adjacent to ours, seating four elderly people shakily forking food into their mouths, speaking slowly and with decorum. Something about them was mesmerizing to me and I started to picture myself at that age which, in the past conjured feelings of fear, but in the middle of this sunny restaurant, made me feel calm and content. As I was gazing at them, one of the women looked up at me and her eyes fell on Tallulah. She smiled and I could see her contemplating this fresh, new life in the same way that I was reflecting on her senility.

This surreal experience started me thinking on the passage of time. As I have stated before, when I picture myself a year ago, my goals, my desires, and my general outlook on life, I simply can't believe where I am now. When I told people I was dropping out of college in my fourth year and moving to Mexico on a whim, so many advised me that I was ruining my life. A couple months later when I told them I was pregnant, if they hadn't already given up on my future, having a child out of wedlock pretty much sealed the deal. At the time even I could relate to them and wondered every day if I had made the right decision.  As it turns out, my life is more promising than it has ever been, it seems all my confused self needed was some time; time in the mountains, time away from Keikai, and time spent with my family.

Time allows us to heal from wounds both physical and spiritual. Take our new dog, Bubbles/Mimi/Noodle (depending on who you ask), who we found when she was only a few weeks old starving to death, trembling from nerves, and being devoured by mites. Three months later, her coat is shining and she is happy, healthy and sweet as can be. Time brings about change and allows for growth. Five months ago I was a woman who was convinced she would never overcome the heartbreak of her boyfriend and father of her then unborn child, leaving. What I realize now is that he gave me the gifts of time and space to develop my sense of self; I feel strong and free.

In this age of plastic surgery, cryogenic freezing, and anti-aging products, it seems not only do we not value time but we are attempting to defy it. Wouldn't our energy be better spent enjoying our experience here than striving to be forever young? The passage of time is something to celebrate not be ashamed of, for the more time passes, the more we experience and consequently learn. Every wrinkle that appears is the result of an expression. It is as if each "dreaded" line is a footprint in the sand of our lives, having left the mark of innumerable smiles and furrowed brows. I see these folds in the skin as glorious exhibitions of the lives we have lived and our continuing journey. 

Expressions such as What a difference a day makes and Just give it some time exemplify exactly what I am saying. My concept of the ticking clock has vastly changed in the last year, as in pregnancy everyday felt like a year and in motherhood days race by leaving precious minutes of silence and stillness. And as I reflect back on my life until now, the last year in particular, I can confidently say that everything we encounter in our finite bodies has a place in the infinite path of our souls, and with each passing second opportunities arise. So, today, exactly a month before my twenty second birthday, I look forward to the years to come not worried about sickness or saggy skin, but with exuberance and a thirst for life. Because, though the last year has been trying, it has opened my eyes to how much life can alter in 365 days, and, as I age, I am committed to making every impending year even more remarkable than the last.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Kindness, mercy, and forgiveness should be your practice. The man who does this will not have to find God, for God will find him.
Yogi B

Today, as mom and I walked up the gravel road at the base of one of the many mountains we are surrounded by, the sun illuminating every pebble and the vast blue sky cradling us on all sides, I felt tremendously happy... and hot. We trekked up the slight incline and discussed our newest creative venture. It was in the middle of our conversation that I noticed a sheep herder smacking his sheep with a jagged stick and throwing rocks at them to encourage movement. The juxtaposition of the wonderfully gorgeous scenery to this man treating these gentle creatures in such a heinous manner evoked a shocked silence in both of us. 

When we commenced talking once again the tone was different and dialogue morphed to an ever sensitive and tragic subject, my mom's brother, Eric. Mom's youngest brother, the boy she treasured and helped raise, took his own life in his first year of college. My mom told me how she jetted off to Europe after it happened, needing solace and time alone. While in Italy a decrepit old man would scratch on her hotel door every night offering his affection. She said that after the man ceased and she drifted back to sleep, she would always see Eric, assuring her that he was OK and she was the same. As our feet carried us further up the toward the mountain she described her days in the week following her sudden voyage to Europe. She walked through Ravenna, Italy, alone knowing that being a blonde in Italy is comparable to being live bait, but she didn't care. Her apathy, she told me, was due to her extreme sadness. Then, her voice breaking as it inevitably does when we talk about her beloved lost brother, she told me she would invariably end up at a place of worship, sit down, and cry.

Though I can't imagine the pain of losing a sibling, I can relate to her feelings that sometimes the the events of this world simply don't make sense. As she talked about how sweet and hilarious her brother was and how great a deficit is left by his absence, I couldn't help but think of Joe. Yet another soul that left a mark on so many and left us before his time. Joe was victim of a hideous crime and died a little more than 2 years ago. Not a day goes by that I don't think about him and the effect he had on my life, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Though I am struck with a pang of sadness every time I picture his face or remember his ever infectious laugh, I know I am fortunate to have had such a hilarious, kind, and creative person in my experience.

Enveloped by the sky and feeling my feet's steady imprints in the desert dirt, I ruminated on violence. Violence towards oneself, another human, or animals, each one provoking heartache. A year ago I kicked my brother in the stomach for throwing a basketball at my nose. His expression as he fell to the ground waling in pain is imprinted on my brain. He will remember it forever and no amount of apologizing can take it back. Though my path of introspection didn't start immediately after this event, I do believe that in that moment I began to change. I was disgusted with how I surrendered myself to feelings of anger and harmed the little boy I love so much. So here I am a year later reflecting on the violence of the past and seeing how severely it effects the present. Never have I been more convinced that our actions, our words, and our behavior must reflect the highest degree of grace and love and, if we are lucky, our benevolence can leave the same impact as the brilliant beings who have passed through our lives and away. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finding Something in Everything

About a month ago, when I woke up to feed Tallulah, I had a vision; Lemons. Though I was tempted to dismiss this peculiar apparition, the brightly colored fruits continued to roll through my mind. As Tallulah ate to her hearts content, I began to ruminate on the significance of this thought. I started thinking on the expression When life gives you lemons... and after discussing the concept with mom, decided that the name for our website should be Well, that URL would have cost us $100,000 so we continued to rack our brains. It was only after an intense meditation session that I opened my eyes and said Lovely Lemons. Not only was this site name available for the economical cost of $10, it was even more fabulous than the first title and even more connected to the message we mean to convey. Since that day I have been striving to notice every one of life's nuances I can, and follow the universe's dispatches of meaning.

A week ago today I was flipping through one of my mom's books, stopped on an arbitrary page, and found a quote that resonated with me profoundly. It was uttered by a woman named Sheila Graham. Sheila Graham? I thought, so I googled her. I found that she and I share a birthday, and not only are we both Virgos, but we share the Chinese sign; the dragon. She died the year I was born and she was a writer. I went to bed thinking about how strange it all was and woke up even more curious about this woman. After further research I found that she was involved with F. Scott Fitzgerald an infamous alcoholic and she as a result was codependent. Upon telling my mom this she reminded me that F. Scott Fitzgerald's historic home is situated right next door to one of the homes I grew up in and consequently Sheila Graham spent a great deal of time there. At this point, I was totally freaked out. After ordering books about and written by her, it occurred to me that she and I may be kindred souls. Before you snicker at my assumption, hear me out. I feel that  the reason that I happened to flip to that specific page and happened upon that exact quote is because I was meant to find out about this dynamic woman, to learn about her life which is eerily in line with mine and see that I don't have to live her same sufferings. 

Since this whole saga happened I have found myself noticing many things that are spookily relevant, things my former, non-observant self would have blown right past. One such occurrence arose last night when I was reading my Tarot cards. I lay out the cards asking what my purpose was, what I need to learn, and what I need to do.  While all of the cards I pulled were unbelievably applicable to exactly where I am in my life, the last of the 9 cards that I pulled was the 9 of cups, which my reading revealed to be equivalent to the 9 of hearts, a card that depicts that whatever one wishes for will be granted. While I was elated to read the positive message of this card I looked at it and saw that the largest and most prominent of the 9 cups illustrated on the card held two, brilliantly yellow lemons.

So while I could easily disregard these things and file them in my mind under coincidences, I choose to notice and follow them to the core of their meaning. Not only is running after these instances of serendipity exciting and invigorating, it is leading me to door after open door and encouraging me to listen to my intuition and move spontaneously in the direction of the greatest inspiration, happiness, and abundance.

*more on Sheila Graham and our uncanny likenesses as I learn.
* coming soon!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Fullest

Yesterday I sat in the passenger seat of my mom's car on the way home from San Miguel as I have a hundred times before, I leaned my head to the side and glanced out my window and was overwhelmed with how majestic the scenery was, the mountains in particular. I was struck by how, in all of my monotonous car rides, I had never noticed the sensational terrain. In all of my awe I noticed that my ignorance in regards to my surroundings is a sort of metaphor for my dealings in life.

Until recently my life had been akin to driving on the open road, staring straight ahead, tuning out my peripheral visions in pursuit of getting there. Whether there was graduating from college or arriving at work, I was never content, always in anticipation of my next step and paying no attention to the present moment. I had a series of steps to go through everyday, and I completed them with little enthusiasm, and as a result I was never satisfied. As I achieved one landmark I would begin looking forward to the next one, invariably thinking that the next milestone would deliver happiness, and it never did. I started to become a terminal malcontent, grumpy and exhausted.

The transition that moving to Mexico entailed was surely not an easy one, but I wouldn't trade the bumps in the road for anything, as they have taught me so much about myself and life in general. Something about the mountains and the lack of commercial businesses has forced me to live in the present moment and trained me to act with an attitude of appreciation. And, though my physical surroundings have had a lot to do with my feelings of peace, I can, more than anything, attribute my ability to be at ease to my daughter. In the two months since she was born, I have spent hours staring at her. With every coo and gurgle she produces my reverence at the wonders of my reality grow. 

I no longer live in anticipation of the benchmarks that speckle my life map, instead I live my days one at a time. I am excited to wake up in the morning and start my days as I never know what each one will behold. I trust my inner thoughts and blow in whichever direction the dessert wind takes me, and I am happy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Notes on Manifesting

If you build it, they will come.
Field of Dreams

As of late I've found that, if you are open to accepting it, the universe provides you with what you need. Not possessions and material goods, but things you actually need. Since becoming receptive to this concept, I have experienced several instances of universal responsiveness to my unconscious necessities. 

A few weeks after having Tallulah she started to suffer from colic making it nearly impossible for either of us to sleep. We went shopping for a crib thinking maybe this would help our situation and while waiting for our transaction to be completed, I sat down to nurse her. A large, zoftic woman entered the store, saw me breast-feeding, and without so much as introducing herself proceeded to march over to me, grab my boob and show me how to nurse properly. While at the time a was more than a little taken aback, that night I was thanking my lucky stars that I had encountered this bold, wonderful woman as her lack of hesitation to offer me assistance had greatly helped me and my new baby.

A few weeks later, faced with munchkin's extreme constipation which caused her to grunt in discomfort for hours throughout the day and night, I was in search of a solution. My family and I went out to eat and met a petite blonde woman named Lee who we later nicknamed Lovely Lee. She just happened to be doula in-training, a baby yoga instructor, and an overall doll. She offered some wonderful tips on how to ease her irritation. She also gave me peace of mind in a situation in which anxiety was beginning to gather.

There have been many such happenings in the last few months, and the numbers only continue to increase as my openness to them widens. Manifesting that your demands will be satisfied is a sort of catalyst to living the life you want as the more you manifest the more everything falls into place and the greater your belief in the concept becomes. Focusing on the lack of what you desire will only bring more of the lack in to your space whereas living as if everything you yearn for is already at your fingertips will attract more of what you wish for to you. If you need proof, try it.

You can have anything you want if you want it desperately enough. You must want it with an inner exuberance that erupts through the skin and joins the energy that created the world.
-Sheila Graham

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Coming up on a month since I've heard from Keikai, his last message expressing dismay at my relationship status on facebook, I have begun to contemplate what I am going to tell my baby girl about why her papa left us. I have thought that maybe she won't find it so abnormal given that the only male presence she is growing up with is her sweet uncle, it's possible that the nuclear family image won't be her concept of normal. While that may turn out to be true (only time will tell), as a person who's parents got divorced at the tender age of six, I know that no matter what logic is offered to explain certain events, you can't help but feel it is about you. So I have started thinking about what I will offer her when she inevitably asks about her daddy. "He's slefish," "He hates Mexico," "He has a lot of issues," have all scooted across my mind in addition to explanations including a few more expletives that I won't bother sharing. It was only at 5 am this morning that, as I stared into my baby's stunning big blue eyes, I thought of exactly what I will say:
"Your daddy has a good heart but a terrible mind."


Early every morning I hear jingling of keys as my door softly opens, it is Bronte coming to get Tallulah to allow me a couple of hours of undisturbed rest. Midday I hear the clanking of dishes as she helps me clean up the mess I've made experimenting with recipes. I hear her argue with and scream at Tyler many times throughout each day and if I'm lucky, I'll hear her sing.

Equal parts beautiful and self-conscious, Bronte is a sweet, sensitive, strange soul who I have exponentially come to love and appreciate in the last few months. As someone who looks and acts older than she is, I feel my family sometimes forgets that she is still young and in need of guidance and affection. Intelligent beyond her 13 years, she specializes in stretching the truth to the point of translucence, a trait that can drive one to scream, but the underlying message is her outstanding need for attention. 

Because of my constant need of assistance due to the fact that my baby's daddy is no where to be found and Bronte's need for some extra love since her papa left several months ago, we have created a union, able to fill the missing spaces in each other's lives. We laugh, work, and play as I keep her calm and balanced and she reminds me not to take myself so seriously. 

For years I resisted her presence, telling everyone who would listen how absolutely intolerable her yelling, lying, and vainness were. I always perceived our relationship as one that was necessary but not pleasant. However, since becoming a mom, I am able to see her through new eyes. I can see how much she looks up to me and remember what it was like to be a her age. Granted I wasn't half as beautiful or buxom as her, but I also didn't encounter many of her predicaments either. 

In our close quarters with no escape or distraction for a number of miles, we all wear on each other's nerves, something that Bronte often bears the brunt of. She screams, slams doors, and spends hours of the day doing and re-doing her hair, but she also offers great talents and a helping hand when I need it most. It pains me and gives me great joy to say that for the first time in my life I feel a sisterly bond toward this girl, and I know, as we both grow, it will only continue to blossom.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

La Caja

It isn't great big pleasures that count the most, it's making a great deal out of the little ones.
-Jean Webster

At my 7th birthday party my dad let me watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a mistake he wouldn't soon live down due to my developed fear of vampires. For years I slept with my closet open to enable me to see any creatures of the night that may emerge from it. I slept on my back with the sheets pulled up over my neck, one eye open to ensure my safety from the fanged creatures. When I was 11, another error, my mom allowed me to watch I Know What You Did Last Summer, more sleepless nights waiting for a man with rubber boots and a hook for a hand to take my life. Beside these, I generated many reasons to worry throughout my adolescence including flying, dying, and an irrational fear of Australia. But no fright, no unease, no terror compares to the neurosis that has been instilled in me since the commencement of my  journey of motherhood.

Today, July 27th, 2010, is my 2 year anniversary with Keikai. I received no call, email, chocolates, flowers, or singing telegrams, but I know he is thinking of me, wherever he is. I am thinking on the events of the past two years, where I was, and how I never in a million years could have imagined where I am at this moment. Now that I'm here, I couldn't begin to fathom my life without my precious baby girl. That's where the neurosis comes in. I have, in my mind, concocted every possible tragic scenario and I trust no one, least of all myself. I wake up panicked several times a night to make sure the munchkin is breathing. I have become a clean freak, obsessed with setting a good example for my little one, and I have chastised every member of my family...10 times.

Yesterday, my mom's 51st birthday (and my dad's 53rd) all that could go wrong went wrong, as it typically does in our family. One of the many mishaps was the fact that Tyler and Nana went into town for paint and didn't return for 5 hours. This sent my mom in to a fit of hysterics until the two of them nonchalantly walked through the back door holding several bags and a bouquet of lillies. My brother immediately isolated himself to the laundry room where he, the boy who has the attention span of a gnat, spent 4 hours fashioning a jewelry box for my mom. We all anxiously waited for him to unveil the fabulous creation that took him 240 minutes to build and at 9 o'clock pm, he let us have it. This darling boy had drilled and hammered and sawed a priceless piece with mismatched hinges, plywood, and an ornate handle. The top of the box sits a half an inch off of the the rectangular fixture providing a gap that my mom declared perfect for her jewelry to breathe through.

Between our laughter, sentimental tears, and words of praise I saw a glimmer of light in everyone's eyes and I started to see that this is what it's all about. If you do things with love, if you put your whole self into something, the missteps and accidental blunders don't matter. Instead of contemplating all of the ways that harm can come to Tallulah and spending my life being her protective bubble, I can choose to emanate love from every pore, raising her the best way I know how and learning as I go. In the presence of fear, everything else, love in particular, is diminished, but in the presence of true, unabashed love you can't help but generate a sense of trust that everything, no matter how off-center, is exactly as it is meant to be.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Thoughts on Behavior

In any relationship, when there is any desire or exploitation involved, this relationship is known as living at someone. Living with people is when you join forces with people to inspire other people toward happiness. Living  for people is when you are willing to sacrifice your material, mental, and energetic spiritual strength to raise and elevate another man. These are the three types of relationships. The third type which makes you live for other people makes you immortal, the second type of relationship makes you happy, and the first kind of relationship makes you miserable. And this pattern of behavior decides your destiny.
-Yogi Bhajan The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan: The Power of the Spoken Word
In each day, there are a series of choices one makes. When to get out of bed, what to do, and the most important, how to behave. As far as I am concerned, the way that you interact with the people you love is the most critical function of our entire lives. What is the point of living if you base your decisions on avoidance, anger, jealousy or other low-grade emotions which scale down our naturally positive vibrational qualities. What a glorious world this would be if people realized that actions do not have to be based out of habit or instinct but rather stemming from the realm of human consciousness. Placing responsibility of negative words or actions on expressing oneself freely is simply a copout. Every single person of sound body and mind is wholly responsible for the words that exit their mouth and the actions they complete. Period. End of story.

Changing your mind is changing your relationship. Being authentic and peaceful with your relatives is only a thought away. You can learn to change your thoughts by intending to create authentic and peaceful feelings within yourself. No one is capable of making you upset without your consent, and you've given your consent too frequently in the past. When you begin practicing the intention to be authentic and peaceful, you withdraw your consent to be in the lower energy. You connect to peace itself, and decide to bring peace to your relatives, thereby immedeatly gaining the power to change the energy of family gatherings.
-Dr. Wayne W. Dyer The Power of Intention


Home is wherever I'm with you.
-Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

As Chloe's 2 month visit to Mexico comes to an end, I have begun to reflect on her time here. For the first time since we were born we lived in the same room for an extended period of time without fighting extensively. Sure we had some arguments and even a couple screaming matches but nothing compared to the blowouts of our past. Her stay here has been a sort of renaissance for all of our relationships, especially us kids. 
After the initial rough patch that ensued when we brought Tallulah home, Tyler, Bronte, Chloe and I have become much closer than we have been...ever. Chloe and I only lived with the little ones half the time when they were growing up and after age 18 we didn't live with them at all. Having all four of us in the same location was a rarity reserved for birthdays and holidays or the scarce Sunday. Even in the event of such occurrences, we would gather only for a few short hours, able to leave when one of us got under the other's skin. Chloe's trip marks the longest period of time that we have all inhabited the same house.

Bronte, who previously sat self-consciously, afraid to express herself in front of her older sisters, has opened up beautifully. Even given her 13 year old "teenagerness" I have found a brilliant and hilarious companion that I have a developed a unexpected closeness with. Chloe has also become more gracious with Bronte, whom she and I had always regarded as somewhat of a nuisance. We have come to appreciate her pleasantly quirky presence and relate to her early teen angst .

Tyler, after a two week revolt against the new baby of the house, turned 10 and returned to his usual sweet self. While he keeps to himself or is out playing with his friends most of the time, the small spurts he spends with us is always entertaining and I feel like he has also let his guard down, not an easy task when you have 3 older sisters.


A year ago, about a month before my mom and siblings were due to depart from the place I was born and raised, I had somewhat of a breakdown. I came home from work one night and was overcome with sorrow. I felt, all of a sudden, like everything had vanished and I could no longer breathe. I collapsed into the heaviest crying fit I had, in my twenty year old existence, ever experienced. I felt more than I knew that I simply wasn't ready to lose my ability to see my gifted and wonderful siblings grow up. Two weeks later I decided to take the plunge and move with them because nothing, not school, a boyfriend, or a job was more important than being there to witness their growth and maybe even be a part of it.

All four of us have discovered greatness in each other this summer. Through the tears, screaming, uncomfortable silences and heartfelt apologies, we have gained a certain ease in our dealings with one another. We have grown closer and more peaceful. Don't get me wrong, our howls can still be heard on the jardin, and probably throughout Pozos, but our love and respect for one another overrides any temporary spat or sneer. Though thinking about having another baby after just having given birth is analogous to considering a shot of tequila while hungover, I would do it just to give Tallulah someone to love as immensely as I love my sisters and brother.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Men

Since the Davis left late one February evening and Keikai bid us adieu in a van full of Mexican men, life, needless to say, has been drastically different. Despite their efforts to communicate and send their affection through sporadic phone calls and emails, their lack of physical presence has forced us to sculpt new lives with out them, and now, with both of them wanting to return, we are no longer sure how they will fit into our peaceful, male-free existences. So, we honestly told them that we weren't sure we were ready for them to return and that if they didn't change some of their behaviors, we weren't willing to have them return at all. 

Since these conversations occurred, or continue to occur, mom and I frequently joke about "The Power of the Ultimatum." Though the word Ultimatum may have some negative connotations attached to it, understand it is not our intention to provoke hoop jumping, it is our goal to open their eyes to how wonderful things can be if they decide to let go of their years of emotional baggage and start anew, living a life of gratitude rather than blaming all of their shortcomings on us women. I have to say the results have been astounding.

Though Keikai and I are not currently together, due to my overwhelming need to focus on myself for the first time ever, he has made some impressive strides. For the first time in his life he has rented his own apartment. He has procured a full-time job that he gets up at 5 am everyday to get to and is on the brink of a promotion. He set up his first bank account. He is attending AA, an absolute necessity if he ever wishes to be a part of my world again, and he is actually enjoying it. He is reading and exercising everyday, things that getting him to do with me were like pulling teeth. And the largest step of all, he is learning, gradually, that our relationship ( and the world) doesn't revolve around him.

Davis has, with my moms help, discovered Yoga and The Law of Attraction. The man who dodged communication and listened to music to block out his family and the world for 14 years of their relationship, calls here consistently and is becoming conscious to his language and actions. He claims that his anger has passed and he is ready to spend the rest of his life serving mom and the kids. He is, for the first time since my mom met him, taking responsibility for his actions. He has sustained many a "come to jesus" with mom and I am impressed with how he has handled himself in the face of her blunt but constructive criticisms. My anger toward Davis has passed as well because for the first time in a long time, I genuinely feel that he is making mom happy.

Some people feel that we have been too hard on them, that we are not acting out of compassion, in fact, we are acting out of nothing but. If we had continued to take care of these men, they would have remained broken. They each needed their own brand of a wake-up call to see that mom and I are changing our lives for the better and if they expect us to take them back into the family they left dismantled, they need to keep up with the constant journey of self-awareness we have set fourth on.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Finding the Good

I recall hearing the following conversation after the events of 9/11 in New York City. A grandfather was talking to his grandson, telling him, "I have two wolves barking inside of me. The first wolf is filled with anger, hatred, bitterness, and mostly revenge. The second wolf inside of me is filled with love, kindness, compassion, and mostly forgiveness." "Which wolf do you think will win?" the young boy inquired. The grandfather responded, "Whichever one I feed." 
There are always two ways to look at the conditions of our world. We can see hate, prejudice, mistreatment, starvation, poverty, and crime and conclude that this is a horrible world. We can feed this barking wolf and see more and more of what we despise. But this will only fill us with the same things that we find so malignant. Or we can look at the world from a position of self-love and self-respect, and see the improvements that have been made in race relations in our lifetime; the fall of so many dictatorships, lower crime rates, the dismantling of the atrocious apartheid systems, the elevated consciousness of the environmental movement, and the desire on the part of so many to rid the world of nuclear weapons and instruments of mass destruction. We can remind ourselves that for every act of evil in the world, there are a million acts of kindness, and we can feed the second wolf that barks from a position of hope for humanity.
-Dr. Wayne W. Dyer The Power of Intention
Since we moved to Mineral de Pozos 11 months ago, my family has come up against some strange and even cruel occurrences. We have discovered the disturbing class and race dichotomy between American and European residents and native Mexicans. Because of our decision to steer away from the gossipy constituents of town, we have been subject of private and public slander. We have also experienced racism directed toward our multicultural group from many in town, some efforts going so far as to threaten our safety here. There have been a couple attempts at vandalism and several accounts of profiling aimed at my two youngest siblings. Also, days after moving here, a wanted criminal found his way into our home to escape police fire. And that is just the violence intended for our family. There have also been tragic events of kidnapping and unwarranted police violence toward youth in surrounding areas. Through all of these happenings, it is easy to lose faith in humanity, mark people as untrustworthy and avoid everyone. But in seeing the grace in which my family has dealt with the opposition, I have a renewed confidence in the goodness of all life.

My mom, an ever trusting being, has been pounded with deceit and disrespect time and time again. I have always maintained that she not be so vulnerable to the brutish nature of people, but in watching her in the last few months, I am no longer so sure. With every clobbering she sustains, she grows stronger, not through anger or efforts of revenge, but through her ability to remain kind and respectful to the people who have wronged her. I know her strength stems from her interminable belief that through her actions she can, in at least a small way, change the reality of others. 
Though the childrens' blood runs a bit hot in these situations, it is completely understandable of people constantly being wrongly accused by women 60 years their elder. But even they remain true, defending friends, themselves, and our family with conviction and honesty. 

My mom always says "Wherever you go, there you are," meaning whatever you are trying to escape will follow you, no matter what geographic location. My mom came to Mexico to get away from the negative conversation inherent in so much of American life, but whether it be our hair dresser or our next door neighbors she continues to be confronted by the same cynics. I came to Mexico, spurred by the incredibly prejudice and unjustified arrest of Keikai, to avoid  the extreme racism and corrupt system, only to be constantly confronted by bigotry toward every member of my family. I believe the lesson here is that evil exists anywhere you go, but so does benevolence, and to find the good in everything is one of the greatest feats, and a necessary one in pursuing a enlightened and happy existence.