Lisa and the Lucky Streak

The past few days have been oddly lucky. Now that I am writing my luck down, I wonder if I should buy a lottery ticket...
As you know, this past Sunday was Mother's Day. And as good daughters do, my sister and I planned to travel to our parent's house and cook brunch on Sunday morning. We had planned to arrive Saturday afternoon/evening for a full family visit-fun-time.
Saturday morning, I planned to take a yoga class and had put in my research and was excited about the one that fit my schedule. Then I would return home, have lunch, do some apartment cleaning and head to Shrewsbury.
All on schedule, I grabbed my mat, headed out the door, turned the key and click, click, click, click. Did I leave the lights on? No. And battery was replaced last year. Google was very helpful and told me that the rapid clicking was still likely the battery although I didn't think this was the case.
Roommate comes home, "Oh yeah, I have jumper cables." Nope. He doesn't. Sam is free from work at 11 and she definitely does. We hook the car up and it doesn't start. Let it run a bit and make sure that the connection is good. Still doesn't start. She lectures me that it is probably because I let my oil get too dirty. I know that is definitely not why it wasn't starting. She leaves. I call AAA. Tow truck will be at my house in an hour. Tow truck arrives. Tries a jump pack just in case. Nope. He thinks its the starter. Now we're talking! We put my car in neutral and roll it down the driveway to the truck. Load it. He asks me what I'd like to do with it. Long story short: he convinces me to have the car towed to the auto shop he works out (which is right down the street), says he can fix it now as long as he has the parts, and will change my oil too.
Now while waiting for the tow truck, I assumed since it was a Saturday and most car mechanics are closed, that I am stuck until Monday if not Tuesday without a car. So I had called my parents to share that I had no car. They offered to come get me and loan me one of theirs in the meantime. I thought, no, I will have a friend from home now living in Easthampton who is also headed to Shrewsbury pick me up. He agrees. Also have a friend visiting from Boston on the burner to drop me off when she heads home.
Again, long story short: car is fixed by 5. When I pick it up, mechanic suggests that I get new tires and gives me a quote for them. My dad had told me a month or so ago that one of the tires was at 60% but that the rest looked good so I didn't think anything of the mechanics comment but relayed the info to my dad anyway when I got home.
We have a great weekend.
Before I am set to drive back, Dad goes out and looks at car and returns to the kitchen saying that my back tires are unsafe to drive with. (Now mind you it poured all weekend and I drive the pike home at 65-70 mph thus could have hydroplaned but didn't).
I end up finding tires, already mounted (which means at least half the time and labor to switch them), in my town for half the price the mechanic quoted me. Dad picks them up, we switch them, and I'm off! Well, we got burritos first.
The luck was that so many things had the potential of getting in the way of our family plans and they didn't. Each challenge was met with an easy-to-reach solution. I am still riding high that everything worked out this way. And we got quite a bit planted at work this afternoon so I am pleased about that as well.
Happy Momma's Day y'all.


I am drawing a picture of a lynx and I just. cannot. finish it! I'm really procrastinating! And I was just thinking of you peeps and how I miss you all. Antonio and I are going to the bank tomorrow to talk mortgages eeeeeeeeeeeeeee! We're narrowing down our land/house searches to areas in Vermont and Maine. We may buy something and stay out here another year or so to save up more money for building and moving, but this is getting more and more real every day! Nina, I hope you guys are having luck with your searches! My parents are moving back to MA in June which will be good for them I think. And I'm happy to have the family start reconcentrating (apparently that's not a word?) back in New England.

I got a new job working for a tree and garden company, and I get to dig around in the dirt and saw stuff off of trees and it's so much better than my old job! I'm learning so much and it's awesome. Antonio is still at his same job but is now writing and photographing for a local paper on the side, so he's pretty happy. And he got a baby blue Prius after his accident, and is carpooling with someone else, so no danger of falling asleep thankfully. And we're saving a butt-ton on gas. Dougie and Puff are still adorable and snuggly.

I hope you all are doing swell and we miss you lots! We'll probably plan a visit back to New England around Thanksgiving or the late fall, so we'll keep you posted.

Lot's of <3's!



Lisa and the no good, very bad day

Today was one of those days. Nothing horrible happened - just a bunch of little things.

It started off good. I woke up on time and was able to mop my kitchen floor with ample time to sit and enjoy my breakfast and tea.

The morning at work was pretty good too.

And then not enough people showed up for my after lunch Monday meeting so I thought I would get a jump on afternoon work.

"Ah! The buggy (the 4WD vehicle we use in addition to our truck) is free and right in front of the vegetable garden's greenhouses! I will use it to grab our flats of eggplant and tomatoes so we can pot them up this afternoon!" I thought.

I struggled to get the buggy to drive to the greenhouse door. Put eight flats of plants in the back and on the front seat. I struggled again to get it started. Made it to the bottom of the road up to our greenhouse. Dead.

Ok. Check it for gas. Yes, it has gas. "At least I am on an incline and can put it in neutral and turn the wheel and push it backward so that it is off the road."

Walk up to the workshop. Our truck has a tiller in the back so I grab our car and fill up the back with four flats. Drive up to the workshop. Now it is time for afternoon work. Oliver comes to me - "Lisa! Someone took my seed work! There is nothing there!" Me: "Oliver, is there another way you can ask me for seed work?" Which he does and while I am setting it up for him still act incredulously. I snapped at him.

Everybody else is piling into the workshop and waiting to find out what their afternoon work is as well including a brand new woman to the village who is visiting on trial hoping to become a resident of the community. Some are more patient than others.

From there it is ok - everyone is happily at work and I put a call in about the buggy.

The reason I was in a rush was because I was hoping for a window to do some rototilling to prepare beds for pea planting on Wednesday. I find the tiller in the vegetable garden and bring it down to one of the gardens. One and a half beds in. Dead.

Check it. Out of gas. Ok - this has a solution. Thankfully one of the herb gardeners is driving their buggy down the road and offers to bring me to get some diesel.

I can't figure out how the diesel gas can works. I ask one of the herb gardeners to help me as she is working in the greenhouse next to the garden I am in. She can't figure out either and gets the most beautiful glass funnel I've ever seen to help pour the gas into the machine however by then I have figured out the friggen can. Back in business! (It is 4:30 by now).

Finish tilling the row and look at how wet the next row is. "Nah. Since these are raised beds and I am going down the center of them the middle will be dry enough and this will work" say I to myself.

Get halfway down. "Shit. Fuck." It is definitely too wet. I try to shut off the tiller but the automatic shutoff keeps getting jammed and of course it jams now. "Ok, just reverse it out" I think. But no, it is too deep at this point. I get it shut off finally and look at it. It has sunk halfway into the mud.

I ask the herb gardeners for help again. We think to dig it out but the mud is so wet, where we dig just fills with water with each shovel full. Well, time to ask for more help. I call the estate shed where the machine fixer-uppers work. "Yes, they would know how to get the tiller out!" No answer.

Well, I will call Ian - my 63 year old supervisor. He is very level headed and we talk about the best way to get it out. "So you think it would be too wet to get a truck in there?" "Yes," I respond. "So what do we need?" He's a good coach. Doesn't give you the answers. "I think 3 or 4 strong folks could muscle it out." "Ok," he says, "you stay in the garden and I'll see who I can find and we will meet you in the garden as soon as well can."

Sure enough, within 5-8 minutes a car full of guys is ready to help pull out the tiller, not a one looking ready to be in mud. In the meantime I've planted a chestnut that sprouted in the middle of the garden.

Indeed, the four of us are able to spend the last 20 minutes of work hauling this machine out of the mud. Being the one wearing calf high wellies, I placed myself in the muddiest areas and actually had to get pulled out at one point as one foot got stuck too.

Brought the tiller back to the vegetable shed, both it and I covered in mud, myself also covered in diesel and shame. Also, not much work done.

I am my worst critic and when I fail, I take it hard. I wanted to cry at multiple points even though they were little frustrations and not catastrophic events. By the end of my car ride back to my apartment I felt better. And after I took the dog my flat mate is watching for a run I had shed almost all of my frustration and shame from the day.


Blossom Evolution

Hello loves,

After reading your posts, I have been thinking about all of this, all of us, being in this phase of life together. Being the elder of the group (ha, I am so wise and old!), I have identified so completely with everything you guys have been saying. That grasping of deeper purpose and direction that comes with this moment in life, and for me, a definite need to ground in and take root in a place to call home. ...That could of course be due to our extreme nomadic nature of the last few years, but I think it is also due to the phase that Pat and I have entered in life. I never thought I would be at a place where settling down was as exciting as backpacking foreign countries. But whoa! We have arrived! And yes, we still want to backpack and roam, but we need a friggin' root system that is strong and stable.

In moving back to the area that was home as a child, I have been so comforted. It has all the things we love-- ocean, mountains, and friendly, bright folks that are into things like raising chickens, collecting sap and raising goats, not for milk or cheese, but merely because of the fact that they are cute...which I find extremely valid. Pat and I just kind of looked at each other one day and said "Oh my gosh! We're home!" That has led us to put an offer on a house, (for which we are currently under contract!! you guys omg!!) and made us look at our lives and our dreams in a magnified way. It's the sifting through that is tricky-- the sampling of jobs, the experimenting with interests, finding that thing that makes your heart expand and makes joy erupt in your bones. For a long time, I thought that thing for me was teaching. And the process of finding out that teaching school might not be what I thought it was for me has been hard and disappointing, but illuminating in a big way. The thing is, I have realized that while I adore kiddos and have a knack for teaching, that doesn't mean that I have to love it as a practice or that I have to continue to do it. Because unless it feeds me in a deeper way, what the hell is the point?

Pat and I have been saying the phrase "Go get it!" to each other a lot these days. Go and get that thing that makes you feel freaking awesome and inspired and excited about living. He has found his thing and watching him unfold within in it has been such a treat! He comes home with work goggles forgotten on his head and sawdust in his beard after sharing a scotch with his boss at the end of the day. He looks like he is glowing! My hunt continues, but it is getting clearer and clearer everyday. I still want to help people a bunch
and think about caregiving in some way or another all the time. And other signs keep showing up and the universe keeps saying "hey idiot! you sold another big painting today! be a fucking artist!"

I had a thought the other day that I am going to start thinking of myself and other people as blossoms. Like intricately layered roses. Instead of a linear evolution, we all have these layers to ourselves-- different interests, passions, ideas, and we live them out as they unfold. So I don't need to say "I am a teacher" or "I am an artist", but rather "I'm a human!" And in being a human, we have the gift of being able to explore so many things, and to BE so many things. So now, rather than trying to define myself by my work, I am going to define myself by what I love, what feeds me and helps me grow as a person and a spirit. And that may shift over time. That's okay. It's all a part of the unfolding; the delicate and bold blossoming of becoming something beautiful.


Life Decisions are Hard/A Very Similar Post to Lisa's

Two weekends ago Antonio fell asleep while driving home after the night shift. He was very lucky that he was on our road going slow, that he only hit a couple of parked cars, and that no one (including himself) was hurt. His car is toast. It's left us both feeling kind of shaken, and feeling that something has to change.

Between this job and the railroad he's been doing night shifts for 3 years. For 1.5 years of that I've been fighting off almost nightly panic attacks triggered by being alone at night. For some reason we just keep toiling through all this because most of the time it seems like there isn't a choice. But now it feels like something is shifting.

We love Denver and Colorado, but we're both super unhappy with our jobs. We're making more money than we used to, but feeling more stuck than we used to because of the higher cost of living in a city. We miss friends and family. Is this adulthood? At the same time we're getting more opportunities with art and writing and yoga, though they don't pay well yet. At the same time we're enjoying the new adventures, opportunities, people, and cultures here. At the same time we're feeling thankful to have enough money and food, to have a roof over our head, and to have each other.

What's the next step? Do we find new work? Have we just gotten too serious and focused on survival that we need to make more time for happiness? Do we get ready to head back to New England? I wish signs were a little bit clearer.

I shall brighten this post with a cute Puff picture! :)


Who are you St. Paddy?

How widespread is the celebration of St. Patrick's Day? One of my coworkers from California has been looking forward to this day for over a week while an Egyptian coworker was clueless that this was a thing celebrated in the US. Oddly enough, the Egyptian was familiar with the Dropkicks while miss California was not.

According to wikipedia, the highest of resources, St. Patrick's Day is on the death of St. Patrick and celebrates Christianity coming to Ireland as well as "celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general." Where is the day for the French Canadians? Apparently, the lenten restrictions on eating and drinking were traditionally lifted on this day - thus why everyone gets hammered. Perhaps this is why it is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival including Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand. The whole thing about the snakes isn't true as I guess Ireland really doesn't have many but is a metaphor for him converting people to Christianity and driving inconvertible druids out of the country. Hey, I think I write a better summary that wiki btw.

Nowadays, it is said Irish-Americans are the most feverish of this "holy day" although I'm not sure wearing "Kiss me, I'm Irish" t-shirts and downing beer and whiskey is the most religious of practices but hey, it's hard not to join in with a drunken merry group that proclaims that everyone is Irish on St. Paddy's. Reading on, Ireland and Great Britain have a public holiday and fancy parades. When it goes on to talk about American celebrations wiki literally has three sentences:

"St Patrick's Day, while not a legal holiday in the United States, is nonetheless widely recognised and observed throughout the country as a celebration of Irish and Irish-American culture. Celebrations include prominent displays of the colour green, religious observances, numerous parades, and copious consumption of alcohol. The holiday has been celebrated in North America since the late 18th century."

Canada however seems to be as legit as Britain and the motherland, Ireland, with Montreal leading the pack. Fun fact: The Toronto Maple Leaves used to be the Toronto St. Patricks and had green Jerseys! So maybe, just maybe, there is some mix of French Canadian and Irish blood and I really do have some Irish in me! Alanna, Nina, and Pat, I am one of you too!

I also have to include the wiki section about how people in space celebrate. Yes, that's right, Space St. Paddys:

"Astronauts on board the International Space Station have celebrated the festival in different ways. Irish-American Catherine Coleman played a hundred-year-old flute belonging to Matt Molloy and a tin whistle belonging to Paddy Moloney, both members of the Irish music group The Chieftains, while floating weightless in the space station on Saint Patrick's Day in 2011. Her performance was later included in a track called "The Chieftains in Orbit" on the group's album, Voice of Ages.

Chris Hadfield took photographs of Ireland from earth orbit, and a picture of himself wearing green clothing in the space station, and posted them online on Saint Patrick's Day in 2013. He also posted online a recording of himself singing "Danny Boy" in space."

No matter where we celebrate, it is a day to blast the Pogues, talk in horrible Irish accents, and wish we were partying with Michael Fassbender [and party in the best sense of party ;)]. Oh yeah, and wear green. So despite being in retreat on Friday into Saturday morning, maybe I'll find a moment to down a few car bombs and quote the dropkicks to a half decent looking man "kiss me, I'm shit faced."

So happy Irish day y'all, well, two days early.


The Big EW

Three o'clock in the morning sitting at our kitchen table with my laptop in front of us I was ready to punch Anthony. Oddly enough, he was helping me. I was failing my exisistentialism class not surprisingly as I spent most classes with my head down on the desk despite my best efforts to stay awake and Anthony had agreed to edit my final paper of which most of my grade relied upon. What the prompt was, I don't remember and I do remember summarizing Camus's views on the "point of living." Honestly, it may not have been Camus I was writing about but the only texts I remember reading are The Myth of Sisyphus and Beckett's Waiting For Godot. So to get on with the story: the essay was about someone's view that we were to live to spite living because there isn't a meaning to life.
The meaning of life truly is an existential wonder. As one that's struggled with suicidal thoughts since puberty it can sometimes be a question I grapple with daily if not hourly especially as a "spiritual" person. My recent car crash has put things more clearly. I now disagree with whomever we were studying and I believe in the "greater purpose" or power whatever it is. It can be the only explanation. I went off the icy road, over a ditch, rolled in my car between trees to land unharmed - except emotionally - and back to work and driving my car the next day. Not a scratch, not a bruise, no whiplash, nada.
A few days after the accident I went back to pick up any debris left by the car as I had promised the owners, who gave me a cup of tea and a warm place to wait on the 19 degree night, I would. There was nothing left. One of them must have already come to clean up. In daylight I was able to see that I slid off in safest place. With trees on either side and a rock wall beyond, I would have been hospitalized had I made impact with anything.
So maybe I'm lucky. But luck seems to be too easy of an explanation. So now I'm left to wonder, "Why am I here? What's my greater purpose?"


Looking for love, finding comedy

Maybe it was watching all those Disney princess movies. Maybe it was those many car rides in the back of my parent's wagon listening to Delilah's love songs after dark. Or maybe we are biologically programming to search for “it.”
As a kid, I was sure I was going to meet my “one true love” by 26, be married by 28, and start a family by 30. I don't remember having a doubt in my head that this would be true.
My reality has been quite different. Now at age 28, my life is sans any romance at all. My last relationship ended when I was not yet 24 and while I've fallen a few times since then, no relationship has budded.
So here I sit, a single woman. It's not that I mind being singe. I actually wonder if single life suits me better than one with a partner. I've grown accustomed that my living quarters be just so and can deal with my own mess significantly better than I can handle others. I can listen to whatever music I want at any time and ridiculously dance around in my underwear (again at any time). My cat keeps me fair enough company and I can talk to her without anyone to think me strange. Getting caught masturbating is also not a concern.
And yet, I still wish to find someone to be with. I miss cooking with someone else. Someone to cook for and to cook for me. Goofing around and then goofing around ;). And gosh do I miss the feeling of skin on skin.
My 4+ years of being single has finally led me to that dreaded place of ONLINE DATING. Gosh gee willikers. I never thought it would be me. I always assumed that I would be one of the lucky ones to meet someone else in real life (not to say that I won't). And it's not to say that I am undatable. Honestly, I think that I am a pretty good catch. But enough people now have asked me “Well have you tried online dating?” Even my chiropractor told me that she heard of something recently and thought of me before writing “spiritualsingles.com” on a piece of paper and handing it to me with this all knowing look in her eye.
csmoore13 himself in the "inspired" picture
Thus this past Saturday evening after a morning of drinking bloodys and feeling that high you get after a new hair cut, I signed up for OkCupid. It has been two days. And there have been quite a few messages.
Most messages are quite lack luster. “Hey what do you do for work?” A smiley emoji wearing sunglasses. “Ooooh a cat lady.” (My profile pic, the same as my Facebook, is me with Poe). Or as grotesque as “Hello. Nice pussy.” eliciting an immediate block on my end.
My favorite has been the guy who took a similar picture of him and his cat and proceeded to make it his new profile picture and telling me just that. “Your picture inspired me. I had to take a similar one, though it's not as good.” Yessssss, csmoore13 you've caught my crazy and I can't wait to message you back! When can we meet up?

Who know what will come of my online dating experience and I've barely stuck my toe in the water. But hey, if this doesn't work out, at least I got some good laughs.


Strong Woman seeks Strong Man - A (sort-of) Personal Ad

Being a single woman often times suits me very well - perhaps EXTREMELY well. I enjoy autonomy and venturing out to see if I can face new things on my own. However, this independent woman would still like a companion to have adventures with and lean upon. We are put upon this earth with other human beings for a reason. Besides, the future of our humanity depends on our mating ritual. (Albeit I will admit that this part has not been such a challenge. Men love sex too much. I need to find the one that wants commitment as well as sex).

Frequently I find myself pondering why for four years have I been sans relationship? I can hypothesize and there are certainly elements in these years that have contributed to this: moving twice, healing from a previous relationship, struggling with southern gender dynamics. And after a woman pursued me this past spring/summer, I thought deeply on whether I've been single because I've been dating the wrong gender. In the end, I came to the conclusion that I do like men.

I'm sure that there are professionals out there who could help me be "more datable" or give me some tricks to snag all the men and I'll admit, that does sound fun.

This is not my plan however. My plan is perhaps too simplistic - to continue on the way I am and to appreciate the little and big things along the way. And I will most likely continue to ponder my singleness as well.

I plan on continuing to have cuddle and selfie sessions with Poe. To cook nice breakfasts on weekend mornings. To go exploring in the woods. To go out dancing (or have a David Bowie dance party at home). To practice yoga. To read. To try to write more. To spend time with my family and friends and enjoy singing to the radio on the car ride there. To engage in my work and the people I work with. To drink lots of tea. To splurge every once in a while on a nice meal or article of clothing. To dick around on Facebook. To look forward to the next season/episode of ANTM.

So universe, if you know of a single man (or maybe not-yet-single man) who would perhaps get along with a woman who likes to do the above mentioned things, feel free to put them in my path and give me a little smack if I am not noticing them there. Universe, I do have some preference for men if I could be so lucky - that they too have some enjoyment of outdoor activities. They will not shy away from heavier topics such as social justice issues. Decent looking - scruff or facial haired is a plus.

I have faith that some day this strong woman will meet a strong man to share in life together.


I can haiku, can you?

Sunday night late August:

Just one drink, wasted
Head stands, not a good idea
I think it's bed time.

What's yours?


Liquid Dreams

During the night, I dreamt of you. Now I rise before the sun. I slide from my bed - one foot, two feet touching then padding across the wooden floor. One leg, two legs - by the belt loops, my jeans are pulled up over my hips.
Flannel. Sweatshirt. Turn the tea kettle on. Grab my knapsack. Apple. Muffin. Tea. Keys and wallet and phone. All into the bag. Lastly hat, gloves, carhart, boots.
Driving to you, I realize that I am not fully awake. Dawn wholly bathes the fields and mountains in red glow. As I pull down the drive, my heart drums a little faster, a little louder. It is my choice to be here, in part for its unfamiliarity.
No souls in sight although morning has fully arrived. Shivering, I walk to the door, enter, and descend the stairs. Clinking and boot shuffles.
Red bucket, rag, sanitizer, hot water.
Metal pail, paper towels, stool.
I lean into you and you step to the left. I stand next to you. Hot water squeezed from the rag, I bathe your muddy udders.
We don't know each other fully and as you don't always stand well, cautiously I sit on my stool and begin to milk you. Squeezing right then left. Right, left.
Artemis - my girl
Minutes pass. You shuffle back and turn your pretty brown eyes to gaze at me. My left hand becomes frustrated with your petite rear teats. 
My rhythm lost, I am thankful when my neighbor spins around and begins to milk with me. Our hands lightly bump one another. I watch as our streams of milk cross before hitting the bottom of the pail - this simple interaction seemingly fused with tender romance.
We finish.
I weigh and record what you've given us this morning and filter your milk in with the other cows.
For a few moments, my milking partner joins me in observing the new piglets. Quietly, we leave the barn and join the others at farmers' breakfast.
Blessings are spoken, porridge is eaten, the candle is snuffed, and I must scurry off to work.

Zebra - I've only milked her once

cows from behind. I know Athena is the first one. I think Billie Jean is the one turned to face the camera.

originally written when it was super cold.


Turning Lofty to Reality

Often I go to sleep and think about the possibilities of tomorrow...

"When I get home from work, I'm going to run 4 miles even if it is 13 degrees and snowing! And then I'm going to do a half hour of yoga and plan my garden and call my parents and write letters to my AMS friends!"

And when I get home from work, all I can think about is "what am I going to eat?" and then after I eat, "What am I going to eat now?"

And then I putz around (usually on the internet) until 8-8:30ish when I give myself permission to climb into bed and read and sometimes write.

I have high hopes that this will change once it gets warmer however those are once again, possibilities.

My free weekends usually are productive and I have been able to take one decent hike and get some solid cross-country skiing in as well as yoga and reading time.

In that vein, I have decided to revise my list of 15 in 2015.

  1. Meditate more, as in everyday, even if it is only for 30 seconds. This I'm actually trying to stick to and my current success rate is around 6 out of 7 days of the week.
  2. Cut back on sugar - honestly, I totally forgot I set this one. The revision is 2. Before eating junk food, take three deep breaths and ask yourself if you really need whatever you are eyeing. If the answer after three breaths is yes, then indulge, if it is maybe or no, refrain.
  3. Visit La and Antonio - still hoping to do so!
  4. Go on at least one new hike per month April-November. This is eight new hikes. I'd like to do Tumbledown Mountain in Weld, Maine as one of these hikes if anyone is interested! Preferably during the summer so we can swim in the pond at the top. Already have one new hike in although it is not yet April...
  5. Go on a beach camping trip - again, still hoping to do so! Who's with me!?
  6. Save $10,000 - here is a just plain unrealistic goal. If I try really, really hard, I think I can save $5,000 and with three weddings and a trip to Colorado to plan, I'm not sure if this is my year for savings. I will do my best.
  7. Spend an entire day/weekend with a good friend at least once a month - not sure I got this in for the month of January and had a great time with my high school friend, Heather just this past weekend and not enough time but a wonderful time with most of y'all after that!
  8. Blog every other week (this entry counts) - um, how am I doing?
  9. Play guitar/fiddle/piano for a 1/2 hour once a week - haven't been playing with this much frequency and still have this aspiration.
  10. Develop rock hard abs - I've got 10 more months to go!
  11. Go kayaking/canoeing/paddle boarding once a month April-November. Surfing would count too. Not time yet! although does ice skating count? I went for about 10 minutes with my mom on the lake before all this snow...
  12. Limit Facebook time to a total of 15 minutes per day - most of the time. and I still think this is a good one.
  13. Participate in a community theater performance or join a choir - meh, not feeling so inspired any more. Maybe will change this.
  14. Plant a fruit tree in my parent's yard - still plan on it
  15. ? Read at least one book a month? Accept my current state of singleness? Still haven't decided.


In the Spirit of Adventure


For some reason I felt like writing today. Here it goes...

Feeling inspired by all the lovable traveling hobos in our life, and having not yet made any Valentine's Day plans, I decided to plan a small adventure. Antonio had a rare Sunday off, and I found out that it was free to visit Great Sand Dunes National Park this weekend. We're a little broke after getting our car fixed from the accident back in October, but on the upside, we have a really nice car again! Perfect for adventuring. So I did some googling and mapping, and decided that we'd leave our apartment after my anatomy lab on Saturday, drive the 4 hour hours to Alamosa, camp in our car at a Walmart, and then go see the sand dunes at sunrise.

So we packed up some water, sandwiches, trail mix, and donuts. I checked the weather and it was going to be around 19 degrees overnight, so we layered on fleece and wool socks and packed plenty of warm clothes. Antonio outfitted the back of the car with sleeping pads and blankets and pillows. He hung lanterns from the hooks and handles near the passenger seats, and packed our books and some crossword puzzles. We gave Puff extra food and hay and said goodbye to him, and I felt sad because I am a crazy rabbit-lady now. Antonio reassured me that he would be ok by himself for one night. Then we got in our car and drove South, the whole way listening to the 90's and 00's radio station, trying to sing and remember the lyrics to songs we loved in middle school.

Eventually we got off the highway and started driving West. It was dark by then, and there were no towns or lights around us. We looked up at the sky--spectacularly clear and and detailed--and realized it had been a long time since we'd seen this many stars. As we kept driving, dark mountains loomed on either side of us and our ears popped as we gained elevation. Eventually we went through some tiny towns. At first we'd see a few collapsing barns, and then shabby houses with porches full of furniture and odd objects, old trucks parked out front. Downtown there were stores and cafes with funny names, like a pizza shop that was called "All Gonn". We passed a mining museum that had creepy mannequins staring out from the windows.

We drove through some more darkness and eventually got to Alamosa, which thankfully had no mannequins in windows. We got to the Walmart and parked in the back near an RV and another SUV with a camping setup in the back. We decided to go in and buy a jug of water before we went to bed. As we walked through the Walmart we passed a grizzled old man, staring at the ground and shuffling by us with a cart full of beer and plastic bags. We watched as he went to the SUV we parked next to and began unloading his things into his car. After buying our water we moved to a different spot a little further down.

We crawled around inside our car and eventually got all tucked in for sleep. I used my coat to cover the window next to me and realized I felt very exposed and not tired at all. We both read our books for a short time and then tried to sleep. I now know that sleeping in your car in a Walmart parking lot is not an easy thing at all. Around one or two in the morning a tow truck and a van parked near us, and unloaded a street sweeper and a couple of guys with leafblowers. They noisily cleaned the parking lot of dust for a few hours.

My alarm went off at 5 a.m. and we woke up slowly, preparing to see the sun rise on the dunes. Inexplicably, there was an empty black sedan parked directly next to us. Our breath had fogged up the windows car and the freezing temperatures had turned the condensation into ice. We piled into the front seats and tried to start the car. The battery was dead. It seemed as though Antonio accidentally kicked on the headlights while crawling around in the car, and they remained on all night. We looked around for other people to give us a jump, and spotted a truck pulling into the parking lot. Antonio flagged him down and asked for a jump, and he came right over. I was amazed at how nice people can be at 5 in the morning. Antonio spoke to him in Spanish as they attached the cables. As soon as all the ends were attached the car came back to life. After a few minutes we were thanking him and we both drove away. We stopped at a McDonalds to get some hot water for our tea, and even though there was a slight mishap involving spilt tea as Antonio jerked the car, we were in pretty good spirits.

The sun rose as we drove. It was beautiful. Bright oranges and pinks and purples and blues spreading over the plains and Mount Blanca in front of us. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains rose up on our left, more unknown mountain ranges rose on our right. We stopped at a rest stop and read that this was sacred land to Native Americans, in the past and today. We passed herds of grazing deer and elk. We stopped to listen to the sounds of their hooves on the ground, their quiet bleating and munching. As we arrived in the park we heard the wild yipping of foxes. All around there were ranges of colors, and all types of landscapes. Prairie, scrubland, pinon pine forest, 13,000 foot mountains, snow and streams, and then the sand dunes. Huge, expansive mounds of brownish sand. It looked like we stepped into the Sahara. We walked into the dunes and realized that everything was larger and farther away than it seemed. There was almost no one else there and every few moments we paused to listen. You could hear nothing. I had read that this was the "quietest park in the contiguous 48 states".

We were cold when we first started exploring, but warmed up quickly after walking up the dunes. We spent a few hours hiking around, trying out some sledding with a broken sled we found, lying still in the sand, eating trail mix, and taking in the scenery. It was unlike any other place we'd ever seen or been. We had the place almost to ourselves and felt a heavy, pleasant, peacefulness.

We eventually left the dunes and ate lunch. After not sleeping and hiking in the dunes, we were too exhausted to hike anywhere else. We began the drive home and enjoyed the scenery that we had missed in the darkness the night before: huge, snowy mountain ranges, vast prairie, and a herd of pronghorn deer. In those times I feel so lucky to live in Colorado. It was snowing in Denver as we arrived home. We trudged upstairs, greeted Puff, and fell asleep.


The Off Hours

Most days, I get back to 1715 Mill River Great Barrington Road around 6 pm. My stomach is rumbling and therefor first course of duty is the fill it. My first week of work I had angel hair pasta almost every night. Since then, I've been eating more balanced meals, I promise. Miso soup, pork chops & fried rice with bok choy & butternut, and John made excellent burgers and fries roasted in bacon grease this past Wednesday...fyi, apple auto corrects bok choy to "boo toy."

Johnny is at the apartment on and off. I joke that we are destined to be at the apartment when the other is not there. This is actually the first weekend since I moved in that we both are present. Tony and Sam frequently stop by and it is nice to have them and Tikka. Poe hides when anyone else is around especially Tikka.

When it is just me, I enjoy eating my dinner and cuddling with Poe. Sometimes I will turn on an episode of Friends, New Girl, or Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries while I eat. When not sucked into the computer, some evenings I will do a little yoga or indoor exercises such as jumping jacks and squats however all and all I am in the "winter weight" swing of things. I look forward to anything above 25 degrees, days light enough long enough, and no wind so I may start running again. Then I read a little, journal a little, and go to bed.

This morning I happily finished a book I had started when I first moved in "North and South" by Elizabeth Gaskell and have moved onto Tom Robbins' "Still Life With Woodpecker." It is my first Tom Robbins novel and I am truly delighted!

Tomorrow I plan on taking my first adventure in the Taconic Wilderness and go cross country skiing before attending the first evening of a weeklong intensive about biodynamics. Wohoo!

That is a short update for now. I will try to think of something more enthralling to write about next time.


It takes a village

Some new friends have already joked that I belong to a cult. And they are not far off base. Camphill Village is an intentional community - I have gone from one cult (Allegheny Mountain School) to another. And so far I love it.

Camphill Village in the US started in 1961 at the site I work at. It is the largest and oldest of the Camphills in America. There are about 25 homes in the village each headed up by a house mother and father. Some have children and some do not. 4-6 villagers (adults with disabilities) along with 2-3 interns/assistants also live in the homes.

All villagers, interns, and some or both house parents have work placements in the different workshops in the village - the seed shop, the book bindery, the weavery, the bakery, the cafe, the glass shop, the estate (they work the grounds), the vegetable garden, the healing garden, the dairy, the woodshop, and the candle-shop.

Each morning, the village rises and each house has their morning meeting followed by breakfast and quiet hour. After quiet hour, everyone heads out to morning work (9-noon). I am the "work-master", yes this is the actual working title that gets used at the village and I have told them I don't like it, of my room in the seed shop where we are responsible for getting the seed clean and ready to be packed.

In the morning, I work with three villagers Kelly, Elizabeth, and Danny (we are joined by Patricia on Thursday mornings) and three interns Arafat, Greg, and Philip. Greg and Philip are with me all day. At 10:30 am we break for tea and cookies, for real, and then go back to work until noon. The village eats lunch from 12:30-1:30 followed by a rest hour. Some days I eat at a house and other days I eat in the seedshop or greenhouse and then try to take a nap usually in front of the wood stove in the greenhouse. Then I have an hour to catch up on things I need to do or ask questions of Ian, the work-master of the other seed room where seeds are packed and shipped. Ian has largely been the person training me and getting me up to speed while my supervisor, Lia, gets back in the swing of things (she is a new mom to an extremely cute 9-month old Eleanor).
Afternoon work begins at 2:30. There are eight villagers that work with me in the afternoon and one new intern, Lindsay. The villagers in the afternoon, Oliver, Rukin, Mishka, Ellen, Danny (again), Sheila, Linda, and Sherry are talkers and the room is noisy and semi-productive. Oliver, Rukin, and Ellen especially make me laugh with their antics. Work ends at 5 and after cleaning up my room and shutting every thing down, I am usually leaving and headed back to 1715 Mill River Great Barrington Road around 5:15.

Everyone I have met at the village so far has been extremely gracious and a little crazy for sure. I fit right in. When I get in my car, often times I am emotionally tired and sometimes physically as well. It is only possible to stay in each moment with the work and with my co-workers. Of course I still have nerves about whether or not I am doing a good job especially with the high bar set by the previous assistant manager and each day I feel a little more comfortable and get to know my co-workers a little more that I am starting to feel like a tile in the mosaic.

I am inspired to write a blog post about each of my co-workers or maybe a couple at a time as there is so much to be said about each one. I feel incredibly lucky to be in the position I am and to have such a full work life. I think I am in danger of making my work my life (which would be the same of my past two jobs - they always came first).

And with that, Poe and I say goodnight!


Your Reflective Posts Made Me Feel Reflective

New Yeeeeear!

In 2014 I'm proud of:
-Going back to school!
-Starting a yoga program at Sturgis and landing a salaried yoga teacher job!
-Saving up enough money and moving somewhere totally new!

My favorite memories of 2014:

-Teaching my kiddos at Sturgis

-Visiting Lisa in Virginia

-Nina and Pat's road-trip visit to the Cape

-Gaby's bachelorette and bridal shower and Gaby and Jake's wedding <3

 -Enjoying our last beautiful summer days on Cape Cod, and then packing our whole life into our car and moving to Colorado

I kinda gave up on personal New Years' goals, but I do have one goal this year: submit my grad school application in the fall! It's actually a lot of mini goals within one big goal. I only have four prerequisite classes left, and I'm 95% sure that I'm going for Occupational Therapy. There's only one school here in CO that offers it, so I'm putting all my eggs in one basket, but I'm doing it! Ahh!

I'm so thankful for all of you beautiful people in my life, and I miss you all the time!


happy new yeeeear!!!

Happy New Year, dear loves!!!!

Lisa's list of intentions for the new year has inspired me to finish a list of my own, born of gratitude and hopes and loves <3 (We have a lot of crossovers, Lis! Not surprising. Let's do some of them all together:)

• yoga everyday. be truly, utterly, blissfully committed to my training and my practice

• meditation everyday, no matter how short or how long

• surfing! (at least once a week)

• trip to Colorado with friends!! yes!!

• begin to plan my next big trip with Patrick. Some ideas are Iceland, the Shetland Islands,
 or Costa Rica (it's okay if the trip doesn't happen this year, but we'll start making plans for the near    future)

• grant the patience and kindness I give to others to myself

• begin work on a children's book (I have a few ideas!)

• eat more super foods and green things

• begin volunteer work (some ideas are food banks and animal shelters)

• go hiking in the White Mountains! All the tiiime!!
(Once a month is probably a more realistic time frame)

• learn songs by heart on the ukulele and sing them with friends

• make GoPro videos! (I got a surprise one for xmas! it was on mega sale:) Take adventures to make  them! We made our first one last night when we went wandering in the snow storm by the water and  found our neighbor's lost little pug shivering in the snow! Our next one will be when we go out  surfing today.

• write creative stories inspired by people I know

• do a new drawing every two weeks

• cultivate and nurture my etsy site. post something new at least once a month

• host potlucks! once a month

• do at least one random act of kindness a week (this could be sending someone a letter, paying the    toll for the person behind me, baking someone surprise cookies, etc.)

• and, though I'm not really in control of this, become an auntie!! Provide loving support for Angie and Tim throughout their experience and hug the heck out of that little bean when it gets here.

love to you all.


Yanuary zee sickond Tweenty Fifetine

The 2015 list is made and I need help coming up with number fifteen. I want your thoughts!

In no particular order, well, the order that I thought of them and wrote them down, 15 Things I Want to Accomplish in 2015:

  1. Meditate more, as in everyday, even if it is only for 30 seconds.
  2. Cut back on sugar
  3. Visit La and Antonio
  4. Go on at least one new hike per month April-November. This is eight new hikes. I'd like to do Tumbledown Mountain in Weld, Maine as one of these hikes if anyone is interested! Preferably during the summer so we can swim in the pond at the top.
  5. Go on a beach camping trip
  6. Save $10,000
  7. Spend an entire day/weekend with a good friend at least once a month
  8. Blog every other week (this entry counts)
  9. Play guitar/fiddle/piano for a 1/2 hour once a week
  10. Develop rock hard abs
  11. Go kayaking/canoeing/paddle boarding once a month April-November. Surfing would count too.
  12. Limit Facebook time to a total of 15 minutes per day
  13. Participate in a community theater performance or join a choir
  14. Plant a fruit tree in my parent's yard
  15. ?
Pond at top of Tumbledown


Happy New Year's Loves!

Every new year I remember that time we spent New Year's day on the beach on the Cape. 
Lisa was not there (except in our hearts!), but it was still a special day :)

Pensive Gazing and Happy Smiles, New Year's Day 2011

Pretty Ladies and Beach, New Year's Day 2011

And this is my other favorite New Year's Eve moment, at La and Tonio's apartment, on their first NYE as married peeps!

Nina and Chicken Leg, New Year's Eve 2012

I love you all and I wish we were all together tonight! Maybe next year? 

Love and Twinkies,
Jabbers <3



Since moving home, I've been quite contemplative on new habits I would like to create, mind-sets I want to cultivate, hobbies I want to indulge in, etc. this year.

Last New Years, I made a list of "14 Things I want to do in 2014." The items were fairly small - easy to accomplish yet large enough that I would have to challenge myself and get off my butt. I also made the vow to myself that I would not judge myself based upon completion of the list. That list made it into the recycling bin while I was moving. Some things I remember off it were

1) Swim in the Gypsy Hill Park (one of Staunton's Town Parks) Pool - incomplete

2) Go camping on my own - incomplete

3) Go cross country skiing in West Virginia - complete and it rocked

4) Go to the Purple Fiddle (a hole in the wall bar/music venue in West Virginia) - did twice

5) Learn how to do a head stand without support of a wall - still working on

6) Don't text/call AJ unless he calls/texts you - no comment

7) Run 365 miles - did not track this and I ran a 10 miler and a half marathon so I feel fairly accomplished

8) Go for a long bike ride at least once a month - I should have thought more on this as the winter months really don't allow for it

9) Have at least 14 dance parties (even if it is by yourself) - also didn't count. I bet I made it...

10) drink more kombucha - I did

11) write more poetry - did not, however I did write more creatively

12) I think there was one about going on at least one date or something like that. I think I went on exactly one, ha.

If 13 & 14 come to me, I'll let you know. And there are still three days for me to try and complete some of these items! Not swimming in the pool but I could still camp by myself...does my back yard count?

I plan to do this again in 2015. My hope is that this year's list might be a little wiser from the experience of last year.

Two years ago, I posted New Year's resolution "substitutes" from a woman I follow on Twitter (wow, I don't do THAT any more). In the theme of 2014 reflections, I am writing on one of her prompts

2. List your favorite memories and triumphs of 2014, including the challenges you faced with courage or humor (even if things didn't turn out the way you hoped). Studies show that remembering your strengths increases future perseverance and willpower; and reminiscing about the past increases future happiness.

I am so thankful to have celebrated in the wedding of Gaby and Jake. Our bachelorette was filled with more snow and hot cocoa than initially planned and our friend group is so flexible and happy to be together, it was more than okay that we were not able to fulfill all of our original plans. I'm glad that I made the decision to drive up for the weekend of the bridal shower and share in the memories of us at college and those Gaby's family shares with her. Theresa and John proved on this day as well as the rehearsal dinner that they sure know how to cook and throw a party - there is always love, laughter, and loudness in the Segalla house. Your wedding Gaby, was so close to being perfect. Who cares if the photos don't reflect those memories perfectly - we were all so in the moment, we get to cherish those memories unbiased by photographs. Though, I hope one day to have pictures of all four of us at our weddings side by side somewhere in my house: the yellow dresses, the navy, the ...

Every couple of months or so, I have one of those days that I can't help but look around me, see the
magic, and remind myself of how lucky I am. My last full day in Virginia was one of those days. Despite being stressed about packing and cleaning, I had made plans with the Project GROWS staff. They were ending their work day early at 2:30 to join me at a local winery where one of my friends was employed as the assistant wine maker (he has left for another wine job already). He greeted us, filled our glasses, and started driving us around the 60+ acre estate in a safari truck. We conversed about the history of the vineyard itself, grape varieties, pruning techniques, and the estates weird owners all whilst the sun was setting of course. We then proceeded to the winery where he talked us through the fermenting process, showing us the equipment, steel tanks for the whites, and barrels for the reds. We tasted almost every wine regardless of its stage in fermentation and I got pretty tipsy. If I remember correctly, the 2013 Petit Verdot was my favorite. Jenna, the dd, then drove us back to Staunton where we met our dinner guests for a farm-to-table dinner. Last but not least, we went and got gelato. I made mine a sundae.

One challenge came this Spring when a board member had a strong reaction to an email I wrote. To make a long story short, it was an over reaction, but since she went to the board president with it, I still had to stick my tail between my legs and say that it was "my fault." This is not an uncommon occurrence with non-profit, or probably any, board and just shows you how oddly some people deal with situations.

Making the choice to move from Virginia was also a hard choice. You all saw how hard it was for me to leave New England after each visit and still in leaving Virginia, I was saying goodbye to a job I enjoyed, co-workers I adored, mountains I called home, and friends I hope that I will have forever. Friday, I will start a new chapter in Great Barrington and again John and Theresa (and Johnny) are being wonderful hosts by letting me stay in the upstairs apartment while I decide what I want to do for a living situation - stay there forever or stay there one week (it will definitely be longer than a week).


Advice I've gotten--inspired by Theresa's post

Theresa, I agree with the "life is short" advice. Life is too short for lots of things: stale doughnuts, low fat cheese, and feeling ashamed of things that are fun or make you feel good.

 More advice I've gotten:

  •  Drive slow and take deep breaths. It's not worth raising your blood pressure over crazy people driving.
  • Life isn't fair. I hated this one as a kid, and I don't even know if it counts as advice, but it's completely true and makes things easier.
  • Don't wear undies under your pj's. Freedom!!
  • If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. If you do have something nice to say, don't second guess it. Always say it. 
  • Oil pulling: before you eat or drink anything in the morning, swish a teaspoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for 5 to 15 minutes. Spit, rinse, and brush your teeth. It feels amazing!
  • Stretch often. 
  • Don't stay silent when you see something that is wrong.
  • Meditate: sit in silence even for a minute or two. Close your eyes, notice your breath.
  • Always say hello when you enter a room. (Unless it's empty.)

Antonio's advice:

  • Don't wait to tell people that they mean something to you.
  • Try to learn as much as you can from all kinds of people.
  • Sundays are for coffee, newspapers, and poems.
  • Acknowledge people for their strengths. 
  • Listen.


Ok girls this week I have a request...

I would like all of you to think really hard about advice!

Wished you had taken
Wished you never had taken!!!! lol
Wished you never gave!
And the advice worth passing on!

Being the youngest in my family I was the recipient of alot of advice...

There was the don't stick your finger in that light socket or you'll light up like a light bulb I wish I'd taken that... lol

Just because your friend jumps off the roof doesn't mean you should!  Taken.

You should get a perm! Never again!

Try it you'll like it!  Some of the time... lol

Don't make jam or jelly while wearing a tank top!  Should of taken!

Don't walk barefoot on hot sand!  I only needed to do it once!

Don't drink water after a drinking vodka the nite before you will get drunk all over again! How did my dad know that? lol Glad I listened.

Don't drink from a cup that is to hot to hold! Again only did it once well  maybe twice...

Don't leave off without telling someone you love them you may never get the chance! Taken, given, passed on!

Life is to short to eat stale doughnuts!  Grandma was right!

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free!  Use your own judgement...

Don't do what your sister did learn by her mistakes????????  Which sister? lol

Don't smoke weed!!!  I was wrong.  (sorry guys)

If you step in dog shit your luck will change... Never took it, didn't care to find out!

Don't take any wooden nickels... Taken, given, passed on!

Don't throw anything out the car window a mouse couldn't use... Given! Lol (fine example, straws make good flag polls, gum wrappers are good insulation for mouse house walls...lol, popsicle sticks are a contribution to the structure...) John told me the expensive leather glove that I lost while trying to put on while ridding bitch was going to be put to good use as a sleeping bag for a family of mice! Still didn't feel better...lol

Always say let me to get back to you when asked to do something that sounds good at the moment!

Love the one you'er with! Good song, good advice!

Say what you mean and mean what you say!  Given, taken, worth passing on!

And finally the best advice I ever received from my Dad,  Find something you love to do and find a way to money doing it! Do what you love, and love what you do!

There was is and always will be advice given, taken, and passed on what's yours?



Hey guys, I don't know what to write today, but I am SO HAPPY that you all are planning a visit in June! Or whenever! SO EXCITED. We had fun showing my parents around, and they loved it here. I think you guys will like it here too!

Also, yay Christmas!



My sister, Stefanie, is an incredible woman. She is wacky and kooky and those are some of her best features. 

Race finish with my family
For example, and Nina and Pat already know this story so forgive me, my sister was kind enough to pick up my race packet for the Santa Hustle Half Marathon. The packet pick-up was at the mall, a place she worked for three years with a LOT of face time. She went to the table and gave my name as that was the person she was picking up for.

"Oh! You must be Stefanie's sister?!" said the man behind the table.

In a split second decision is which the thought process was 1) if I tell them yes, my name is Lisa, then 2) they will just hand over her packet to me, Stef said, "Yeah. I am."

Stefanie this morning
The man behind the table starting talking about how he knew Stef (to Stef). My sister started to become embarrassed with a lot of smiling and nodding. Another race volunteer, also an acquaintance of Stef, approached the table. Man #1 introduces Stef as me to Woman #1.

"Wow!" she says, "if I saw you on the street I would have sworn you were Stefanie. You two must be identical!"

"Uh huh. People say we look like twins." Stefanie is getting more and more uncomfortable and can't wait to receive the race bag across the table.

Stefanie notices another volunteer approaching the table. This woman she knows pretty well too. Stef grabs the bag, says thank you, and immediately walks away from the table and calls me in order to look "busy."

Albie, the more photogenic
This is my awesome older sister who got the Santa Hustle Race to come to Maine in the first place, this morning walked in the Macy's Day Parade holding a tether to the Snoopy and Woodstock Balloon (we were all glad it was a cool balloon), and will join our family either tonight or tomorrow to enjoy the holiday celebration. She works full-time while getting her masters in business administration and taking care of two of the cutest dogs I know.

Cheers to you, Stef! Today, and every day, I am thankful for you.


A Tribute To Turkey

Turkeys gobble in the dead of night
Take your stunted wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Turkeys gobble in the dead of night
Take your creepy eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

Turkey-birds fly Turkey-birds fly
Into the arms of the dark black night.

Turkey-birds fly Turkey-birds fly
Into cavernous convection ovens.

Turkeys gobble in the dead of night
Take your sassy snood and learn to be

In my belly

You were only waiting for this moment to be yummy.