How did I get so lucky? Not only are Jeff and Katie great to live with, our extended family is a hoot. We have great conversations and lots of laughs in spite of (maybe because of?) having differing opinions. We do the usual family stuff and have the usual family squabbles. I guess I'd describe family life as messy, real, and full of heart. I'm already getting a sad/proud feeling as Katie gets closer to college age.
Katie is such an interesting person and her interests have enhanced our family life. Last year Katie got us involved with Scene Diego - a group that stages large group improvisations in San Diego. Katie also loves musical theater and we appreciate the wonderful people at J*Company Youth Theatre.
Zen Center San Diego promotes a simple but challenging way of practicing within ordinary life, using whatever comes up as grist for the mill. I'm grateful for the inspiration of the community, clarity and kindness of the teachers, and support for intensive and ongoing practice.
Many people think of meditation as a way to escape from the unpleasant stuff (tension, confusion, physical or emotional pain, etc.), but the way we practice is to fully experience whatever is going on. Resisting adds a layer of tension that increases suffering. Embracing the painful may sound grim, but over time there's a sense of relief and release - it turns out that resisting the pain takes a lot of effort and the pain itself isn't that bad if you just allow it. Over time, it's like you gradually erode a familiar, protective box (habitual behaviors & thought patterns). Life outside the box can seem scary and intense at first, but it's also more vivid, real, and satisfying. And the sense of connection to life and others increases as the layer of self-centered protective strategies grows thinner.
Reading is one of my favorite simple pleasures. I enjoy sci fi/fantasy (Lois McMaster Bujold & Sharon Shinn) as well as classics (Jane Austen, Willa Cather) and current novels and non-fiction (Barbara Kingsolver, & Sue Monk Kidd). Lately I read more non fiction than fiction, especially Ezra Bayda, Pema Chodron, Stephen Levine, Jack Kornfield, Ram Dass, etc. Some of my favorite poems are written by Mary Oliver, William Wordsworth, Dante & Robert Frost.
Recently, Bill Moyers interviewed Pema Chodron on PBS. (The full interview is online.)
There's something very satisfying about composting & growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers. I'm considering building raised beds in my front yard (see Edible Estates).
England, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and France in 18 days. Kind of a crazy whirlwind tour, but a great way to explore Europe for the first time. We hope to go back some day.
See more Europe photos.
Wow - gorgeous! We enjoyed snorkeling, boat trips, hikes, & drives, but I think our favorite day was an adventure tour with Outfitters Kauai.
Sequoia National Park 2004
Later in the summer of 2004 Jeff & I visited Sequoia National Park & Morro Bay while Katie was at camp. The hilight of the trip for me was a spectacular hike to Heather Lake, but we also had a great bike ride at Montana De Oro State Park near Morro Bay.
Music & Media
- new age (Loreena McKennitt, Acoustic Alchemy, Patrick O'Hearn, Alex De Grassi)
- country (Steve Earle, Dixie Chicks)
- pop (James Taylor, Amy Grant, Paul Simon, Sting, Shawn Colvin)
- bluegrass (Nickel Creek, Alison Krauss)
- rock/folk (U2, Rolling Stones, Eagles, Moody Blues, CCR, CSNY, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Supertramp, Sheryl Crow)
- classical (Debussy, Rachmaninoff).
I like all kinds of music & have been going nuts with iTunes for a few years. New discoveries include Wilco, Hem, Nick Drake, and Badly Drawn Boy.
A few favorite tunes:
When I was a Girl Scout leader one of our favorite activities was surfing, but we also went rock climbing and camping and attended the Nutcracker ballet. We made dinner for Ronald McDonald House, learned about makeup, attended weekends at the camp in Julian, and made crafts. Good clean fun!
Katie and I started Karate through Santee Parks and Recreation in 2000, then transferred to Traditional American Karate dojo in Santee. Persistence pays off, and I passed the dreaded black belt test in July, 2006. I've since stopped training, but I miss the workouts. Maybe I'll go back some day.
The photo on the right shows Katie and Sensei Ron, our first teacher.