31 December 2009

A Wish for the New Year

For many 2009 was a tough year. Here's hoping that 2010 brings a new outlook and possibilities. Peace, health and happiness to all. Cheers!!

Best of 2009 Blog Challenge-Resolutions that didn't happen...

I have been watching Gwen Bell's blog for the last two weeks --the entries have been wonderful! Today's prompt is about those resolutions that didn't stick---well, given the last two weeks if eating well or perhaps, too well, was on my list of resolutions, then I would have to say I could check that one off !! Unfortunately, it was exercise that I failed to really tackle. So starting Monday--it's salads and broth for this gal with a heavy dose of daily exercise.  In case you were wondering, I made this lovely lasagna for Christmas Day for my family. It was accompanied with meatballs, sausage and bracciole, semolina bread and lots of red, red wine. Hmmmm. Hmmm. Hmmm. Boun appetito!

25 December 2009

A Christmas Star

Christmas ... is not an eternal event at all, but a piece of one's home that one carries in one's heart. ~Freya Stark

This Christmas may those you love be near if not in their presence then in your heart. May the day remind us all to feel hope and joy as a child does on Christmas morning.
Merry Christmas !

24 December 2009


Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies!

Francis P. Church--From the New York Sun, September 21, 1897.

22 December 2009

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

Somehow, not only for Christmas,
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others,
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing,
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart's possessing,
Returns to you glad.
John Greenleaf Whittier

18 December 2009

The Festival of Lights

May the lights of Hanukkah usher in a better world for all humankind. ~Author Unknown

17 December 2009

Theme Thursday-History

We don't accomplish anything in this world alone... and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads form one to another that creates something.
~Sandra Day O'Connor

I came across this wall outside of Montepulciano Italy. Set upon a limestone ridge, the town is known for its wine and looks pretty much like it has for the last three centuries. Studying the designs of the blocks and facia, I found myself wondering about the reason for the ornamentation --was it truly old? What about the writing in the lower left hand corner? Was it medieval graffiti? Mysterious and beautiful.

Regardless of its age, the wall spoke to me and is now part of my history.  Andiamo! Buona sera.

23 November 2009

Monday Morning Wake Up Call

If you look at zero you see nothing; but look through it and you will see the world.

- Robert Kaplan

19 November 2009

Theme Thursday--Late

"There is an immeasurable distance between late and too late."

Og Mandino
Jump into that fountain and feel the sun on your face. Walk into the room fashionably late and meet someone who changes your world. Work hard for many years and take time to teach someone who will in turn teach you. It is all possible when one chooses to see the possibilities.

Ripples in the stream

The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt. Author unknown
Courtesy Sylvia and June Saville

This quote and the blog it comes from crystallizes why I come back here to write, to read the thoughts and view the work of so many gifted and creative people.  It is an on-going conversation of what matters to each of us and a forum in which we can share and experience alternative perspectives and ideas. It is a haven, a sanctuary and a platform from which all of is possible. Pretty cool.

16 November 2009

Walking the walk, talking the talk

The best way out is always through.

Robert Frost

Times are rough for everyone right now. I acknowledge this as I review my past year and start to work on my next two years' business plan.  I sigh, I shout and wonder which direction to go. I am certain that I am not alone all the while angry at this new environment. I am lucky in that I have work that engages and pays me well. Yet, I know something is different and if I do not recognize the difference and therefore, change my approach, success is not guaranteed. The range of emotions that go along with this understanding are not fun nor exhilarating but rather annoying and terrifying. It is not unlike hiking in those lovely wooden shoes--painful, I am certain.
So I focus on what brings me joy--Mr. Jackson, Max, my family as I lace up my hiking boots. I fill my pack with snacks,camera, water and start walking. I know as I begin the trail is unknown which is somehow energizing as I walk, the late autumn leaves clinging to the trees. As I take the first hill, I do not question my ability or curse the elevation, I just move forward--it isn't easy and at times, I feel like turning back, but I keep moving forward knowing the answer lies ahead.

10 November 2009

Home Sweet Home

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.

Maya Angelou

What can I say?

Been busy. The big red house is now 'saddle' and the crew that has been laboring to bring its 1910 bones to the next century, has left..new roof, new siding and fifty windows..it is quiet, but the fine layer of dust that comes with the battle remains...Field Supervisor Jackson aka Mr. Jackson made certain that every detail was addressed and as a result, we will be warm as well as styling this winter as we dress the front porch for the holidays.

That combined with a manic job and a diabetic dog, my focus has been on getting through the chaos to here...happy to be back

22 October 2009

Theme Thursday-Traffic

Experience is by far the best teacher. You know, ever since I was a little girl I knew that if you look both ways when you cross the street, you'll see a lot more than traffic.” Mae West

Mae had it right. There's traffic where ever we look on this ever smaller globe of ours. It is how we choose to deal with it that makes the difference. I choose to imagine the images above when I am caught in midtown NY ---horns blaring and taxis moving ever so close to my bumper.

So much time is spent getting somewhere, what if we just took the time to be, to learn and look beyond the car in front of us---lead rather than follow, take the exit we pass every day just because, take a train so we can read another chapter of that book, ride a bike, motorcycle or a vespa. It is about living and experiencing. Mae had it right. I will try to do better.

15 October 2009

Theme Thursday-Climate Change

To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.” --Rachel Carson

Water has the power to give and take life. Global warming is changing weather patterns throughout the world so that dust storms in June Saville's Australia are becoming commonplace. My love of the southwest comes with an understanding that the quest for water has been going on for centuries. The dams, while insuring the availability of water, have changed the environment, destroyed tribal burial grounds and ruins and caused the extinction of many types of wildlife. The droughts of the last decade have allowed a beetle to take root in many of the trees located throughout Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado causing them to become even more susceptible to fire and certain death.

I treasure my walks. It keeps me focused and close to what is real. The more people are allowed to experience nature, the more they will stand up and fight for it. Therefore, I talk and write about my hikes to whoever will listen! I contribute to causes that protect our National Park System, keep green spaces green  and protect our wildlife. Conserving resources, like water and energy, do make a difference. I drive less, carry my water to work in a reusable Sigg bottle, unplug and turn-off as much as I can whenever I leave my home and office.

Margaret Mead said it best, "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."


No one day is like another,
each tomorow has its special miracle,
its magic moment in which old universes
are destroyed and new stars created.


Been traveling on business --Chicago and Boston are amazing cities. While I didn't have time to sightsee, I did have time to think, exchange ideas and meet new people. I feel something new brewing- strength. The tumblers are all starting to 'click' into place. I am starting to see a new path and  possibilities. Very cool.

29 September 2009

A Wrinkle in Time-Madeleine L'Engle

When I posted the badge regarding banned books I wasn't quite sure who I would write about. You see, there are so many. I was shocked and somewhat embarrassed by the fact that I hadn't risen up, given the fact that I had read so many of them and not realized that they were banned. I was an English Major !!! I didn't know, so I read and talked about the books I was reading. So in a way, I did my part. Handing a book to a friend and saying, "you must read this."

So from that perspective, I chose a book that I received one Christmas as young girl, that captivated and transported me to a new place. Why? Madeleine L'Engle's book not only had a female main character that is the oldest sibling who is not exactly what she wishes to be but is also missing a father and just a little too smart for her age. Reading this book set my mind on fire and addressed so many questions in my mind. It was banned because it talks about the age of the universe and therefore, questioned religion. I didn't see it then and chances are, when I read it again, I won't see it. It is about the characters, Meg and her brother, Charles and their ability to succeed against all odds,

This is a book I have given to every middle aged child I know. Further, as I sent this book to my favorite children,  I noticed that  Madeleine L'Engle began a series called The Crosswicks Journals and twenty years later, I read her books again. I found hope, solace and possibility in her writing. I have pulled all of her books from my shelves and will read them again knowing that her words will bring me to a place I want to be.

Look at your book shelf and speak about those books you love---re-read those books you love and live.

28 September 2009

"This land is your land.." Woody Guthrie

"This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me" -Woody Guthrie

There is something about the great beyond that calls me and captures my attention. I feel blessed that I discovered a joy in walking through the woods, the wilderness and the rocks. My last post was about 'wild', the wilderness and what it offered to me. To me a new hike is like Christmas morning---the presents are under the tree but the tree is a few miles away!

So when I saw this program listed on PBS I felt Christmas came early. Check it out!

One of the wonderful things about blogging is finding kindred spirits--

Take a look at this site and the wonders that Pat experienced as they traveled through some of the great national parks. Pat's music tells me she felt the quiet majesty and the beauty. Enjoy!

24 September 2009

Theme Thursday-Wild

“When despair for the world grows in me, and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be -- I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought or grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” Wendell Berry

When I am in the wilderness, I feel a connection to the tree torched by lightening or a darkening sky as I walk.

I am wild as I move along the rocks and the red dust covers my clothes.

I am wild as I listen to the silence. I am wild as the leaves of olive trees or aspens whisper in the sunlight.

I am wild as I stand in the shadow of a hoodoo.

I am wild as I find my way home, tired and hungry, knowing that tomorrow offers a new path. Bliss.

More thoughts on Wild here.

PS-Researching this post, I came across the above-noted quote, found it vaguely familiar and absolutely perfect.  I realized a blog I read daily has this quote on its sidebar. Therefore, I must cite where I saw it first. Ruth's blog epitomizes wild in that it captures place, the love of nature, its surroundings and its the ability to offer moments in time and meditation. Take a look.

23 September 2009


One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.

- Sigmund Freud

Yesterday, I came home to let Max out and let him stretch his legs. Midday, a pb &j with a tall glass of cold milk , I ate my lunch and watched as the oldest puppy in the world circled the yard, accomplished his task and made certain his world was secure. It took all of twenty minutes, Max circling the yard and me finishing my delectable pb&j. I got him settled back into the house with the assurance that Mr. Jackson (eg the person who gives him treats) would be home in a few hours and got back into my car. I backed down my driveway and as I moved, I noticed something on the fence post. I slowed the car and realized it was probably the biggest praying mantis I had ever seen. I turned the car engine off and ran to get my camera. Running out of the house I turned the camera on and it told me "No CF Card." I started back to the house with intent of finding my card and by the time I reached my desk I decided that this wasn't a photo opportunity. I set my camera down and returned to my car and spent the next ten minutes or so just watching and being.

Just what I needed. Amazing.

21 September 2009

Monday Morning Wake Up Call

My good friend sent this to me to remind me that work and all that we work for will happen..small steps...hope and positive thoughts --chill out.

20 September 2009

One Good Thing

When eating fruit, think of the person who planted the tree.-- Vietnamese  Proverb

My dear friend, Elyce, despite an epic battle, lost her husband, Harry, to leukemia. Harry Purcell was an amazing and kind man. His spirit lives on in the people he touched.--magic happens when we all believe in the possibilities--Cherilyn Swenson from Santa Fe is running a marathon in his honor.

"For anyone who would like to to support the cause and/or follow along on my journey, you can go to my Team in Training webpage. I will continue to post updates about the training and the marathon, where I will proudly represent Harry. With gratitude and appreciation, Cherilyn Swenson"

Shadow Shot Sunday

Tent Rocks New Mexico...land of the hoodoos and a hike I never tire of..weaving in and out and upward to a brilliant sky.

More shadow shots here...

17 September 2009

Theme Thursday-Over the Hill

Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter.

Satchel Paige

I am in constant awe of the Southwest's beauty. The land is relatively untouched; the silence and the beauty is healing. On this day, Mr. Jackson and I hiked Little Horse Trail to Bell Rock Trail and halfway up Bell Rock in Sedona--about four miles round trip although we were convinced on the way back that it had to be at least six! The land and the history of the people who have walked it date back to 300 B.C. I cannot imagine my life without the experience of walking these trails and feeling the lives that have been here before me.

Bell Rock is one of the vortexes in Sedona where spiritual energy is released. Boynton Canyon, Airport Mesa and Cathedral Rock are the other sites known to possess spiritual energy. Having hiked through most of these locations, I can only attest to feeling really mesmerized by the surroundings and as a result, very happy and at peace. So, I cannot personally confirm the existence of this phenomenon. I do believe given the history of the people --this land has meaning and is sacred. On this trip I witnessed Mr. Jackson bounding up the trail to Bell Rock stopping only because I was nursing a sore foot and was fearful of my ability to make the trip back if I continued the climb. So, who knows?

He felt great, loved the landscape and would have climbed to the top.  For those of you who hike in groups you have witnessed that one hiker who charges ahead, tireless and oblivious of peril. I call that hiker the 'billy goat." It is an honor and a position to which all hikers aspire. Well, on this day, Mr. Jackson won the award!!

We climbed over many a hill and in these sacred places, Mr. Jackson and I will always be forever young.

16 September 2009

Washington Tea Party 2009

Warning---This post breaks a rule I set up long ago when a number of my friends were going into teaching and law school...."never discuss tenure or politics." There will be no photos or quotes that can make one think I may mean something else.The following is my response from an email from a friend that discussed his participation in the above noted event.

"Very cool. A great example for your daughters regarding our ability as Americans to speak freely and express our opinions.
However, I must first make certain you understand I voted for Obama and second, I believe healthcare rather than global warming or China’s surging economy, is something we must pay attention to now. The reality is that it won’t matter if we don’t have water to drink (southwest) or are drowning because of flooding (east coast)because the vast majority of us will not be able to pay for healthcare when we need it. Given our recent financial downfall and the amount of boomers getting ready to go into retirement—how is it that the current system can pay and not effect the younger population? The insurance industry has been one of the strongest lobbyists in our great DC—it is based on greed and not about treatment—Obama has not proposed a plan and that is largely due to the fact, call me crazy, but he has things like the financial system and the economy to figure out. That is not to say he should propose a plan and that is why so many people are up in arms.
We are an ageing economy. The real issue is if we don’t start thinking about what we can do and provide for the rest of the world we are &**^! What makes us as Americans believe that the rest of the world should provide the money necessary to feed our lifestyles? Healthcare certainly will not be part of the whole economic package –I am fairly certain that foreign countries, given the last eight years, will be very hesitant when it comes to funding our healthcare needs. So let’s just say I will join the march when it is about solidarity—not socialism---but rather about the best brains and the best ideas to move this very amazing country forward. Send ideas as opposed to the signs and the rhetoric—let’s get going before we live in a country that is not ours. Hugs -c "

Enough said. Hope and peace to you and yours wherever they are.

15 September 2009

A Moment in Time

I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing Light of your own Being.

- Hafiz

14 September 2009

Boynton Canyon and South

On our first day we were up bright and early. Our first hike, located in Boynton Canyon, was to Doe Mountain. A short hike with minimum change in elevation; it was a great start for us east coasters. The morning started out bright and sunny but as we walked, the monsoon clouds started to move in. 
In the summer months, the Southwest experiences a monsoon season which when hiking should be taken seriously. Thunder storms with lightning, hail and flash floods can make life on the mountain or trail more than you bargained for. Another thing to note, don't be fooled by the distance of those ominous clouds, lightning strikes can happen miles away and where the sun is shining. Given my experience hiking in the southwest in the summer, I have spent many of my hikes looking over my shoulder keeping an eye on the weather. The catch-22 is that you don't want to be caught on a mesa with lightning or in a canyon with the potential for flash floods, so hiking in the summer always keeps the senses alert and the adrenaline going.
 We were able to complete our hike and the skies cleared so we could view the amazing landscape.
Our reward for a great hike was a great breakfast. We ate at Kaiser's West on 89A in Sedona. They not only serve a great breakfast all day but lunch and dinner--solid place that has been there for years and really appreciated when one is very hungry!

A great start to a wonderful getaway!

12 September 2009

Theme Thursday--Rhythm

Rhythm Santa Fe style--summer time in the Plaza, where locals and tourists gather to listen to great music and dance the night away. Blues, zydeco, country, alternative and new world, we have heard it all there. After the music in the Plaza ends, there is always a live band playing on the balcony at the Ore House--The HooDoos are a favorite of ours.
One luscious night, Mr. Jackson froze as we walked across the Plaza, the chords of Samba Pa Ti floating through the air. I watched as three, count 'em, other men stopped and looked at their companions with this faraway look in their eyes. We all samba'd into the Ore House and shared a beer. Mr. Jackson and I walked down the aisle to this tune.
That's the beauty of Santa Fe-everyone dances to their own tune and it is just fine.

10 September 2009

El Pasatiempo

Today's the day!! The Burning of Zozobra begins at dusk.

Join in the festivities --watch it here live! Or check out last year's farewell to Old Man Gloom!

04 September 2009

A Rose

What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
Wm. Shakespeare

Taking some time to smell the roses...

03 September 2009

Theme Thursday-Beginnings

We ...are leaving on a jet plane... to explore the wild blue yonder and more...I love beginnings, especially those that involve suitcases and hiking boots!

02 September 2009

National Literacy Day-September 8th

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead

The ability to string together a few letters, understand a word and then a few more words to become a sentence, "See Spot run." was a noteworthy moment in my life. From that point on, I devoured what ever book was put within my reach. Like breathing, reading became a necessary function that enabled me to imagine places and people that were outside my world. The ability to read and as a result, spell and write, set my mind on fire and made the possibilities endless.

I owe much of my success and happiness to the ability to read--it built foundations of understanding,taught compassion, fueled dreams and offered a place of contemplation. Now more than ever I believe that education, not just in the US, but throughout the world, is the answer to many of our concerns.

What can we each do to help make this happen?--here's an example--one small step..imagine the possiblities.

01 September 2009

Julia-Bon Appetit

Named for Julia Child, this rose has a scent is like no other --citrus --think lemon vinaigrette or limoncello.
Delicious! Surprising and memorable--just like Julia.

31 August 2009

A Day at the Garden

Mom and I took a trip to the New York Botanical Garden to catch up and take some photos. What a great day! It is amazing that such a place exists in the middle of the Bronx. If it weren't for the planes taking off at LaGuardia, I would swear that I was in upstate New York. The garden is truly a gem. Speaking of gems, my mom continues to patiently try to teach me how to use my camera and resist the urge to 'point and shoot'. I do listen but when surrounded by the beauty of a place, I tend to click away.

Thanks for a beautiful day Mom.

28 August 2009


“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” Henri Matisse

The economy,healthcare,failing banks --it all swirls about us ----what if we focused on the good? Your child going to kindergarten, your ability to run that marathon or perhaps, your ability to believe in yourself.
Focus on what is important to you and believe.
With belief, anything is possible. Focus.

27 August 2009

Theme Thursday-Limo

This one is a stretch;-) but here goes...It's a new world people!! Line 'em up, no trouble finding parking and great on gas!

25 August 2009

New Mexico Treasures

Since Mr. Jackson and I could not be at the market this year, I put together a gathering of treasures we found on our last trip. Here's an overview:

carving of angel using cottonwood and tin--new mexico folk art

acoma pottery


17 August 2009

Call Me Jackson

Two years ago today, Mr. Jackson and I got married. I am a lucky lady and he's my sweetheart!

Happy Anniversary Honey!


16 August 2009

"A different kind of miracle..."

We are bombarded with news and information on a daily basis ---most of it bad and stressful. This Saturday Mr. Jackson and I began our weekend ritual--sipping coffee on the patio going through the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, focused on conquering the crossword puzzle, when I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal.

As I read about the plane and helicopter crash that occurred over the Hudson River between Hoboken and New York City last weekend,a sense of wonder and admiration came over me. This article isn't about the why or how it could have happened, but rather about the families that were effected by the loss of life and how they are coping and moving forward.

I looked up and saw a clear blue sky not unlike the sky the pilots were flying that day. The event and the loss of life are incomprehensible, yet the families left behind have chosen to reach out and respond in a manner that made me take pause, be thankful, acknowledge the good and what is possible.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those lost and left behind.

13 August 2009

Theme Thursday-Festival

Indian Market in Santa Fe New Mexico is an annual art market beginning on the third Thursday which runs through the third weekend of August. One of the largest American Indian markets in the country , it is recognized as the largest juried show of American Indian Art in the world. I have been fortunate to witness the event for ten years. There is music, art ,food and an atmosphere that is nothing like I have experienced any where.

Mr. Jackson was introduced to the market four years ago and every June he starts talking about what we are going to do and who we are going to see.

Santa Fe is a special place. Indian Market brings many people to this little town of adobe buildings. For some, the experience keeps them coming back.


The diversity-native american,latino,hispanic and anglo cultures co-exist.

Art-a community which is recognized as one of the art capitals of the world.

Community-A sophistication among adobe buildings which resonates in its food,culture and politics.

It's a worldly place without traffic and the noise. A place of refuge and discovery. The highest state capital in the country at 7,000 feet, Santa Fe is a glorious combination of the artistic and the historic cultures that have lived in this country for centuries. My secret is now yours--


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