30 April 2009

Theme Thursday-Water

Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.

Sarah Ban Breathnach

I can hear Etta James singing. "At last..." It seemed that winter would never end. We had our first really warm days this past weekend. The trees are in full bloom and the tulips are swaying with the breeze. The cherry and pear trees' pink blossoms mix with the green pollen of trees' unfolding leaves. Here in New Jersey, spring is a moment that leads into the heat of summer. Take time to witness the renewal and the beauty. Listen to the symphony.

21 April 2009

Earth Day

This weekend a neighbor chose to remove a tree. It was a maple, most likely a swamp maple that has a limited life span and becomes dangerous as it ages. If if fell it would have caused major damage to at least three houses in the neighborhood. It was sixty to seventy feet high,thirty to forty years old and took an entire day to take down. As I watched this brave man determine how next to proceed, the saddest things were that this tree was blooming and a memory of some 15 years ago when the trees on each side of my street met each other like two hands with fingers interlocked. As I watched the tree taken down I saw evidence that parts had been affected by disease and therefore, the decision by the homeowner while heartbreaking, were necessary.

The swamp maple in my back yard has been talked to many times during nor'easters and bad summer storms. Despite its ragged appearance and its annoying tendency to send whirligigs in spring and fall, we have a deal --it will continue to shade my backyard as long as it is able without sending major branches crashing onto the cars parked in driveway and I will fight to keep it standing.

Road work and age have taken many of these trees and have been replaced with flowering pear trees which are now in bloom. While pretty, the flowering pears cannot replace the majesty of a great old tree.

When I moved here in 1994, there was that type of tree right across the street. Its trunk was probably four foot in diameter and its height, sixty feet tall. A beauty. Many a spring and summer evening were spent sitting on the second floor porch with my sister and her partner discussing life, work, my nephews, all the while the branches of the great tree blending with the sunset. It was a beautiful tree that succumbed to the drought we had in 1999. We cried when that tree was taken down but knew given its leafless branches in June, that it was time.

Thankfully many towns, as has mine, have adopted replanting new trees on property owners land as opposed to town land (sidewalks)to lessen the impact of road and sewer work that has to be done in older towns.

So for now, we are left with our memories of the great trees and the hope that comes from planting new trees.

As I write this thunder is rolling through the sky with lightning not unlike that I have witnessed in New Mexico. Stepping outside I watch the stand of sixty foot evergreens shimmer and see a hawk fly into the light. Not bad for a town that is just 15 miles from Manhattan.

Perhaps, this Earth Day we should all take a walk and relish the 'green' that is in our world,notice that the 'green' is in fact living in spite of its environment and then think about what it is we can do to further its progress.

Imagine your world without the shade of a tree in the heat of summer or the feel of green grass beneath your toes or your children's toes...think about what it takes for that tree to survive and the grass to thrive. If we each take that moment to see and understand a world without 'green', then the steps will be clear.

16 April 2009

One Voice

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

Margaret Mead

I believe in sychronicity---in reading my favorite blogs I noticed that a conversation regarding dreams was developing, one about the dreams we have while sleeping or realizing a dream as witnessed by Susan Boyle's amazing performance.

Susan Boyle--Read each blogger's thoughts as well as hear Susan's gift:



Dreams and their ability to educate, reveal or just make you think:



So after reading, listening --I look forward to my nightly dialogues during sleep as well as admit to crying each time I hear Susan sing. The possibilities that exist if we just put our selves in the moment and just act on our dreams--amazing.

15 April 2009

Top 20 Reasons You Need to Take a Hike

20. There is an amazing world outside your cubicle or office that doesn't include phones, a computer, your blackberry, iPhone or even better, your boss.

19. You know you need to exercise but can't find time to go to the gym.

18. Fidgeting on the chaise lounge or beach towel is a given.

17. Quiet is a sign you have seen in hospitals, museums and libraries.

16. The mountains climbed so far are metaphorical, material or worst, sisyphean.

15. The call of the wild is the sound you make when another deadline looms or the lout next to you gets a promotion.

14. The travel catalogs entice you but somehow can't seem to get the heart pumping.

13. Walking is the best medicine for anything.

12. It is about the journey, no matter how many times you walk or hike a trail.

11. Between miles 2 and 5 you will forget that you are exercising and about anything else that has been cluttering your mind.

10. Your body will thank you, though it doesn't feel that way as you trek.

9. No matter where you are, you will see more and meet more folk walking then you do in a car or tour bus.

8. The call of an eagle protecting its nest.

7. The quaking leaves of aspens and the shimmering leaves of olive trees.

6. The sound of the wind through a forest of evergreens just before a thunderstorm.

5. Earth and its age evident as you hike a winding trail, layers of sediment displayed on a wall in shades of white, brown and red.

4. A waterfall appearing as you round a corner, fragrant with wildflowers.

3. Fog rolling in as you begin a 10 mile hike and clearing midway to reveal the coast and celtic ruins in sunshine.

2. The weight lifted from your shoulders because you have left it all behind on the trail.

1. And finally, after spending 6-8 hours hiking, walking and sometimes, stumbling, you can eat and drink what ever you want!

14 April 2009

National Poetry Month

"Spring is like a perhaps hand"
E. E. Cummings

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and
changing everything carefully
spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and
without breaking anything."

What poem lights a fire in your heart? Share it.

Spring is poetry in the making-the fragrance of the earth, lilacs waiting to bloom...

13 April 2009

New Mexico-First Conversations

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." – Goethe

New Mexico was a place so foreign to my existence when I first started to read about it. Red Rock, Mountains and high desert. My first visit was in May 2000 with Backroads. My trip brought me to a place I had dreamed of for many years and I was thrilled to be there. The minute I walked out of the airport in Albuquerque I sensed something magical.

Once I went north to Santa Fe, I not only saw the beauty of the area but also witnessed the fury of the Cerro Grande Fire which damaged sections of Los Alamos, Bandolier and the Puye Cliff Dwellings.


Almost 50,000 acres were damaged and the Puye Cliff Dwellings remained closed until 2008. I hope to get there on my next trip.


A sample itinerary is pretty much the same as it was when I traveled with Backroads.


With one minor difference, because of the fire, the guides had to re-arrange the scheduled hike based upon where the fire was and the level of smoke in the area. So that meant the level 4 hike at the Rio Grande was one of the first hikes we took. Did I mention that Santa Fe is at 7,000 feet altitude and I am from the east coast where there is lots of attitude but no altitude?

The hike started out easy enough –a couple of miles over flat terrain, beautiful azure skies without a cloud or a hint of forest fire, then the switchbacks to the riverbank of the Rio Grande stood before us.

A thousand feet down and my favorite part, a thousand feet back up. Talk about a good workout. I made it. That is the best thing about hiking, my body is spent but somehow it still says “Wow.”

The smell of smoke was constant. While in Santa Fe, I remember sitting in the plaza and looking up at the mountains, the smoke plume enormous and flames running through acres. It was then and when we visited Taos Pueblo that I felt an overwhelming sadness. The guides did an amazing job of keeping us safe and found ways to keep us entertained. Still, I was desolate, because after all, this was a place I had dreamed of for 20 years and couldn’t ignore or explain this emotion.

It took hiking throughout the southwest for the next three years to understand. The sadness I felt was about the land, the past inhabitants and their connection to the earth. New Mexico has 19 pueblos, distinct cultures that have survived in varying degrees, invasions, wars and disparate cultural influences.

By walking through miles of countryside, I listened and found a place that to this day feels like home.

12 April 2009

Springtime is here !

Happy Easter!!

The rain stopped and the music started --Mr. Jackson's friends flew back for a spring time party.The bird feeders were empty and they began to call to him. As he fills the feeders, he sings and they sing back. Spring is coming!

06 April 2009

'Think Green Live Green'

It is up to us ...more green sites/ideas--




BFF sings the blues

Actually she is not singing but achooing! and down with the flu. After our trip to the spa we promised each other that we would continue our journey to fitness. Since we live fifty miles from each other, the goal is to email each other to keep each other on track and to schedule monthly hikes and such. Email is a new thing for her. For years, I have been sending notes to her husband’s email and he would advise her that ‘she had mail’. Pretty good deal if you can get it. This is the very same man who talked us in from his laptop and got us to the spa on time. A gem.

Anyway, when we got home she actually sat down at the computer and signed up for an email account. Ok, she probably had some help from hubby and her 16 year old daughter, but the point is…she did it. When she didn’t answer my email, I was not surprised. So I checked in and was advised by his gemness, that she was in bed sleeping away the blues that only a springtime flu can bring.

So I am writing this post knowing that tomorrow her hubby will once again advise her ‘you got mail!’

Here’s hoping you feel better and ready to move it soon, kiddo.

05 April 2009

Earth Day 2009

“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” Wendell Berry

It’s that time again. April 22nd is fast approaching. What will you do?

Here’s some thoughts/sites to get you started –





Think and live green.

Take this job...

"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."
Walter Winchell

Last Thursday I attended a retirement party for a woman who worked for me as an assistant for nine years. She went on to work with another three or four more people for an additional five years. She is a mother, a wife, a grandmother and raised her hand when it became apparent that the company I work for would begin to make cuts saying, “Pick me.” She saved another woman’s job.

The party was small and exclusive, mainly all of the women who work in her position. These women are the support and the machine that gets it done. I was honored to be invited and in their presence. They have brought me through many tough times and always are there to give me the push, the smile needed to make it to where I wanted to go. They have a strength and sense of humor that comes from dealing with ‘type a’ personalities on a daily basis.

She completed my sentences before they were spoken and made my day. It's been almost five years since we worked together, I still and I will miss her.

02 April 2009

Time to Spa

Yes, my friend and I packed our bags and headed to the Catskills to the New Age Health Spa in Neversink, New York. We arrived on a Sunday, missed our exit but made it on time for our first full body treatment. An hour or so of exfoliation and detoxification, put us in the right frame of mind to greet our really healthy dinner, ignore the below 20 degree evening and look forward to the next two days.

We were moving towards that magic place —where all the cares of the world fall away.

Before I get too carried away, let’s get something straight, New Age Health Spa is serious about getting you in the right place physically and mentally. That is primary goal and it works. It was our second visit. I am more and more impressed by the emphasis on health and peace. Come here and no matter your concerns, the staff will treat you as an individual. If you are zaftig or thin, old or young, they love and treat their guests, like family.

For those of you who spa, I will put the environment in perspective given the Catskills context. It’s like good Manhattan deli. For example, Zabar’s and Barney Greengrass aka the Sturgeon King. Both excellent with magnificent food, the difference being as an employee at Barney’s once told me, “We don’t do fancy schmancy.”

What makes this place special is not the fancy rooms but the people, the environment, the attention to the food, the treatments and the classes offered. The staff is well trained and considerate of every guest’s needs. The treatments are diverse and as good, if not better than any I have had in the fancy schmancy spas I have been to. The vegetables comes straight from their greenhouse and the meals are carefully thought out so despite the fact that I might want a slice of pizza or a nice brisket sandwich on rye for dinner, I devour the stuffed portabello mushroom, frittata or salmon gladly, quickly forgetting about the unhealthy food populating my mind. Morning starts with meditation, a brisk walk and then a form of yoga, then breakfast at 8.

Located on 280 acres, I can only imagine the hiking possibilities since I have visited in the cold months. I will explore the next time.

Finally, the peace and quiet of the place allow my friend and I to reconnect with our bodies and each other, putting aside work, husbands and the stress of just living. Time slows down to a crawl and we breathe listening to the wind chimes or the fire crackling in the sitting room. In the end we leave feeling like Peso, the owner’s dog, blissfully happy and connected to the now.

Check it out…



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