Archive | August, 2011

Day 243: it’s butterfly season

31 Aug

It’s butterfly season.
Those brightly colored spry little creatures, are flying all around the Vineyard, through the hedges and into the trees.

It’s butterfly season.
Because they are here, they have arrived, they are fluttering through yards, in and out of neighborhoods and floating through the wind right before my eyes.

It’s butterfly season.
I know this, because, I see them.  They have been here all along, even though I never once noticed the caterpillars — but I can’t help but notice the beautiful butterflies.

Every time I see a pretty little butterfly soaring through the air or waving on a bush, I think of  that sad story of a downtrodden girl, sitting on the edge of her bed weeping about her sad, sad, life.

Her wise mother threw her wise motherly arms around the sad girl and reassured her that the girl, in fact, was a butterfly.

She just didn’t know it yet.

The sad girl was confused. She didn’t feel like a butterfly.  She had lost all hope of ever flying again.

But, what the wise mother knew, that the sad girl couldn’t yet see, was this:

Before a butterfly becomes a butterfly it must rest, it must cocoon itself away. From the outside it just looks like the caterpillar is resting, but on the inside a great change is happening, a total metamorphosis, an old life is ending for a new one to begin.

What the wise mother knows, the sad girl with soon find out.

One day, the sad girl will wake up and realize she is no longer sad.  She is no longer a girl.  She is actually a bright, beautiful butterfly soaring through the world with her perfect butterfly wings.

It’s a beautiful butterfly story.
Good for your head, heart, body and soul too.
And it’s true.
It might be about me, or it might be about you.

Either way, it is butterfly season.
I promise.  Just look out your window or maybe in the mirror. 

Day 242: what gives you support?

30 Aug

If you’ve followed along the course of this year, you already know that I love the work I do with Women on Fire.

Tonight was no exception.  We aired a live chat broadcast from Women on Fire Studios with Debbie Phillips discussing How to Create Endless Support for Yourself and Avoid Burnout!

Tonight, Debbie asked this question: “who gives you support?”

And I made a long list in my head.

When I was a young girl I thought support for women was basically a brazier, an over the shoulder boulder holder, otherwise known as a bra.

“Support” was never really openly talked about when I was in my formative years; as something to give out, to practice, to fine-tune, and a plan of exactly how to establish it in my own life.

Being a supportive neighbor was a clear lesson taught at home ~ specifically when we borrowed an egg from one neighbor or lent a stick of butter to another.

Being a supportive friend was an important lesson taught in school ~ namely when my third grade teacher took every single girl out of the classroom, left the boys in their desk seats, and lectured us girls in the hallway to be nice to each other, to stop forming cliques, and to only say nice things about each other.

Being a supportive citizen was taught in Girl Scouts ~ especially through community service badges.

Building my own support system was never really a challenge.
It was a given and given to me.

It was modeled in many ways, through my supportive parents, friends, community members — the kind of support that tends to grow up around you when you live in a family, a neighborhood, a school, a community for 18 years.

But, then, somewhere in the process of growing up, moving away, and bouncing up, down and around on the ladder called career, I soon learned that “SUPPORT” does not come standard with a job description.

I found that jobs change, bosses turn over, friends get transferred, neighbors move on to cheaper, brighter, more-windows-with-a-better-view-apartments or a house in the burbs.

Sometimes competition rears its ugly head.  And, sometimes, sadly, people say one thing and do another.

In absence of living in a bubble of support, I had to learn to piece together my own semblance of it through a mentor here, a co-worker there, and a morning phone call with my friend Sara on the drive to work everyday.

With cup of coffee in one hand and steering wheel in the other, my morning commute was turned into a support call.  While driving in and out of cell service zones and dropping calls all along I-90, Sara and I would question everything, review our daily dilemmas and give each other advice.

It was a daily dose of incredible support.
But, even still, I never once thought of making a plan, a real strategy of how to put an entire SYSTEM of support in my life.

And, that’s why I love working with Debbie. 
Everything she shares through Women on Fire builds inspiration, strategies and support for women.

Here are some of Debbie’s key points that she shared tonight, when it comes to giving yourself support in order to avoid burnout:

1. Make a plan for what you need to get through a stressful time. Do you need friends? Family? A therapist?

2. Dedicate yourself to eating healthy and exercising.

3. Set boundaries for yourself. How much are you overextending?

4. Feed your creativity. Creativity is a powerful antidote to burnout.

5. Learn to manage stress. You have more control on stress than you may think.

As Debbie went over this list* tonight, it occurred to me that The Promise 365 has actually helped me build an entire SUPPORT SYSTEM over the course of these 242 days.

I thank you for being a part of it, for being here with me and hope you know I am here for you too.

Here’s to 123 more days to go!

xo~Jamie

(*This list is just a sampling of what Debbie shared tonight, but it’s a great checklist.  If you want to find out more, please check out Women on Fire’s website at www.womenonfire.org)

Day 241: a terrible storm, a beautiful day

29 Aug

There was a terrible storm last night. 
It kept me up through the wee hours of the night.  In the dark, I tossed and turned and violently rocked back and forth.

It wasn’t from the tropical storm forces of Irene.
It was an inside job.  Food born.  From the forces inside my stomach.

We ate something bad yesterday during our hunkered down, hurricane hide-away.  Who knows what it was?  Because when you stay inside ALL DAY LONG there isn’t much to do other than eat, sleep, watch movies and eat some more.

I personally watched three movies (thank you Amazon Prime):
You’ve Got Mail
Management
I Love You Phillip Morris

I watched the limb on a neighbor’s tree break away from its trunk and fly into their yard.

I also watched the clock from about 9pm to 6:30am from a reserved seat in the bathroom, atop a throne I did not wish to be.  I had distinct flashbacks to Day 106 and our Castor oil cleanse.  It was a rough night.

But this morning everything looked different. Better. Brighter.

Both storms passed through, and for the most part, everything here is still intact. There is debris on the streets, fallen trees in neighbor’s yards and a general bit of mess to clean up.

Even the downed sunflower blooms, tattered and torn, look a little bit prettier in their newly found home ~ a vase which Justin placed next to my computer screen.

Overall, it feels like luck watched over this little lady island last night.

And, in a way, just getting through the night makes everything look a little more beautiful to my head, heart, body and soul. 

All is certainly more cherished. And, I, more grateful. 

Day 240: watching the wind

28 Aug

Given all the reports of power outages I am sending this off early today.  Keeping my promise.

It’s one thing to hear wind.
It’s another to watch it.

As I sit here waiting for downgraded Tropical Storm Irene to arrive I can not only hear the whisperings of its impending arrival, but I also see all the trees swaying to the rhythm of her beat.

Part of me wonders if it is easier to sleep through a storm like this at night.  To dream it away?  Or is it better to watch it play out it true technicolor motion during the day?

Just which one is better for my head?

Either way, I know the storm will pass.
While it will leave something in its wake, there will be bright blue skies tomorrow.

And, that, reminds me of what my father always told me in my worst days of uncertainty — whether it was a break-up with a boy, a bad grade on a test, losing a game of basketball or losing my lunch over a cancer treatment — he always reminded me to stick in there, let it blow over, keep my head high, because there was one certainty: “the sun will rise tomorrow”.

Here’s to tomorrow and to everyone getting through today.

xo~Jamie

Day 239: how to prepare for a hurricane?

27 Aug

How do you prepare for a hurricane?
Apparently you buy stuff.

The surge before the storm is most certainly at grocery and hardware stores. And, I have done my part by purchasing my fair share.  Today’s list included batteries and making a stop at the ATM to load my wallet full of cash.

I haven’t bought clothes or shoes. But none of that really seems to matter when facing the force of Mother Nature.

It is still calm here.

The tennis courts are empty:

The boats have been moved to the inner harbor and the outer harbor is bare.

The ocean is calm and the sky is gray.

Everything has slowed down to a crawl.  There is nothing to do now but wait.

While waiting I stopped in at a neighbors for a brief second which turned into a 45 minute chat.  I sat on her couch, drank tea, and shared stories.  After leaving I thought — why haven’t I done that before?

I suppose that is the one gift Mother Nature brings with her fury.

Maybe it takes extra ordinary occurrences for extraordinary things to happen.

Ah… there it is now. The rain. She is almost here.

Speaking of that …if I lose power over the course of this storm I will post my blogs once we regain electricity. I am keeping my promise.  I will write every day even if I can’t post it here.

May you stay safe.

xo~Jamie

Day 238: f*ing friday :: funny

26 Aug

TGIF.
Today continues the weekly series, F*ing Fridays, which will coincidentally occur on Friday. I mentioned some of my favorite F words back on Day 5, including: Fearless, Fabulous, Fine, Fun, Faith, Freedom, Forgiveness, to name a Few.

Last week I dove into the word(s) Finish Line.

Today’s F*ing Friday is dedicated to the word:
Funny.

As in, sense of humor.

I am notorious for messing up song lyrics.
You may remember my rendition of Katy Perry’s Firework song on Day 44.

Tonight, I’ve been singing Come On Irene purposefully changing Come On Eileen to my own hurricane appropriate lyrics, in honor of the She-Ra headed up the east coast.

Today, while President Obama prepared to cut his vacation short and leave the island, the rest of us ran around purchasing last minute items.

For me, it was acquiring things we can eat if we lose power for a few days, including:

3 bags of carrots
3 tubs of hummus
2 bags of rice cakes
apples, peaches, kale
rice chips
2 cans of soup
4 cans of beans
frozen chicken (to grill if we can’t cook)

As I left the store with bags upon bags in my arms I thought:
“This may the closest to I get to a Back -To-School shopping feeling this year.”

It wasn’t just errands and purchases today. I also scavenged around for my un-fair weather friends …my pink and green rain boots.

Just in case.
They have come in handy during other key moments this year.

Everyone else, who is left on the island, seemed to be doing the same today too. Finalizing errands.

Those who weren’t at the grocery store were waiting in line in front of me at Mobile for one last gas up before the storm.

After the super cheerful  gas attended filled my tank (you’re not allowed to fill your own tank here) he gave my car a good pat on the trunk and said: “Have a good hurricane!”

Funny boy.

While the coast line may be loosing its sense of security, at least our sense of humor is still in tact.

I might be singing an ironic song tonight, but I do hope everyone plays it safe this weekend.  Because there’s nothing funny about what could happen.

May the last laugh be on this f*ing hurricane and not all of us.
Toora Loora Toora Loo-Rye-Aye

Day 237: really. really??

25 Aug

An earthquake and hurricane all in one week?
Really.  REALLY?

(Hint: that is best said in your best Weekend Update tone of voice.)

We actually saw Seth Meyers from SNL fame at the Martha’s Vineyard Fair last week. Really.

Justin had his photo taken with him.
Really.

I was shy and ran away pretending not to notice either of them.
Reeeeeally.

Funny thing about that: I saw Seth at Cronigs just the day before.  For a moment I thought I knew that guy in the grocery store aisle.  Walked right by him, smiled and left the store not believing it was “Seth Meyers” until I REALLY did see him at the fair the next day.

A week before that I passed Meg Ryan walking down the street in Vineyard Haven. Well, I’m pretty sure it was Meg Ryan (hint: lips).

I have yet to see POTUS or FLOTUS on the  island this week despite the media frenzy and traffic jams.  And, now with a hurricane headed our way I’m thinking I definitely won’t be seeing either but will instead witness one presidential storm.

I generally don’t care about celebrities; don’t need autographs, don’t want to interrupt their life, their family time, their space.

I suppose it’s hard to be a famously recognized person anywhere. 
But, here on Martha’s Vineyard, it is a generally accepted fact of life, celebrities live here in peace.  It’s kind of like the alligators in Florida — you know they are all around, but, you don’t go looking for one.

Really.

But, I do know someone who doesn’t blink an eye at brushes with celebrity. She could care less about any of the dressings of celebrity style, über vacation homes, trend du jour.  It’s safe to say she doesn’t give a damn about what you buy, collect, cherish, or possess.

Her name is Irene and I think she’s headed this way.

Day 236: can’t buy me love

24 Aug

Floating in love I am, right now, after a bubble bath and completing Day 10 of the Chopra Center 21 Day Meditation.

Today’s work focused on love.
As we were instructed to remember moments of complete love — total and utter acceptance, our hearts enveloped in love from a moment in our past — I first thought of all things …Barbie.

I zoomed back to a moment in time when I was upset. 
I was not invited to a birthday party. My older sister received an invitation and off she went to the land of cake and candles, but I had to stay home.  So my mother consoled me by offering something so very exciting, even better than  cake and ice cream, she offered to play with my Barbie dolls with me!  And, we did.  I felt like such a special little girl at home with her mommy.

Then, my mind zoomed to sunset on the Pacific. 
I was sitting next to Justin after fifteen years of being 3,000 miles apart, living two separate lives on two different coasts, before our hearts reunited.  On that rock, on the Oregon coast, with Justin’s arm wrapped around me, and the sun setting and the waves zig-zagging across the sand, I began to cry.  I sobbed heavy tears and he consoled me asking if I was sad.  I replied that I wasn’t sad, I was really happy.  I was more than happy, because I felt like for the first time in forever, I was home.

And, then, my mind zoomed forward to Pup’s wagging tail.
Sometimes in the morning Pup jumps up on the bed (now with a little help post back injury) and buries his nose between the two of us.  With his front paws stretched out near our heads and his nose under a pillow, his tail wags back and forth up in the air, like he, too, knows he is home.

A Moment with Mommy
A Sunset on a Rock
A Wagging Tail

Maybe not stuff dreams are made of, but certainly a recipe for love if you ask me.  And, that, I know I can’t buy at any store.  Nor, would I want to.

Because the memory making kind is so much more gratifying.
And always fits just right.

Day 235: natural disasters and chocolate

23 Aug

There are disasters, then there are natural disasters, and then, there are earthquakes.

My first green smoothie was a natural disaster.
On Day 47 I attempted a foray into the greener side of the world and fell into a bit of a blender bender.  In the moment it tasted awful and walloped my already bruised kitchen ego.

This of course, was just a little blip, just a small setback, a wee little ditty of a disaster.

I have lived through worse.
Disasters of all kinds; the divorce-kind, the dream-over kind, the “congratulations you have cancer” kind, and the worst: get-on-a-plane-your-mother-is-not-going-to-make-it-through-the-night kind.

Having survived all of these, I can report there was nothing natural about any of it.  They each shook up my world, turned it over and dumped me out on the other side.

Today however,  I felt a new kind.  An earthquake kind.  The kind that makes the couch wave like a flag under your bottom.

For a moment I thought I was dizzy, or imagining things.  I saw the room move out of the corner of my eye, then saw the table in front of me lift off the floor, go up, and then settle back down again.

I thought to myself, you are really losing it now. 

Because I was tired.
We played in the sun yesterday to pretend to be beach bums on at least one of Justin’s days off.  Then, after catching blue crabs until dusk, we  stayed up way too late to catch the late showing of the movie The Help. While the motion picture was SO worth staying up for (and true to the book!), we didn’t crawl into bed until after 1:00 am.  Then, Pup, our beloved dog, surprised us with a 6:00 am diarrhea attack right next to our beloved bed — which, unfortunately, no one can sleep through or after — not even Pup.

So I was dragging.
My eyelids were barely lifted off those crevices on my face called “eye-sockets” when the room began to move.

As the world turned, my mind raced.
Am I losing blood pressure?
Am I going to faint?
I have fainted before and this felt distinctly like the three seconds before my body hitting pavement scenario.

But, then, I didn’t faint. It went away.

I looked around and Pup was still asleep, dreaming of steak tips I’m sure, as if nothing ever happened.  I walked outside the house and looked up and down the street — nothing.  Everything seemed normal; people playing tennis, joggers passing by, tourists riding bikes.

So I dismissed it as my tired brain playing tricks on me.
A few minutes later I scanned Facebook and saw that word:  EARTHQUAKE.

Suspicion confirmed.  The earth had moved under my feet.  The couch did wave under my bottom. The table did go up, then down again.  Pup did sleep through it all.  But, I was not crazy.

I guess that’s the funny thing about disasters of all kinds — you think you’re going crazy the exact moment the earth begins to shake, crazy like, this is NOT happening to me.

Tonight, with reports flowing that the 5.8 earthquake left mostly shock and awe in our hearts and minds, but little damage in the streets, I am comforted.  The ground seems stable again.

But, I know, like everything else in life, there is constant change underfoot.
And, that, really just makes me want to eat a piece of chocolate.

Day 234: cows and chickens laughing

22 Aug

Justin is cooking dinner right this very second.
The dinner he is cooking, he also caught this afternoon as we walked around Great Tisbury Pond.

We were crabbing — or at least Justin was — while I was hunting another kind of find out in the wild with a camera instead of a net.

And, I found a few rare views:

A man on the hunt:

A bee busy at work on a day-old bloom:

And, a ship offshore at the ready to guard our president:

All rare sights for me, all caught in my photo net to keep forever.
Unfortunately for the crabs, they were also caught and brought home to join us for dinner.

Which makes me realize, I don’t know the last time I caught and cooked my own food in the same day.  Do you?

If it were up to me to catch and cook everyday, instead of waiting in line for it at the grocery store, or picking it from the produce aisle, I would be a verified vegetarian.

Did you hear that?  I think somewhere in the world there are cows and chickens laughing at me. I’m sure of it.

But I know one thing, in the kitchen a few doors down, Justin is turning 15 crabs into a blue crab soup that will make the Chesapeake Bay jealous — and me full.  Which, if nothing else, is good for my tummy.

(At least until I go grocery shopping tomorrow.)

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