Monthly Archives: July 2010

To Infinity and Beyond

Yosemite is not exactly “to infinity” but there is a world of difference between daily life at home, and daily life in Yosemite.  Camping is definitely the way to appreciate the finer things in life, like the smell of pine, the chirping of birds the smell of a campfire and the hum of mosquitoes.  I was attacked by mosquitoes the first night we arrived and sported welts for the remainder of the trip, even after dousing unhealthy amounts of organic, environmentally friendly plant-based mosquitos repellant on every square inch of my body.  I tried wipes, spray and lotion but the mosquitoes loved them all equally.

I have to learn to get into the zen of mosquitoes (the little blood-suckers) but since I have not mastered that yet, the respite in the wilderness did not provide a sense of serenity for me.  I enjoyed the hikes and the amazing, huge waterfalls and the special family time, but I think that the next time I go camping, it will be during a cooler time, before mosquitoes hatch.

Returning to civilization was amplified by my attendance at a 4-day long course teaching the integration of the arts (music, dance, drama and visual arts) into language arts and math instruction.  This was a great class and I came away with many creative ideas which I plan to use this year, but residing for 6 hours a day in the middle of the hot valley (110 degrees) in a run-down middle school, is a far cry from Yosemite, which brings me to the title of today’s post.  How can I get beyond?  Beyond living day to day, paycheck to paycheck, beyond the normalcy of my life?  I have to take the leap!  It is not enough to just desire to write, I have to live the life of a writer.  I have found my first writing class and it is time to sign up.  The infinity is my creativity and imagination and I am prepared to open the tap and let it flow.

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Preparing for the Great Outdoors

The countdown for our camping trip has begun and the last-minute gathering of supplies is upon us.  Time for lists and enlisting help!  This is our first official camping trip in years, since the girls were younger and we were able to escape from the trappings of life more easily.  Now, work schedules are unforgiving and three adult daughters have agendas of their own.  That being said, it is a major accomplishment that we actually got all of our schedules to coincide for five days.  Thursday morning we leave at dawn for the drive to the ever-enchanting Yosemite!  This is the first place I ever camped, back at the age of 24, having just met my future-husband and willing to try new adventures.  The park holds a dear place in my heart.  We took our oldest daughter there when she was three and watched her play in the low river, ankle-deep.  Another trip found the two younger girls captivated by the multitude of pine needles perfect for constructing small villages and houses, which kept them occupied for hours.

What is it about being in the forest that brings the imagination forward?  I am looking forward to a reprieve from technology, a break from schedules and breathing clean, mountain air.  I am excited about our new smaller tent, just for us.  The girls will have their own tent this time.  We are meeting my oldest daughter and her boyfriend as well as his parents, whom we’ve not met.  It will be a family affair, complete with campfires, stories and s’mores.  This is the stuff of memories; the ones we remember and the new ones we are creating.

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Cleansing the Body and Soul

If only it were as easy to cleanse the soul as it is to cleanse the body.  Not that the detox cleanse is without thought or a bit of work, but the amount of work it takes to confront memories, to delve into unresolved issues of the soul and to come to terms with current reality is much more complicated.  I am sitting in what was my mother’s living room on the sofa from our soon to be gone mountain cabin.  I am surrounded by an atmosphere thick with emotions and tinged with slight sadness.  This is the room where two summers ago, I sat on my mother’s couch, rubbing her tired legs, reading her stories from the StoryCorp book I got her for her August birthday.  This is where we shared secrets and memories, losses and dreams.  This is where she revealed her feelings and fears to me and while I am grateful for that time and the fact that I devoted the summer to her and really being present while with my mother, I am angry that I didn’t get more time, ask more questions and hold her more.

Loss is a tricky partner that pokes its head up at various times in our lives.  It is two-faced and can be cherished or disastrous.  Loss, as in weight loss, is usually a welcome friend not easy to obtain and the loss of toxins in the body-as in detox cleanse-is a challenging but rewarding experience.  The loss of a person, however, is heavy, pronged with memories, and unsaid words of love.  The only way to prevent these feelings for me is to participate in a voluntary cleanse of my material life, and to focus on the emotional part of my life-that which is important.

I have two categories for my personal cleanse challenge:

To Keep:

Family (relationships)


Friends (relationships)


Sentimental items

Legally required papers


Books I will read again

To Let Go:

Clothes that are outdated or don’t make me feel good

Knickknacks that have lost their meaning

Unnecessary gadgets

Unnecessary papers

Books that are a one-time read


That is a good, manageable start.  Five items.  My new motto being:  “Don’t delay, a shelf a day.”





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