Friday, January 29, 2010

dying for...

This week I fell in love with a story. The book is called Dying for Cake by Louise Limerick and I am currently riding out the grief of having finished it and desperately wanting more.

It's a story close to my heart. A story about 5 mums in a coffee group who are vastly different in their personalties and mothering styles but regardless, close friends drawn together because of their common ground of maternal lovin.

I loved the style in which the author wrote. So so real, laugh out loud funny and not too many big crazy words for us more "simple folk" (me!)

My newest friends names are :

Joanna. Who was the one the book is named from. she was dying for a piece of cake. Overweight and dowdy, but so in tune with her 2 boys needs. she was the most traditionally motherly figure and really the true hero of the story and of the group of friends although she never knew it.

Susan. Educated sharp business women. always aware of the time, itching to get back into a more fulfilling role where she felt in control at all times

Clare.  My favourite character and probably the one I most relate too. was extremely artistic and passionate in her youth but gave it all away after her child was born. she begins to realise it's part of who she is and she needs it back. I love Clare because she is always late (much to Susan's disgust) and as I read of her day and how things made her inevitably late I found myself right there with her in full agreement and empathy.

Wendy. Seems very 'normal' but actually a bit of a dark horse. This is one area of the story where I felt uncomfortable and slightly ripped off as things are left far more unresolved than as if it were real life.

Evelyn. Her baby is missing. she is silent and in a psychiatric ward. Although I have no personal experience with psychosis I am amazed at the authors interpretation. I love how Evelyn's thoughts are expressed. and in the end I was left with a feeling of such pity for her and you'll have to read to understand why but a feeling of awe after she did the the most self sacrificial thing a mother could do, even though her own family and friends could not understand her at all.

I wish it were a series. Or a weekly catch up over coffee and of course cake.

Jimmy Choo and cocktails too.....

I am celebrating my blog birthday and giving away a gorgeous Jimmy Choo bag. Come and join the party.

Thursday, January 28, 2010




Watch face necklace with silver chain, diamond in the center of watch face & an old key $12 + $3 s&h # jw 1

Watch face necklace with gold chain, diamond in the center of watch face & an old key $12 + $3 s&h # jw 2

Watch face necklace with gold chain, diamond in the center of watch face & an old key $12 + $3 s&h #jw 3

Watch face necklace with gold chain, diamond in the center of watch face & a dangly dove $12 + $3 s&h #jw 5

Watch face necklace with silver chain, diamond in the center of watch face & a dangly eiffel tower $12 + $3 s&h #jw 6

Watch face necklace with a bronze chain, diamond & florette in the center of watch face & a dangly French hand in bronze also $15 + $3 s&h #jw 8

Black Watch face necklace with bronze chain diamond in the center of watch face & a bronze French hand $12 + $3 s&h #jw 9



Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I just made soap. In anticipation for the warmer weather, I made some glycerin soap and scented it with a mixture of pineapple, coconut and plumeria fragrances. I added dried coconut on top (or on the bottom depending on how you place it). The scent? I call it "Day at the Beach".

It's a nice mild scent, and the dried coconut exfoliates. Perfect for both the kitchen or bathroom. It's almost 4 ounces in weight.

This is my first giveaway. I'm giving a bar to the 5th person who emails me at . Put "Soap - Womans World Magazine" in the subject header. I will contact the winner for mailing information.
All the Best,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

~New Things Happening for the New Year~

It's been a while since I have posted. The year has gone by so quick. My son started 10th grade and my daughter started kindergarten. I decided to close my online Home & Garden boutique because my line of French inspired home accessories that I have been designing since May of 2009 have done so well. I thought it was better to put my focus there. I am so happy I have this Blog as well as my Blog. I still get to share so many wonderful things that I love, such as flea markets, antique shops, friends in the business, my new love of pottery! This past weekend I gave my Blog a completely updated NEW look!!! I hope you'll come by for a visit.

It's so great that as woman we can support each other and be there to inspire one another. That is what I love about Blogging. We are all exposed to people that we would have otherwise never known. We also get to see the many issues in life that can benefit us to be creative and be become better people. I wish you all a wonderful New Year!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 21: Live in Harmony with Each Other and Celebrate the Differences

We are separated by countries, cultures and religions, but we live in one world. Whenever I see the spinning globe on my sidebar, I am reminded of that. When I see it there with all the countries, it seems so small. The little dots on the globe represent people who have read my blog. Those dots are also so small, but all the people I have come in contact with are so important to me.

When I was very young, I wanted to see the world. I wasn't comfortable only knowing my little corner of it. It seemed so limited and the world seemed so vast. When I was in my late teens, I lived in Spain. That was my first time to ever live outside my corner of the world. When I arrived, I was determined to embrace as much of the culture as possible, learn the language and take in as much of the country as possible. Since this was my first time overseas, I was so scared when I arrived at my host family's house. Everyone spoke Spanish a mile a minute, I didn't understand. Everything was completely different from my corner of the world. How would I survive?

Time passed and I started to use my Spanish everyday. I started to learn and understand about the culture. I started to love everything about it and love the people. By the end of my time there I didn't want to leave.

This one experience sparked my determination to see and understand more of the world. I traveled down to Mexico and taught English there, ventured further down to Peru and Bolivia by myself and completely meshed with the people and culture there. At one point in Peru, I was so far away from everything I knew. I was in a very primitive place which did not have much exposure to the outside world. I stood out like a sore thumb among the native people there. Instead of casting me out, they grabbed my hands and included me in their dancing and singing. They were celebrating the new harvest.

(I traveled alone all over Peru with just the small bag you see. Dancing in the Harvest Festival with the locals in my early 20s)

I went on and traveled all over Asia, including India, Hong Kong, Thailand, Tibet, China, Nepal, Korea, and Japan. I lived in Japan for two years and Korea for 8 years. I met my husband, a former Buddhist monk, in South Korea. Everywhere I went, I became completely immersed with where I was.
(My traditonal Korean wedding in May 2003 in South Korea)

After living many years overseas, I decided that I missed my little corner of the world. I realized that it is a beautiful place. I also realized that the entire world lived in that place. I didn't need to go far to experience the world. I got a job at a local community college and now I teach English as a Second Language. I love my job. My students are all so unique. They teach me so much. They all come from different countries, cultures and religions. The people in the classes I teach are so joyful and kind to each other. There is such harmony in my class and yet, we are all so different. Maybe it is because we share and celebrate these differences.

(Students in my class representing over 15 different countries)

I live in Seattle, Washington. On my street there is a Mexican family, a Nepali family, and an Indian family. All countries I have visited in the past. Every summer we have a block party. We block off the street and have a barbecue in the middle of the road. People bring dishes of food and we set up a table in the street. We bring our own chairs and just sit around and talk to each other. I feel so grateful to live in a place with so much diversity. I feel lucky to have the world in my backyard.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Hour at the Milk Bar

Let’s talk lactation. Just unbutton the topic… and put it all out there. I’ve got to tell you…it is an issue that evokes a squirt or two of passion out of people. I had no freaking idea the kind of rallying both sides of the booby issue were capable of. There are people for it and people against it. And both sides fiercely latch onto their positions, digging in their high heels to debate it. Honestly, until I reached the tender age of twenty-seven, the idea of using my boobs for anything other than attracting adult members of the opposite sex, never really occurred to me. I assumed nipples had no other value than simply being a reliable temperature gauge. I distinctly remember having dinner with a group of college friends at a TGI Friday’s back when everyone I knew, myself included, was young, single and flirtatious. One of the attractive guys casually pointed out an exhausted looking lady nearby, who was obviously wearing a starving five year old child underneath a small fabric camping tent. Junior was screaming aloud his intentions of “MILKEEEEEEEEEE” from under the wrap, his legs kicking wildly as she apparently fumbled for the trap door on her ginormous bra. The rest of us painfully avoided looking anywhere near that table, the same way you try not to stare at people who subconsciously pick their noses in public. I remember the guy saying something like, “Seeing that….makes me lose my appetite… for all kinds of things.” The whole table laughed in response. I paid no mind to the lady or to the comment, dismissing it all as something that didn’t really apply to me. If I had a form to fill out…under breastfeeding I would’ve written in N/A. Not applicable. Or maybe, no thanks. Or…perhaps, not yet. So instead, my mind effortlessly wandered into the realm of thinking about the kind of pins I would wear if I worked at a place like that. Maybe one that would even say N/A. I smiled at the thought. Yeah. That was me. I didn’t notice and I really didn’t care. If people did it – great. I didn’t have a problem looking away. If not, no big deal. Bottles worked. I was neutral.

Fast forward. I meet a hot sexy guy and steal his heart…and then his last name. Pretty soon it’s inevitable that everyone seems to be begging the question. And they start asking in a shrill, intruding voice, “When you two going to have a baby?” Everyone asks. Then I start asking myself. And of course, hot sexy guy who is madly in love with me, is game with whatever. So, we throw caution to the wind…and pretty soon a plus sign appears on the pee stick. Sick thing is I still have it. How’s that for being sentimental? Now I have no idea what I’m in for… so I search my memory for friends and relatives who have born offspring that I have had contact with in the last few years. And a repressed memory faintly appears. Picture an overjoyed, but tired looking mom holding a newborn with an open mouth. Then I see the nightmare nipples…ones that are dark and ominous and frighteningly large. It’s like seeing someone with a glass eye or something weird like that. And I am suddenly freaked out that my perky and proportionate breasts will morph into something hideous and grotesque. But then I think about how much I already am in love with this little person who I’ve never met. How I would do anything for this little heaven-sent gift, even if it means losing one of my greatest assets.

So my boobs got bigger. And then even bigger than I could have possibly hoped for. I bought a huge bra with trap doors and nursing pads to stick inside. FYI: those little circle pads can double for maxi’s if you line a few up and are seriously in a pinch after getting a surprise visit from Aunt Flo. Especially…when you haven’t seen her in over a year. But luckily for me, there was no freak-show nipple changing. The belly button thing didn’t happen either. Whew! What a relief. Then… the much anticipated baby pushed its way out into the world to be adored by all. And I decided to give breastfeeding a try. And I will admit that the idea of bottle washing and mixing of formula sounded like too much added work. How’s laziness for a motivating factor? See I had already increased the amount of laundry I was doing- tenfold. So I was in the market for efficiency.

In the hospital, a lactation specialist came by for a visit and a consultation. I tell myself half listening, it can’t be that hard. Plus, I have a very high opinion of my abilities when it comes to overachieving at things. Seriously… boob in mouth, right? Not exactly. Turns out there are special ways to hold the baby. Ways to hold the booby. Ways to get the baby to open its mouth. Ways to tickle the cheek. Ways to massage the milk out. And then there are remedies for getting what I called, “hotboob”, a painful reminder that when it fills up…get that milk out…even when you’re so tired, you forget who you are. They would fill up like water balloons, and as soon as my ears intercepted a cry, I would be leaking like a spigot. It really didn’t matter what kind of cry. It could be a TV commercial, a dog whimper, pretty much any kind of high-pitched cry and I was ready to serve drinks. I wanted the menu to sound impressive, but I only served one beverage, what I called the “milktini”. A drink that was created on the foundation of me eating everything organic and nothing overly spicy. The ultimate, gassy, BF killjoy turned out to be the evil vegetable known in grocery circles as broccoli. And my patron left me the biggest tips imaginable. I knew I had done my job well by the amount of Pampers we were flying thru.

If you think about it, thousands of trees have been utilized in the construction of books on this very subject. Knowledge is power, right? Maybe. In my experience…I got impatient and irritated at the rigid concepts being hurled at me. So I did what I do when I convince myself that stressing out is not the answer. I tossed expert opinions aside along with everything I felt was not working, and just decided to figure it out. Just me…and of course, the most adorable little milksucker I have ever seen. And every three hours we figured it out together. All it took was something I had lots to give. Patience and time. It’s the byproduct of leaving the fast-paced world of impatient strangers to slow down and appreciate what matters most in life. And in that start to parenting, I got to know every dimple, every expression, and every sound that accompanied what had once been “Not Applicable”. I had become the deliriously in love bartender and waitress that looked forward every day for a year and two months… to happy hour at the milk bar.


All parts of this article and website, including but not limited to graphics, design elements, quotes, text reviews and verbiage are copywrited and for the exclusive use of xcetra communications and can not be used, in whole or part without explicit written permission. Copywrite © 2009-2010 by xcetrachick. All rights reserved.

The little Prince of Georgia...

I knew you were stirring about 12 hours after conception. How did I know? It is a puzzle. It is similar to waking up one day speaking fluent French when you had never heard a word of it whispered before. But I did know and as my body made way for you, I recognized I was approaching what would be the most important job I ever have.

Everyday as you grew and swam inside my tummy I committed to many things. Two of those things were: I read out loud to you everyday. I started at the beginning of The New York Times Complete Book of Knowledge and read you stories about the history of rock and roll, ballet, economics, modern science. And everyday, I put headphones on that growing abdomen and played you all of my favorite songs. (Sorry about the Ludacris song that slipped in the mix. That’s not appropriate for babies.) And I wonder if these daily acts influenced your strong proclivity towards words and music. And might explain how in a perfectly normal fashion you said the word paleontologist yesterday, when you were still two.

And in your first minutes of life, we held you and you looked right in Daddy’s eyes. Having spent limited time with babies before you came, we couldn’t believe how small and fragile you were. Or that we made you. And here was something no two other people could create. And there you were, and the minute you began to unfurl your happiness into the world around us, I knew I wasn’t ever going to be the same.

I have been fortunate to be successful at many things I have tried. (And the things I am not highly successful at i.e. beating Daddy at golf or surfing do not keep me from trying.)

But the thing I want to be the most successful at is you. Being a Mom was a great aspiration but I never dreamed of fluffy wedding gowns and white picket fences as a girl. I wanted to know how to kick a soccer ball further and how to perfectly lip sync to Madonna. Oh, and how to argue effectively. You’ll see. But getting to know you has given me reason to really evaluate myself, and ask what kind of leader I will be to you. I am primarily good. I have responded with instincts I didn’t know I had. I have displayed patience that baffles my entire family. But they know the reason is you. But you bring goodness that is pure and true to light. But I am far from perfect. And in my life, I have been impatient more often than I should. And I have been unkind and ill-tempered at times. That is why I hope you only inherited certain parts of me. (And certain parts of Daddy while we on the subject.)

I made you a list and since you are turning three today, it is still early enough for you to select only the good qualities and positive influences we can share and discard the other.

Please inherit from Mom:
Sense of: humor, adventure, loyalty, protectiveness of others
Love of: music, athletics, laughter, travel, reading, cooking, and singing.
Interest in: education, diversity and culture, social issues, charity/philanthropy
Interest in style
Interest in fitness
Amazing memory
Dancing skills
Genetics that make Grammy look like she is my sister
Appropriately placed sarcasm

Please do not inherit from Mom:
Favored use of the F word
Interest in being right
Interest in debating (which is a nice word for arguing)
Interest in Rap Music (unless it's old school)
Interest in negotiating. Everything. (Or do inherit this and do NOT attempt to use this skill on me OR Daddy. Your grandparents can fend for themselves and thus are fair game.)
Interest in finding loopholes to get around rules
Interest in acceleration especially in vehicles
Amazing memory you will attempt to use against me at some point
Interest in frozen twinkies. They are good but actually disgusting.
Sissy scream upon seeing a snake
Biting sarcasm
Smart-assery (There is a difference between sarcasm and smart-assery.)

Please inherit from Dad:
Amazing golf skills
Ultra-high metabolism
Amazing eye color (yours look like mine at times, and his at times)
Tolerance for change
Emotional fortitude
Attention to detail
Pragmatic approach to all things
Vast interest in the world and seeing many parts of it

Please do NOT inherit from Dad:
Morning grumpiness and when I say morning I mean ALL morning
Facial expressions that do not hide true feelings especially when those feelings are not nice
Poor, poor dancing skills
Hatred of making the bed every day
Fairly high interest in Tequila
Over-zealous interest in Vegas

It is a rather slight list, my little love. And quite workable I hope.

Thank you for being the best reason in the world to want to be a better person and an amazing Mom. I will do my earnest best to meet those goals.

Happy 3rd birthday. We love you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Feeling Small in a BIG world...or...."An order of heartache with a lot of Light on the side please."

It has been quite a the world, with my friends, and in my home. I am not even sure where to start. Not a lot of pics tonight, lots on my heart, hoping for a clear mind to share. So get into your after-school clothes, grab a bevy, get comfy and sit with me a while as I sort out the events of the week with you and share how the Light shines bright in the darkness.

It is so easy to feel small when big things are going on around you. Big things such a natural disasters that wipe out thousands...leaving even more destitute. Or when someone you love is going through unspeakable tragedy you can barely get your head around it. These are times when I feel very small...but not insignificant.

The images of what is happening in Haiti hit my heart deeply...not just because of this immediate situation but also because of the the generations of poverty that these people have already lived in, the oppression of a corrupt government, and the isolation from the modern world. Until you have walked in that kind of poverty you can not know the lives they live. I was watching a news report and the well know reporter was shocked and amazed at the attitude of the Haitian people. It the depts of their despair they find the strength to not give up, to sing Haitian songs of joy and praises to God. She said there was a sense of hope and going forward in the air, and yet they sleep at night, in the streets that they are sharing with the dead. This indeed is the face of poverty. In poverty you do not have an attitude of entitlement, you have the attitude to live moment by moment, day by you rejoice in the day that you is what places like Haiti teach us who live in the modern world. I wish it did not take such great tragedy for us to unite as people, I wish that we could always be this mindful of those in need, I wish....

Out of the ashes will come a re-birth...not the kind that we hope for, because this trouble in Haiti is really beyond human re-pair...but there can be a spiritual and emotional re-birth in man that will send a message of love out into a broken world. The Haitian children sing....let us join them in songs of celebration as we work hand and hand to heal that which is broken.

Thus week in my group of mom friends there was great tragedy. One of my friend’s brothers was found monday night at work with multiple stab wounds on his upper body. He is currently in ICU, on life support, fighting for his life...if you believe in the power of prayer, positive thinking, or healing please keep him in your heart. It is an unbelievable tragedy that my girlfriend’s family is just starting to wrap their heads around. It is unclear at this point what happened. The family goes down to the hospital every day, not wanting him to wake up and not have one of them there. My girlfriend and her husband are the only ones, in her family who walk in faith...and that faith is now carrying them through allowing them to shine their light in a dark time. Their community of friends and fellow faith walkers surround them with love, prayers, food and help with their children. This out pouring of love spills onto her parents and they are overwhelmed with the love and support from these “God Lovers”. I saw my friend’s mom this week...I call her Nanny. I said “Nanny can I come and give you a hug?” (Nanny is not big on hugs at the best of she replied from the other end of the hallway, “No thanks Catherine, not today, I am a reck.”...”Fair enough Nanny,I respect your hug boundaries, that is why I asked. I am hugging you from over here.”...” And I can feel it too.” ...ahhh, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I am grateful for the stillness that I am fearlessly walking in. It allowed me to welcome my girlfriends, the morning we found out, to come and pray together for our friend and her family. I was still in my pjs...I did not even have a bra on morning wash up....not ready for company, but I was not fazed. You know there is always that desire to quickly flit around getting things in order...but I did not...I felt totally at peace inside myself that this was perfect as it was and nothing mattered more than being together at this bring our lights, our colours together to shine through this dark occurrence.

And it was then, while we were praying that it was revealed to me that my home was to be used as a home of refuge, a home of prayer, a safe house for those in need. A place for one to come to find peace and love...what a gift!

The stillness has also given me more time. Time is not rushing by me...things move slower. I am doing the same things and yet I have more time on my does that work? On Wednesday I was out for most of the day doing typical Wednesday errands. This Wednesday, after working in The Scientist’s class room I was to go to Burnaby to do a supply run for the studio. I also needed to stop at Ikea. These places are a considerable drive from our home and it is usually a day outing. But without a thought of time I went to my girlfriends first, to see how she was doing before she headed off to the hospital. Another friend was there and The Horticulturalist had dropped by as well...what a good man. We talked together until she had to go...and then I was off. I did what I had to do and even made two extra stops and still had plenty of time left over. I was not stressed or time watching , I felt at ease and like I said did even more than I set out to do. How does that happen??

I even had that day of photography at the afternoon to shoot...where did that come from?

I am in awe of the mysteries of this life.

Though there is great sadness, so there is great joy and love....that is the gift....the gift from The Divine...a gift from God.

And then there was the cleanse...briefly on that as it is really miniscule among all these other events. But I did it...I did it for 5 days and now I will ease my way back into the real world. It indeed was a great experience. Again I felt a great peace doing it and I felt the time was right, thus I could get through. I had no headaches or bad hunger...though I have to say I used the laxative tea once...and once was it. Not needing a lot of help in that area and, yeah, lets just say that was not such a good night!!!! I was feeling pretty “crappy” one might say.

The house cleanse got put on hold, but will commence next week. I have boxes that want to be filled.

When I was pondering tonight about this post and what this week had been filled with I did have a sense of being very small, and unsure about all that I was feeling. There is sadness in my heart tonight and yet there is great joy for some of the amazing things that came out of that sadness. I was unsure of how to get that across...

Well my inspiration came from The Scientist tonight as he was eating some toast before bed time and sharing with me the new song he was learning at school. It was so special, singing praises with him up at the kitchen table (we are the only one homes tonight), I felt so full and the moment was so great, I was reminded that I was not that small and that everything is relevant and that there is ALWAYS hope. Like the Haitian children sang so my child sung and reminded me of the Great Love and Light that governs this world.....and loves us more than we could possibly know.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hello Ladies!

What a fantastic year it has been for this site,
2009 was the year I decided to start this project and I havent looked back since!

To all the wonderful contributors, your stories continue to make me laugh, feel inspired be informed or most  importantly give me a different perspective..... your perspective!

I am constantly amazed by you all as individuals and love being apart of your world.

This site has definitely proved beyond a doubt what I set out to which is that EVERY woman has something special to contribute and when we all pool our knowledge,  stories and experiences there is no limit to what we as woman and as a collective can learn and achieve!

Im looking forward to what the new year brings for us all and dont be afraid to share!

If you would like to be on the sites mailing list or to join our group of contributors please email me:



Tuesday, January 12, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 12: Don't Give Up, The Best Is Yet To Come

I can do it, I can do it, I can do it. Only 353 more days to go.....oh, Lord! This was what I thought as I sat down at my computer this morning. Fortunately, I have a bulletin board at my desk that has little pieces of paper, messages, letters, pictures, postcards and notes that encourage me to keep going.

This lesson from today is brought to you by a fortune cookie...that's right! According to my mother, my grandfather, who is no longer with us, use to also save the fortunes from his cookies and pin them up. It must be hereditary, because I do the same. He is was one of the most inspirational people I've ever known. He graduated from MIT, worked for RCA and helped with the development of the colored TV. After retirement, he traveled the world helping people in other countries develop in electronics. He was very positive and he had a very opened mind. He always believed in me and he often sent me articles from the Christian Science Monitor related to whatever I was doing and wherever I was. He donated to have a church built in his community and he also attended a multi-faith conference at Stanford University where he saw the Dalai Lama and other leaders of different religious organizations. I think he was ahead of his time.

Also on my bulletin board is a letter from my grandfather dated 12/06/96, he died three months or so after this letter was written. He wrote, "I was very pleased to learn in-depth of your travels and interests. You are a remarkable person and I am extremely proud of you. I like your ideas of writing a book. If possible, I would like to read it." I am sorry he won't get a chance, but his words seem to spur me forward. They shoot out at me, reminding me to keep going.

So, I made a bookmark of fortunes from cookies at various restaurants I have visited over the years. I know, it sounds a little wacky...but I like it. Some of the fortunes come from the Yogi Tea bags. I saved the ones I liked and taped them to a piece of handmade Korean paper. One of the fortunes on that paper reads, "Don't give up, the best is yet to come." Hence, our lesson for today.

I also have a card on my bulletin board from a friend. She gave it to me when I decided to quit the company where we both worked. It was my first job after college. It was sort of an "ideal" job...good pay, benefits, vacation time, 9-5...but I felt I was suffocating. I was ready for something more after less than a year working there. That was 1993, I believe. The card read:
"Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it."-Goethe. I'm happy to say that that friend is now an avid reader of this blog and one of my biggest supporters today. Thank know who you are ^_^!
I took a leap of faith. I quit my job and worked in a few restaurants locally, traveled to Mexico to teach English for a year, went on my own down to South America and hiked on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world.

(hiking on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru in my early 20s)

I went all over Asia, lived in Japan and even climbed Mt. Fuji.

(Climbing down from Mt. Fuji, Japan after the sunrise on the top)

I met a monk who became my husband, traveled to India and the Taj Mahal, opened two yoga schools in South Korea...I just kept going!

(The Taj Mahal, India)

(First yoga school, Seongnam, South Korea)

So when I feel like giving up, I remember these things. I remember that so many people believed in me. I remember that whenever I took a leap of faith against all odds, because it felt right, I was rewarded. I remember that all the obstacles, money and time it took to see my dreams become a reality were worth it. The more I started living like this the more it became a way of life. Even if there is still a faint little voice in the back of my head telling me that it would be easier to stop, I don't think I can. I've walked too far down this path and now I feel I want to share it. Here are some other quotes worth requoting:

Never give in. Never. Never. Never. Never.-Winston Churchhill

I used to work at the International House of Pancakes. It was a dream and I made it happen-Paula Poundstone

Quit now, you'll never make it. If you disregard this advice, you'll be halfway there-David Zucker

Always listen to the experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it-Robert Heinlein

If you never try, then you'll never know just what you're worth-Coldplay
(On the top of Mt. Fuji, Japan)

Peace friends......may you all be happy and peaceful and live the life of your dreams!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Copper Tone

A few years ago my hair styling guru took a very long vacation which forced me against my will to find another stylist. Oh, it may be immaterial to some but who cuts the coiffure is an issue of matter to me. I went to the most popular man in the place and he was fabulous with a pair of shears even if each haircut dominated the entire morning because he was a frequent-pause-to-tell-a-story type of guy. I just made sure that I quickly accepted that my 45 minute slot would NEVER finish in under 90 minutes. Never.

Even though I missed my former stylist and pined for his return, the replacement soon created stylist-client pleasant bliss. Until the incident.

I have long locks. I have hair shorn above the ear (Dorothy Hamill phase but then again in graduate school when a smooth talking and uber-sexy Italian man in London talked me into it….I didn't love the haircut but oh how I loooooved the haircut provider). JohnnyMac is not obsessed with hair and while I am sure he prefers it long, he is a modern man and realizes its my hair and I shall do with it what I like. And since I already live in his cave, the long hair is merely for aesthetics and not something by which to drag me around.

I once dated a man, he of the worst gift giving ever, and once at a party a friend of mine from college was talking about my very short hair back in the day. His comment (which took me by surprise) was that his wife would never be allowed to cut her hair. I am sure (not a bit) he was joking but over one more sip of martini I said, “Well, let’s just break up NOW, Archie Bunker.”

So one day as I sit in my new stylist chair, I tell him I want highlights. Not chunky- monkey -Cindy Lauper style highlights but just-back-from-Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat-sunkissed-around-the-temple highlights. He concurred but added the highlights would look smashing if we also lightened the whole coif. Mmmmm. Lightening the brunette? I vacillated between yes and no. He indicated we would go just a shade or two lighter. OK. Lighten away my Doyenne.

Hair color is not a quick process as many of you know. And by "know" I mean, know from a friend telling you. I am sure those blond tresses are your goldeny blond birthrights. And since it is not a quick process, time slowly ticks by but I look forward to what lies under all that potion.

And then the big reveal. He, smiling like a kitty on a brand-new satchel of catnip day, turns me in the chair to the mirror.

WOW, I say.

And there are several kinds of WOW.
WOW like I just found a smashing pair of Christian Louboutin’s in my size on sale for 100.00.
And WOW like I just heard someone talk about their jock itch.
And my WOW from the chair was NOT the shoe on sale kind of WOW.

Him: What do you think?
Me: It’s lighter (said with poker face which is rare for me.)
Him: It’s gorgeous
Me: Ummmm, it’s copper
Him: It’s multi-tonal
Me: It’s multi-tonal copper
Him: Its auburn. –ish.
Me: Copper. In fact, excellent camouflage for PENNIES.
Him: Darken it up a bit?
Me: How quickly can that occur?

Luckily for me, I learned my hair lightening lesson and the yummy icing on the cake was my stylist eventually returned.

And once, just for fun, I asked him about highlights.
“In your hair,” he asked. “NO.”
Perfect. I will keep him forever.
Visit my blog:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 8: Create Space

I want to share these lessons with you. I am challenging myself to writing 365 lessons...a lesson for each day of this year. You can check these lessons out on my blog:

Hope you will take this journey with me and follow along. If a lesson resonates with you, please leave a comment. Wishing you all a wonderful year. Peace, Kathy

As time passes, I find myself more and more protective of my time and space. These are two things that people seem to complain that they don't have enough of. I think it takes effort to make room for these in life, but it can be done.

When I was younger, I felt funny if I didn't have anything to do on Friday or Saturday night. I felt the need to plan my weekends. If I didn't have anything planned, I worried that I would regret that I had spent my weekend doing nothing.

Now, "nothing" sounds very appealing.

These days, I don't make many plans. I keep my schedule opened and leave empty space. There are things I do every day, like write, meditate, eat, etc., but these are just part of my daily routine. I like to be spontaneous. This weekend a friend came up from California. I hadn't seen him since last June when my husband and I visited him in California and took a trip down the coast.

The thing I loved most about our trip down the California coast with my friend, is that we didn't really have any plans, we just went with the flow. When he visited this weekend, it was the same.

I like to create space in my life for the spontaneous to enter. Sometimes I find answers I am looking for in this space. I am also protective of my space. I carve time out for myself everyday. I think this is very important. There are many people who have families and obligations who may say that this is impossible. I believe it is not impossible, it is necessary! If you have a family, maybe you can ask a spouse to take care of the children while you go take care of yourself. Maybe you can make a ritual of going to the health club, even if you don't workout, you could spend time alone in the jacuzzi/sauna/etc. If the weather is nice, it might be good to take a blanket and pack a picnic and go outside. Or you could carve out an hour every day where you get outside and walk.

There are times when you need to take responsibility by working or taking care of your family, but creating space can give you a wider perspective of your life. It takes you out of the closeness you have to what you are doing. It takes you out of the drama. You can look at your life from a fresh perspective, from a distance.

I like to do yoga and practice meditation. I find that these activities are wonderful for creating space around the every day drama of my life. I also love to walk. I try to do these activities on a regular basis.

I think it is also important to protect my space. Often times friends call and want to get together. People start to make demands on my time. If it feels like a demand, I find it's best to say, "No, I'm sorry I can't. Maybe some other time." These days I try to feel my body and sense whether I feel over extended or need space. I do this with all areas of my life. I am currently working on a book, so I decided to reduce my teaching hours this quarter. I try and keep my life simple. Many people may choose money over time, but I think time is the biggest luxury. By choosing time, I am also choosing space.

If my schedule is tight and I am overextended I become a slave to time. Even if I earn a lot of money, it is hard to fully enjoy it with the little time that is available.There's no time to think about dreams and ideas because I am like a hamster on a treadmill running faster and faster in circles. If space and time become priorities, I get perspective. I get off the treadmill. I see my life clearly. I have the space to create the life I want to live. I have this space because I have created it. With this space, the possibilities are infinite.

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Love Me Tender"

As you may or may not know, today is Elvis's birthday.
When I was in the eighth grade I was mildly obsessed with Elvis.
I say mildly in comparison to the people theat turn their homes into mini-Gracelands but in comparison to kids my age it was more than mild.
I lived and breathed Elvis.
I had a grand total of four (4), count 'em, Elvis CDs that I listened to night and day.
I only listened to Elvis music because Elvis music was the only music that mattered!
But then someone told me that Elvis music wasn't the only music and I needed to expand.
And I did.
Now, I can't remember where my Elvis CDs are, if his music is downloaded to my Zune, or even when the last time was I listened to his music on purpose.
I guess that just goes to show you how a person's taste changes.
Long live the king and thank you very much!
P.S. My grandma shares her birthday with Elvis's death day!

CANADA.........& GIO



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Canadian Giveaway!!

Hey lovely ladies of Woman's World...happy New Year to you all. Come on over to my part of the world, by clicking on the title of this post, and enter my giveaway...would love to see you!

love and light to you all in 2010

I'm Running a WHAT?

After approximately 150 days of wedded bliss, I have realized something incredibly, fearfully crucial:

My husband knows exactly what makes me tick.

Okay, that was common knowledge. Kind of a side effect of being attached to someone's hip for life. In slightly more detail, what I realized stands thus:
My husband knows exactly what makes me tick.
And sometimes he uses it to convince me to do incredibly ridiculous things.

He visited me at work a few weeks ago with a familiar glint in his eye and a familiar smile on his face. Not to sound too newlywedish, but the fact of the matter is that the man has exactly six smiles, and the one slapped across his face was the one reserved specifically for when he's feeling mischievous.
It is a dangerous smile.
It is the smile I see before he does things like tell me he's adopting home brewing as a new hobby.
It is the smile I imagine he had before he threw himself out of a plane while going skydiving in his late teens.
It's a great smile. It always leads to fun.

"I have a new goal, baby!" he says, all energy and enthusiasm as I straighten some board games on a high shelf.
"Oooh, what's that?" I wrestle with a super-sized Monopoly board.
"I want to train to run a marathon."
My eyebrows make a beeline for my hairline as Monopoly lands on the shelf. "A marathon? When?"
"Well, later in the year, not for awhile. I'm not going to kill myself training for something six months away, that's just stupid."

I toss the idea around in my head as I pull some Blockus boards forward on the shelf. It's not completely insane--he is, after all, a police officer and therefore in need of being fit. He has a runner's body, that soccer physique that still drives me nuts almost seven years after I first laid eyes on him. And he definitely has the self discipline, taking into consideration his past fervor while training for Marine Corps Officer Candidate School ("You should see me!" he told me one day over Instant Messenger while I was still in college and we were still only friends, "I'm super jacked!")

I finish my straightening and step down from the chair I'd been standing on, "Well, I think that sounds like a great idea!"
"And, well, I was thinking, we could train together. Run together. And you could do, like, a half marathon or something at the end." He smiles a big, wide smile at me, trying to look encouraging.
My eyebrows shoot up as I tilt my head to the side, "Heck no, if we're running together, I'm not settling for some wussy half marathon. Oh no, no, I'm doing the full thing with you! And I might even beat you!" High talk from the girl who quit the middle school track team because her asthma acted up and she got shin splints a week into the season.
He smiles, "Alright, it was just a thought. I'm really excited though. I'm going to go look at places we can run." He gives me a quick kiss on the cheek. "I'll make dinner too. What do you want?"
"Um..." I was just beginning to realize that I'd walked right into his trap, "I don't know. Something runner-y."
"Alright. See you at home! What time do you get off work? I love you!" And he bounces out the door, exuberant.

And that is how my husband, being fully aware of my competitive nature, convinced me to run a marathon. In 311 days. Holy cow, what have I gotten myself into?