election day 2018

Today was about karma yoga, the yoga of action: voting.

(I’ve been practicing yoga for 20 years and I’m one of those people that manages to squeeze yoga into nearly every conversation. I’m working on being less annoying about it.)

My sweetheart and I headed to the local polling place early so we could vote as soon as it opened at 7am. As we queued up outside with about 2 dozen other people on the sidewalk, we chatted about why we couldn’t just vote via mobile phone and skip the whole standing in line thing.

But here’s the thing: I love this part. I like walking to the polls, chatting with neighbors while standing in line, making small talk with the volunteers, and filling out the ballot. I like that the whole process is one I can’t rush, even if I tried.

*****

A few minutes before 7, a woman stepped outside and announced that the polls would open at 8. The crowd responded. “Wait, no. It’s at 7!” I might be reading into it, but the collective tone was a little tense - not angry, exactly. More like impatient. The moment passed pretty quickly when she realized her mistake and assured us that the polls would open at 7.

*****

 the local polling place in my neighborhood.

the local polling place in my neighborhood.

 Some people stop to smell the roses. In Boston, we stop to check out the fall leaves.

Some people stop to smell the roses. In Boston, we stop to check out the fall leaves.

 Part of my walk to the polls follows Boston’s Freedom Trail.

Part of my walk to the polls follows Boston’s Freedom Trail.

october 2018 // my favorite photos

Lately, I catch myself rushing. Rushing to finish yoga so I can go home and walk the dog. Rushing to walk the dog so I can hightail it work. Rushing from meeting to meeting. Rushing to get off one plane to get on another. Scrolling through my news feeds to catch up with as many people as I can, as fast as I can.

Just me?

I like the idea of taking the time to stop and smell the roses. ( To take stock of the good moments, successes, and highlights. I did this a couple of times last year by sharing my favorite photos for the month. It seems like a good idea as any for a post, so here goes: some of my favorite moments from October.

 october 31, 2018 :: sunrise over lake chelan. coffee does taste better with a view. pretty sure I posted a similar photo this time last year, too.

october 31, 2018 :: sunrise over lake chelan. coffee does taste better with a view. pretty sure I posted a similar photo this time last year, too.

 october 7, 2018 :: rich and I often joke about living in an Airstream someday. For the longest time, we’d talk about  what it would be like, and eventually talk ourselves out of it. Then we met a couple who bought one….and then sold their house. It turns out we have a hard time finding reasons why Operation Airstream Livin’ is a bad idea.

october 7, 2018 :: rich and I often joke about living in an Airstream someday. For the longest time, we’d talk about what it would be like, and eventually talk ourselves out of it. Then we met a couple who bought one….and then sold their house. It turns out we have a hard time finding reasons why Operation Airstream Livin’ is a bad idea.

 october 7, 2018 :: Met this fellow at the Smuttynose Brewing Outdoor Expo. I did not ask him how many licks it takes to get the center of a Tootsie Pop.

october 7, 2018 :: Met this fellow at the Smuttynose Brewing Outdoor Expo. I did not ask him how many licks it takes to get the center of a Tootsie Pop.

not a writer. writing anyway!

Should I go ahead and rename this blog something like All my Novembers? It has a soap opera cheesiness I kind of like. Maybe Groundhog Month? A quick scan of my posts reminds me that my Novembers are pretty routine, between holidays and my day job of the past eight (8!) years. There’s Thanksgiving and my birthday, a few token photos of Las Vegas, and some pretty foliage. All the same topics last year, and the one before that. I expect this year to be more of the same.

Despite the fact I’m not a clever writer nor a consistent one, I still want to try.

It’s not unlike the idea of getting a pen pal. (Does anyone remember those? International Pen Friends is still a thing - how cool.) You sign up, get an address and start writing. My nana had a Japanese pen pal that she wrote to for nearly all of her adult life, I think. (Kind of amazing, when you think about it.)

I had a few pen pals growing up, but lost touch with them after only a couple of years. I corresponded with a girl in Bermuda when I was 10, and with teenagers in Switzerland and Greece when in middle school. I remember being surprised that girls in Europe listened to the same music that I liked, and like me, also worried about grades, boys and college. Seems like a pretty simple lesson, but I remember being really blown away by that at the time. It was fun getting to know people who were just sharing everyday stuff. We all have a lot more in common than we realize. That’s what I loved about pen pals and later, following my favorite bloggers back in the 2000s.

I’ve read a few posts lately by bloggers I’ve followed for years and years - more than a decade now, in fact. Many of them are talking about how it felt to write, and to connect with people that became lifelong friends.

“Blogging offers an almost-quaint alternative to the stream…a feed. There’s no missing something a friend posted because you skipped going online that day. No algorithm deciding which posts you see. What I write will be here waiting for you, whenever you feel like dropping by, even if that’s a month from now. There’s no rush, nothing to miss, nothing to respond to unless you feel like it. This is just a place we can hang out and talk about stuff.” -from What Feeds Us by Asha Dornfest, Parent Hacks

Checking my feed is like visiting with friends. To me it feels very different than scrolling through a news feed, posts, stories and snaps. Lately I’m finding it incredibly jarring to scroll through a feed that sandwiches some of life’s tragic news in the middle of silly memes, jokes, and advertisements.

Feeds provide an experience that’s slower…mindful, even. Maybe that’s what it’s about for me: wanting a mindful online life.

Instead of writing and posting daily just because it’s November, this year I’d like to make it about cultivating a mindful online life.

 where I was today :: eastern Washington, driving to Spokane.

where I was today :: eastern Washington, driving to Spokane.





december 2017 // my 5 favorite photos

November was pretty busy with trips to Seattle and Las Vegas, followed by Thanksgiving. I'd just barely caught my breath before December's trip to Denver, followed by Christmas in Georgia, and now, to ring in a very cold New Year's at home. The days are short and the photos dark, but the lights make everything look cozy. 

Here's to a new year and fresh starts!

 A warm pub on a cold night at Christmastime is kind of lovely - Green Dragon Pub in Boston. 

A warm pub on a cold night at Christmastime is kind of lovely - Green Dragon Pub in Boston. 

 
 Downtown Crossing a few days before Christmas. 

Downtown Crossing a few days before Christmas. 

 
 This was the view from my office in Manchester, New Hampshire one morning. 

This was the view from my office in Manchester, New Hampshire one morning. 

 
 Christmas in Georgia

Christmas in Georgia

 
 Winner, winner chicken dinner! Smoky Chicken with Cauliflower from Smitten Kitchen Everyday.

Winner, winner chicken dinner! Smoky Chicken with Cauliflower from Smitten Kitchen Everyday.

the best way to know yourself

As I write this, it's 6:30 am. Normally at this time I'm on my mat, getting my yoga practice underway, but not today. I woke up tired and cranky. I'll regret skipping practice, I'm sure, at some point later today. When i don't practice, I like to reserve my mornings for something creative or quiet. More often than not, I journal but for today, I'll change it up and write here. 

Years ago, as part of a yoga teacher training program, I wrote some essays about meditation and detachment. One was about the idea of practicing detachment by spending time without a phone. (I just reread it and, yes, it's pretty terrible. I don't know what Marc and Rebecca, the superb, unparalleled teachers of said program, did to deserve the chore of reading my homework.) 

Though my writing isn't much to speak of, the ideas I wrote about have stuck with me. I've noticed them in so much of my reading lately. This article about spending an hour a day without a phone is one that caught my attention. This thought in particular stuck out to me. 

"Even if we don’t adhere to traditional prayer books—most of us don’t these days—the same dynamic, intense focus followed by distraction followed by insight into the stirrings of our unconscious, is key. It’s how many ancient forms of meditation work, and the best way, still, to begin and know ourselves." 

Meditation: It never hurts, it always helps, it's free, and is still the best way to find and know yourself. 

 maine :: september 2016 

maine :: september 2016 

Beverly Hills, 90210

These days there is a small handful of things that keep me on Facebook. The fact that my friends are pretty funny is one of those things. This one, from a high school classmate, gave me a much needed laugh in the middle of a stressful week. 

"When you're watching 90210 and you realize you're now older than Jim and Cindy Walsh."

 photo from  IMDB

photo from IMDB

My guess is that if you went to college in the late 80/early 90s...you'll laugh, too. 

A few things I liked this week...

A collection of things that caught my eye, got me thinking, or made me smile. These are the kinds of people that make me want to keep hanging out on the Internet for awhile longer. 


“The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, but I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see I will never find the light unless, like a candle, I am my own fuel.” -Bruce Lee

Did you see the piece about Shannon Lee on CBS a couple of weeks back? She's the daughter of Bruce Lee (yes, that Bruce Lee). During the interview, she shared that quote and it struck me, so much so that I stopped what I was doing (being late getting out the door to work) to write it down and remember it. It certainly sounds like something you'd hear an Ashtangi say. I've never watched Bruce Lee movies, but now I'm thinking I might enjoy them. 


"I looked up at him and said, “I’m tired. I didn’t sleep well last night. I know today is going to suck. I don’t feel like I can catch a break.”

He looked at me, walked over slowly, stood behind me, put his hands on my shoulders, and said, “Suit up. They can’t kill you and they can’t eat you. We’ll get through it.”

We've all had days where we need someone like Len, and days when maybe we are a Len to someone else. This story about work, tough times, and good people caught my attention. 


I met this artist at Autodesk University back in November and have been following his Instagram ever since. I don't think I've ever not smiled when his work pops up in my feed. He created an entire mural focused on civil engineering. I thought it looked cool and fun. If that's not talent, bringing the cool factor to civil engineering, then I don't know what is. 

 Mural at Autodesk University 2016 - Artist: Nigel Sussman 

Mural at Autodesk University 2016 - Artist: Nigel Sussman 

december 2016 // my 5 favorite photos

This month, fall turned into winter, there were Christmas parties and a surprise visit to see Meg in Virginia, fun dinners and a week off work. It's been lovely, but you wouldn't know that from my snapshots. (I took very few.) Christmas tree lights (out of focus, of course, because I roll like it's 2008 over here) and dogs were my favorite shots this month. 

 December 10, 2016 :: tonic under the tree. (Shot with my Nikon D610 and 85mm 1/4 lens.)

December 10, 2016 :: tonic under the tree. (Shot with my Nikon D610 and 85mm 1/4 lens.)

 December 17, 2016 :: It wasn't a white Christmas here in Boston, but we did see some snow. Trust me, Indie loves the snow more than she appears to here.

December 17, 2016 :: It wasn't a white Christmas here in Boston, but we did see some snow. Trust me, Indie loves the snow more than she appears to here.

 December 22, 2016 :: This is what City Square Park looks like at 5:30 am. I snapped this on my way to yoga one morning.

December 22, 2016 :: This is what City Square Park looks like at 5:30 am. I snapped this on my way to yoga one morning.

 December 27, 2016 :: Heading to yoga before dawn is easier when there are sparkly lights. 

December 27, 2016 :: Heading to yoga before dawn is easier when there are sparkly lights. 

  December 29, 2016 :: We put up a tree this year, and   kept the decorations simple since this is the first year we had a tree and a dog at the same time. Out-of-focus = more festive, I say.

December 29, 2016 :: We put up a tree this year, and kept the decorations simple since this is the first year we had a tree and a dog at the same time. Out-of-focus = more festive, I say.

be fearless

I'm in a stage of life where I look at articles about "advice I would give my younger self" with a skeptical and maybe even bitter eye. Yet here I go, sharing a link to exactly such an article by Forbes. Most of the advice in this piece is fine. It seems well-intentioned, although for many, may be impractical. We can't all attend the world's best universities, or take on unpaid jobs to gain valuable experience. Following advice doesn't guarantee we'll receive more opportunities, more success, or less failure. Despite that I kept reading until the end of the article. I'm glad I did because the last entry caught my attention. It's good advice for all, male or female, whether you're in college or long past it, whether you work in tech or not.

“Be fearless and just do it. If you’re just sitting there and contemplating, things will never move forward. The world is so fast-paced now that there is no time to sit and think for too long. Don’t think about the pros and cons too much - if you have an idea that you can’t get out of your head, just go for it! I’m sure your family and friends will support you too, once they see the spark that your project lights in you. Always try and always ask - because if you don’t, you’ll never know. If you try and it’s a no, then so be it. You won’t lose anything. But if it’s a yes? You’ll open the door to infinite possibilities.” -Sandhya Sriram

I've read about the idea of choosing a word or mantra, instead of resolutions, to guide decisions for the coming year. This Chicago Tribune article describes how it could works in a classroom setting. Communities like OneWord365 focus on how individuals choose and act on their chosen word. I'm not sure if I'll choose a word or phrase for myself, but if I do, "be fearless and just do it" might have to be on my shortlist of possible choices for 2017's mantra.

 

day 27 // sunday

Despite the fact it's beginning to look more like Christmas than Thanksgiving, it's still Thanksgiving weekend. My rule is that the Christmas decorations can't go up while there are turkey dinner leftovers still in the fridge. 

While mine has been a pretty quiet holiday, it has also been lovely. I didn't take too many pictures, though. Not sure why, as there was plenty of things to be thankful for and to capture. We had company, visited with nearby family, and ate all. the. food. Turkey dinner. Donut burgers. Cranberry crumb bars with mulling spices. To top it off, we had brunch made glorious by home fried sautéed in duck fat. If there was ever a weekend I was going to post photos of everything I ate, this should've been it. (I did post one of the crumb bars.)

This one I took earlier today, while out for a walk with Indie. I tried to get an angle or shot I've not yet tried, which is a pretty tall order since I walk by here pretty much every day. (Yes, I'm lucky to live in such a pretty neighborhood. No, I haven't tallied how many photos I've taken at this park but I'm guessing it's a lot.)  

I am toying around with a new camera lens to kickstart things around here. It's time, I think. 

 sunday morning at the monument :: november 28, 2016

sunday morning at the monument :: november 28, 2016

days 13-18 // a week in las vegas

I wrapped up my business travel for the year with a trip to Las Vegas. I've been to Autodesk University before - 4 or 5 times, maybe.  I don't keep track. This was my first year attending as a product manager and it was a much different experience this time around - I was busier and my time was scheduled by others for a lot of things. It was fun, but there wasn't much opportunity to post. Instead of one photo for each day I was away, here are my six favorites from the week. 

As much as I wanted to bring the Nikon, I just couldn't fit it into my luggage. All shots taken with my iPhone 6+.  

 sunrise in nevada :: tuesday, november 15, 2016

sunrise in nevada :: tuesday, november 15, 2016

The lighting in the Exhibit Hall was not exactly a photographer's dream (so fluorescent and so harsh), but I took photos anyway because all the fun was here.

The civil engineering area featured a mural. I had the chance to meet the artist, who was lovely. He does this sort of thing for all sorts of corporate events, like trade shows or internal meetings.  

 the graffiti wall in the exhibit hall

the graffiti wall in the exhibit hall

 nigel sussman, the artist behind the graffiti wall. follow his work on instagram at @nigelsussman

nigel sussman, the artist behind the graffiti wall. follow his work on instagram at @nigelsussman

There was also a sandbox - or, as well called it, the Augmented Reality Sandbox. This is a clever way to learn about topography and how to read contours on a map. What I wasn't expecting is how soothing it was to play in the sand. 

You can build your own, if you want. The good people at the University of California - Davis came up with idea and posted instructions for building your own, which you can read about here.

 the augmented reality sandbox in the exhibit hall

the augmented reality sandbox in the exhibit hall

I didn't get outside much during the week, but did take in the view from my room any chance I could. 

 twilight :: early thursday evening, november 17, 2016

twilight :: early thursday evening, november 17, 2016

 view from my room at night :: late thursday, november 18, 2016

view from my room at night :: late thursday, november 18, 2016

day 9 // light

(written on November 9, 2016)

Namaste. 

Over the years I've heard a few different interpretations of what "namaste" means. My favorite is this one: The light in me honors the light in you. 

On Tuesday night, I didn't stay up late to watch the election returns. On Wednesday morning, I woke up, checked the news and promptly turned it off after seeing what I needed to know about the election. I didn't want to be worked up or upset. I was going to let someone else upset me. Most importantly, I didn't want to make anyone else feel that way, either. 

I decided to lay low. No Instagram. No Facebook. No TV. Instead I wanted quiet and space to think about how I wanted to conduct myself that day. As corny as it sounds, I kept thinking, "Today I want to be someone else's light. For people that cross my path today, I want to be the person that lights them up, lessens their fear or anxiety. Even if the effect is only temporarily, it's still a good thing to do." 

That's all I'm thinking today: Be light. Honor light. Namaste.

I've practiced yoga regularly for the past 9 or so years. During that time, I've probably said "namaste" quite a bit and always felt silly about it. I mean, come on. Am I really honoring your light? 

But...

I wonder if simply being in the habit of saying "the light in me honors the light in you," was practice for today, when I actually needed to follow through on that intention, honoring the light in myself, and others, to get through a stressful time for this country. 

I don't have a beautiful photo of light breaking through darkness, or something else symbolic. This old snapshot reminds me of hope and hard work and overcoming difficult things. It's a favorite of mine, so it's my post for Day 9.  

 yoga teacher training graduation day :: december 2011

yoga teacher training graduation day :: december 2011