Have a nice trip…ouch!

FeetAs I was picking myself off the floor at San Francisco airport today after a nasty fall, I wondered how I could have walked all over San Francisco this week without a wobble, yet I couldn’t walk through the airport without falling on my face. I decided I would blame it on the over-sized (a.k.a collossal) manuals I was carrying back from the training class I attended. I walked around all week with my San Francisco essentials (laptop, scarf, jacket, coffee ) and there was no falling down. Today the only difference was the extra load in my bag. It is possible that my shoes were to blame, but they are very comfortable Dansko.

Maybe I could blame an earthquake for my fall? Could the earth have moved below my foot causing me to lose my balance? I was thinking back to previous trips to the Bay area and maybe this area just makes me klutzy overall. I remember a trip from several years ago where I was walking along a sidewalk with a friend. We were talking and I must not have been paying attention then I walked right into a sign. Falling on my face, walking into signs, maybe all these are signs that it is time to go home or that this place makes me klutzy! During my walks around San Francisco this week I was reminded that it is one of the few cities in the US where you don’t need (or want) a car. Unless you want to leave the city a car isn’t needed (why would you leave, it has everything you need?).

Being in San Francisco reminded me of my trips this year to Israel and Italy. Being in a city is a completely different experience from the country or the suburbs. I like it. I felt like it is one of the few cities I could actually feel comfortable living in. Besides my falling, this trip was great! I like the cool ocean air, the energetic vibe of the city, and of course an excuse to walk through all of it! I remember as a kid my grandmother always asked, “Does anyone want to go for a walk?”. I always said, “Yes”. I am still saying, “Yes”. Whether it walking in the mountains around Phoenix, the Tuscan hillsides, the beach in Bat Yam, or the hilly streets of San Francisco I am still saying,” Yes, I want to go for a walk.” No fall on my face will keep me from walking, even if it is with a limp and a bruise on my knee. Where do you like to walk?

Great Expectations and that Energetic Wall

IMG_0861I recently traveled to Israel with my boyfriend and didn’t really know what to expect. I, like many Americans, used to have a skewed perception of what the country is like.  Over the last few years many of these preconceived notions were debunked. I still wondered if life in Israel was at all like stories I had seen on the evening news. Would there be missiles everywhere and camels wandering the streets? Avoiding missiles and violence in Israel was not a problem. Gaining weight from all the fine food and finding a parking spot for your car were problems. I was so busy walking and eating there was no time to worry about missiles or my safety because walking around Tel Aviv was more safe than walking around New York City. Before the trip I had heard a lot about the food, the people, the beaches, the humidity, the historical sites and yes, more about the food. I spent most of my time in Tel Aviv, so maybe my extremely edible view of Israel is different than other parts of the country. The food was definitely the highlight of the trip, along with a particularly energetic wall.

iPhoto LibraryIn Tel Aviv there is no shortage of fresh squeezed juices (on every corner), amazing coffee, fresh melon, and delicious shawarma.  If you don’t know what shawarma is, you just have to taste it to understand. And (unfortunately) I haven’t found very good shawarma in the U.S.  The bread is different, the meat is different, the hummus is different and the tahini!!  My mouth is watering just writing about it. To give you an idea how amazing the sandwiches were, we stopped on the way to the airport to grab one last sandwich so we could nibble on it during the 11 hour flight back to the U.S. It definitely made the trip go by faster.

After spending several days in Tel Aviv, I took a guided tour of Jerusalem. There is so much history in Jerusalem it is hard to say what was the most interesting.  The tour was so fast paced I almost missed the stone where Jesus laid when they brought him down off the cross. I didn’t have time or the desire to wait in line to get a glimpse inside the tomb where Jesus was resurrected. Needless to say, Jerusalem has an aura of conflict, death and tourism. The old city at times felt more like a giant shopping mall than a historical site. There is one spot in Jerusalem that moved me more than anything else – the Western Wall or The Kotel. IMG_0914The tradition of the Kotel is to put your prayer notes into the wall.  I carried notes from others as well as  a few of my own. Getting to the wall was a challenge, placing the notes into the wall was nearly impossible. The Western Wall is divided into sections – one for women and the other for men. The section for women was very small – so there were a lot of us squished together and trying to place our notes. I was able to get up to the wall. To touch it. To place my notes. What surprised me was that I could feel an energy being emitted from the wall. I am not a religious person, but there is definitely something unique about the wall and I felt it.

My trip to Israel was too short and there are plenty of other things for me to see, do, and eat there. I am definitely looking forward to the next trip and my next shawarma!

Natural Chic

Am I the only one who is wasting time on Polyvore? I decided to create this cute outfit, but am still not satisfied with it. I really like the look, but the necklace alone is more than the rest of the outfit! I like the idea of putting together clothing sets but a lot of clothes and accessories are completely out of my price range. I am not looking for Dollar Store cheap, just Target or Old Navy cheap. Even Macy’s is sounding cheap.

I understand the concept of this site – they want you to put together an outfit and then BUY it. I wish I could buy this stone necklace, but I probably won’t. I don’t even look good in yellow. So the experiments are fun, especially when you come up with a look and then start reworking it to meet your budgetary constraints. Today it was the $600+ necklace, tomorrow it will be shoes for $900 that I just can’t swing. Fortunately the internet has not shortage of options. I am going to continue my search for a cheaper necklace. It know it is out there somewhere.

Back to Nature with Style

Jane Norman neon dress
$61 – janenorman.co.uk

Chambray jacket

Eat this bean, or maybe just grow it!

During the last few months I have eaten more vegetables and fruits, but I realized my kids were not doing the same.  The last few weeks I have tried to get my kids (aged 10 and 7) to eat a larger variety of foods. They need to learn that quesadillas and pizza are not the only food to eat. The bright spot in my food day occurs at dinner when the kids are given a new food to taste. A few weeks ago I tricked them by cutting up jicama and putting it in a bowl. I just said, “Try this.” They picked the white cubes from the bowl and ate away. Then they asked, “Is this an apple?”. Thinking it was a weird tasting apple was better than having them spit it out immediately or never try it all.

Some of the other food tastings were not as successful. Today’s food was green beans (also known as string beans). I thought beans were pretty benign. I was surprised when my youngest treated the food like a play toy instead of just biting into you. She pushed it around the plate eventually squishing and smashing it until little beans popped out. She said, “These look like lima beans?”. I was shocked she knew what lima beans were (happily shocked I might add). Eventually she put one of the tiny beans into her mouth. I can’t say she liked it, but she didn’t barf it back onto her plate.

Once my son saw the fun that his younger sister was having getting the beans opened, he grabbed another bean to see how many small beans he could find. Somehow the tasting had turned into an experience. No longer was this about food, it was about learning, experimenting and creativity. After splitting one of the green beans open, my son filled it with other foods from dinner to create his own bean sub. You have to give the kid points for creativity! We took some photos of his plated bean dish (like it was Iron Chef). We didn’t have any judges for the dish, but I promised I would write a blog about it.

How the evening ended was even more surprising. My son wanted to watch a video about growing green beans. We watched how to build a bean teepee as well as several instructional videos about how to prepare and grow beans. While my daughter grabbed the computer and began watching gymnastics videos, I realized my son had disappeared and the outside patio light was on. I couldn’t imagine what he could be doing outside in the dark. I found him outside carefully preparing soil for his beans. He had extracted some tiny beans and was planting them in a yogurt cup filled with seedling soil. Sometimes when you feed kids vegetables you just don’t know what is going to happen. In this case it seems we will be growing green beans. Maybe when you grow your own food, there is more interest in eating it. I just hope by the time the beans ripen there is someone besides me willing to eat them.

Energy of Nature

The woodpecker pecks on the giant palm.
The sun shines on the pool, it’s calm.

I love the quiet of the morning hours.
The warmth of the sun, it gives me power.

Energy provides strength to us.
It is all we need, that and trust.

The strength we have down deep inside,
the sun brings it out, it cannot hide.

Nature around us wind or breeze,
the flowers bloom large, can’t you see?

Take the energy of the world around.
Deep in your mind, there is no sound.

The energy comes from the outside in,
you know you need it to fight, to win.

To give and receive is the power we hold,
love and energy, more priceless than gold.

Is the pen becoming obsolete?


I sit here typing on my computer wondering when the pen will become obsolete. Is the pen being phased out like the typewriter? Or a watch? With computers, smart phones, ipads, and Kindles, do you ever need a pen any more? What about paper? At least with paper you can type something on the computer and then print it. We send letters via e-mail and sign contracts electronically, so why would we still need to use a pen?

Dare I admit that I actually enjoy writing with a pen? Even worse, I like writing cursive with a pen. My boyfriend still has no idea how to read my cursive so all my journal entries are safe from him. He always thinks I am writing about him (as if I had the time). I would have the time, but I don’t have a watch. I love to write cursive in my college-ruled notebook with no computer or phone in sight. Is it possible that I am single-handedly keeping all the pen and paper companies in business? For some reason the physical experience of handwriting is different from typing on a computer. I know words still end up on the page, but there is a difference in how the brain works in each process and how the words come out. When I am typing I can write 90 words a minute. When I handwrite the words glide onto the paper much slower. Writing slow is not a bad thing when you want to think.

Maybe instead of wondering about pens going obsolete, I need to look in the mirror. Am I next? I may be going obsolete because I still cook in an oven (not a microwave) and I prefer french pressed or Turkish coffee instead of coffee from one of those fancy coffee machines. I am talking about those machines that can make coffee, fold my laundry and wash my car. I am not sure they do windows though. At least I am still good for something.

Another reason I became concerned with my obsolescence is that I recently discovered that my ability to concentrate on one task for long periods of time is disappearing. Hold on. I need to go put the laundry in the dryer. Sorry, back now. What was I saying? Oh, yes, I was talking about concentration. Sorry again, just one moment. I need to heat water for coffee now. Yes, back again. Where was I? Concentration is the problem. Actually the problem isn’t me. It is society’s inability to focus that is becoming the problem. Is a society with people who don’t have the ability to concentrate on tasks for long periods of time a good thing? Who will do research or design the next i-device? Who will be the heart surgeon? Can you tell I am worried about society going in a direction that is not necessarily good? I feel like life is moving too fast and there isn’t time to relax. No time to concentrate or focus. One might call it information overload. We get on-line and find ourselves bouncing around from e-mails to Facebook to an article about killer bees. How can we do this with such ease? Or do we? Is this hurting us in ways we don’t realize? Are we becoming dependent on information being thrown at us instead of sitting down and creating something or just plain thinking?

As I type this blog on my MacBook Air I wonder if I should grab the pen and paper sitting on the table next to me? Can I be more creative through the process of writing with a pen instead of using technology?  For now, the pen and paper industry is still safe because I love to sit outside or in a coffee shop and write with my Papermate Profile Elite pen on college ruled notebook paper. Maybe the ability to write cursive with a pen on my computer is just around the corner with one of these note taking applications. I can only hope that even if the pen goes obsolete, that thinking won’t.

Shades of Words

A pink pen writes
Like any other pen
I hold it tight
And write words again

Words in colors
Can you see meaning?
Orange of the sun
Does the ocean look green?

Words in all shades
Black, blue, red, and pink
Words shine on a page
Are they different you think?

Sweating Buying a Sweater

More than a year ago I cleaned out my closet and discovered that I desperately needed a white cardigan sweater to wear over all the sleeveless dresses I own. Sleeveless is great in summer (except when you are sitting inside with an air conditioner blowing 50 degree air on you!). Also, I wanted to expand my wardrobe beyond summer. I wanted more bang for my clothing buck, but for some reason I didn’t find any bucks to spend on a simple sweater. Or was it the sweater I couldn’t find?

Over the last year I purchased 2 gray sweaters and 2 black sweaters, but never bought a white one. Was I fearful of the spaghetti sauce, pen, crayon and smoothie stains that would appear on a new white sweater? The answer is yes. For some reason when I wear white it is a magnet for food that results in stubborn stains. Foods like chocolate and wine are just drawn to my white clothes . (Not that I ever consume either of those foods.)

About a week ago I was flipping through the Prana catalog and stumbled upon this cute white sweater. Since all the other Prana clothes I have purchased I have loved, I decided it was time to buy my white sweater. My Prana clothes typically spend more time out of the closet than in it (hiking, around the house, and trips to Italy) so I figured it was a low risk purchase. 

Now that I have placed my order, I am very excited to receive and wear my new sweater. I am still a bit nervous about the white color, but I feel confident that my fear can be overcome by Oxiclean or Fels Napthia. My summer dresses will emerge from the closet early this spring! I am counting down the minutes to my shipment arrival and still wondering why I was sweating buying a white sweater!

What clothing or accessory have you put off buying when you know you really need it?

Mousse Madness

ImageI finally discovered that when you buy mousse (for your hair, not moose, the Maine variety) price does matter. You do get what you pay for. I had used mousse by Aussie and I thought it worked fine. I was mistaken. Yesterday I was at Walgreen’s and bought Matrix Biolage mousse to try something new. I had no idea the impact this $14.99 can spewing white foam would have on my hair.

My hair is naturally curly so it is usually easy to make curls with the application of mousse and a specific hair drying method (upside down). In just one use of Biolage I noticed a huge difference in the shininess, smooth curls and waves it created. I was amazed. My head is usually overcome with frizz, but no longer! This mousse has changed my life. I had no idea my hair could look so much better with no extra effort. The mousse does it all.

The experience made me question, “When did I start using cheap mousse?”. Now that I know what I know, I won’t ever use cheap mousse again. I don’t care how many signs are displayed for discounts and half-price, I will pay a premium for this product. It just isn’t worth it to use something inferior. Funny how something so simple and relatively inexpensive can have such a huge impact on my daily life. I was lost, now I am found. Actually, it is the phenomenal mousse that was found. What simple products make your daily life easier?