28 February 2011

Back Home

After three months on the road consulting at Crossroads in Antigua, visiting my daughter and her family in Trinidad, running a half marathon in Florida and, finally, touring this last week in Rome, I'm home. It feels good even though the weather is unseasonably cold (40's - 50's in the day). Being away puts home in an important perspective.

I had a good time away. I like winter in the Caribbean and Florida. I liked helping Crossroads further improve the world class services they offer, I liked training and running with my daughter for the half marathon for breast cancer treatment and research. I liked talking and playing scrabble with her. I liked the luxury of time in the every day life of my grands to play and talk with them. The days in Florida gave me precious time with nieces, great nieces and nephews, my sister-in-law and ten extra days with my daughter and the grands, as well as a chance to plan our yearly family gathering next summer.

My Honey was with me for about one month of the three giving me two months without him to think, write and have more individual alone time than I've had in our 37 years together. I liked it. It was time to mine riches. More about that later.

And I like being home now. I appreciate both my home and my Honey more deeply. I want to be here. With him. I like my life as we have created it. In this place. I don't yet know all the reasons I'm here, but I'm confident I will in the right time. At the end of my travels, I have a sense of peace and serenity that  sustains me. I'm grateful for this unexpected and altogether lovely gift.

23 February 2011

The Gate To Love

I wasn't able to post on Valentine's Day (or since, but that's another story!) so I saved these photos taken in a friend's garden in Trinidad which reminded me of love.
 Love is a gate, isn't it? The gate to a whole other world - the world of our beloved. 
It's our opportunity to see things from a different perspective, from another inside- out as we can only do with a loved one. Who else would share so deeply? So personally? 
And we receive the gift of an expanded world, a change of mind, a jump shift in view, a way out of ourselves and into the stream of life, of love. 

We lovers are fortunate. If I can just say to myself: "What can I learn?" 
rather than "How can I defend?", then it's all just learning, and growing into a bigger self. 
Then joy awaits through this gate opened by love.

Thank you, John, for being my gate to a bigger world than mine alone. 
Thank you for loving me for all these 37 years with your sweet, constant love
and for discovering with me the wonders behind the gate.
It's been worth the risk, beyond my wildest dreams.

17 February 2011

13.1 on the 13th

Want to have a great time doing something fun and worthwhile? I found a way to do that- train for and run a half marathon with my daughter, whoop it up a lot while running, and cross the finish line hand in hand yelling in triumph! This was our first run together and it was in the National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer in Jacksonville, FL on February 13.

Since my sister-in-law and Kelly's aunt, Peg, died from breast cancer four years ago, I look for ways to honor her and help defeat this formidable foe. 10,000 runners participated, including 4046 runners in the half marathon, and raised money (and awareness) for this worthy cause.

The energy was electric! The whole city of Jacksonville gets involved and cheers the runners on as we run through neighborhoods and on the beach. They make outrageous signs, offer drinks and fruit and yell encouragement to the runners. great fun! Kelly and I finished in 2:44:01 hours, placed 7 out of 51 women in my age group, and felt good, deep down good.

Family members (nieces, grands, great niece and nephew, sister-in-law, cousins, aunts) converged in FL, also made fun signs, rang bells, yelled a lot and, just in general, cheered us on. Two of my nieces walked the half marathon and finished, a first for both of them, and made it a true family event this year.

What lights your fire these days? What are you doing to stoke the fire?

16 February 2011

I Was Grilled

I arrived home today from my travels to Trinidad, Antigua and Florida to find my "grilling" posted by Lisa at Grandma's Briefs. Check it out - Lisa's blog is great fun, both her grandma stories and her enabling so many other grandmas to shine. Thanks for taking the time to share them with us, Lisa.

04 February 2011

Rain Forest Flowers

Here are just a few of the flowers I've met along the way in Trinidad, some on hikes in the rain forest, some in my daughter's yard and some in a friend's garden (thank you Bunty and Rory). 
It's a beautiful time of year in the Caribbean. 
Please enjoy...


Another color of Croton


Butterfly lilly:

French kiss:

Locally known as the Snake plant:

 Red ginger:



No one knew the name for this:

Costus sp., known locally as the penis plant:

Chaconia, Trinidad's national flower:


Heliconia; known locally as Sexy pink:

Aphelandra sinclairiana:

Angel's trumpet:

Orchid (they grow wild all through the rain forest):



Crown of thorns:


Having my camera always with me this trip has kept my eyes open in a new way to this environment. 
It's been a visual feast for me. What's catching your eye these days?

02 February 2011

Unhand The Bananas

The list of all I didn't know and am now learning continues to grow. For example, that the best way to ripen bananas is to cut the whole stem off the tree just before they're totally ripe. Then unhand (that's what they call it) the individual bunches (hands). My daughter is doing that above. Then put them in a box and put newspaper around them until they ripen a couple to a few days later. They are then succulently sweet, fully ripe and elegantly flavorful. 

Of course, many ripen at the same time, but I've got to say that isn't a problem as far as I'm concerned! Especially with these small, extra sweet ones, called chiquitos. Any over ripe left overs? Then it's banana nut bread and banana punch. Oh my!  Life is good and I'm swooning!