Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Nail Polish Meditations...

 It has been awhile since I wrote. Life has a way of slipping by us sometimes.

 I have been enjoying the day-to-day stuff, learning to just surrender my need to know the best solution to various life circumstances. I am  learning to really trust that life, God, humankind.the universe are unfolding in their own time. I have come to enjoy the freedom with the understanding that my job is to simply just be.

  It has been a long journey to recognize what just being is..and it is still a work in progress, really. But to truly let go of the need to hustle for my worth (consciously or not), in a culture that often demands validation of worth, has given me a freedom in living my life that is priceless.

I believe I owe this gift to what I like to call my nail polish meditations. 

I know several pastors, ministers, monks, rabbis, imams, speakers, just every-day humans that have their own way of listening, studying and giving messages. It has taken a while for me to recognize the way in which I hear that still small voice best. For you see, we are all called to listen to stand still and listen..whatever that voice is for you. For me it is God within my inner-heart. But I get distracted..I confuse that voice with my imagination..I question my understanding. I have a VERY HARD TIME being still.

So on long trips in the car..when my mind wanders as (ahem) I am driving..I often find that voice..and I pull over on the side of the road and scribble stuff on scraps of paper or in my bible...many of my messages have been pieced together by road-side scribbles. But I felt this wasn't enough..that somehow I needed more depth..but dang that sitting still stuff is hard.

Not to mention almost impossible in my family setting. Somehow, if I open my net-book, bible, a book, a journal or am just sitting..all my loved ones assume i am not remotely busy. The child i haven't had time to touch base with in weeks will choose THAT MOMENT to visit. I don't want to miss the moment. I enjoy that moment with my child..but then... I don't hear that still small voice inside, for I am listening to the cherished boy that is sitting next to me.

I knew there just had to be a way to spend time just reflecting without alienating my family..

and then I remembered nail polish. A strategy I was once taught during a break-up of a guy I mistakenly thought I was deeply in love with was to polish my nails. Polish my nails and then you can't do anything. YOu can't call..you can't answer the phone..you can't do anything stupid because you don't want to mess up your nails. All  you can do is sit still. And? Nail polish is just fun.

So a few years ago, I thought AHA. I can just polish my nails. I have a family of boys. Even though all the boys and young men in my house often come in smelling of sweat, grease and other lovely things. Apparently nothing is more offensive to them than the smell of my nail polish. Also? If I am painting my nails, all I can do is SIT STILL.

So I started spending time, several days a week just playing with nail polish. Then it expanded..I found my favorite spot in the house to do this and as I wait for each layer to dry, I just sit still. I listen, I write, I journal..I listen to that small voice..and I am so grateful for that time for myself.

It is my ritual now. A few mornings a week I spend time with my nail polish.

 Today is no different. I am sitting in my favorite room of the house, in my favorite chair. A kitchen chair at a small kitchen table in our laundry/toy/morning room. I hear the hum of my dryer. Big B and Austen are in another part of the house fixing a toy helicopter..they are not remotely interested in what I am doing. Austen wandered over briefly. I asked him what color I should use. He chose one for me and fairly quickly left me to my own devices. Fixing helicopters with dad was way more interesting.

So now I sit. Sit still..with my nail polish..a few hours to myself..and time to listen, really listen.

I encourage you to do the same. To find your own version of a nail polish meditation, whatever works for you. And then? Treasure that time for all it's worth.

I have come to believe that  nothing, absolutely nothing is more true than the messages  that are already contained within ours own hearts.

Take some time to listen. I dare you.

Monday, December 02, 2013

The Fly and I

I am here to tell you of my latest journey into humbleness...and how one lone fly..I have named him Freddy.. has now become my constant companion.

I see that visions of me as Pig Pen are floating through your head. Please know..that it is ONE fly...and I truly hope I do not have a swirl of dirt floating around me. But honestly? Anything is possible.

What was supposed to be my journey into the world of boxing..of learning the tools (both physical and mental) to fight both in and out of a ring. My journey into awesomeness and more self-sufficiency.

 Instead, it appears to be yet another journey into humility and more humility. (yes..I do get that these too may be greatly related)

 It started with a broken foot. It started when I tripped on my own jump rope while jump roping in my kitchen...before I ever made it to the boxing ring. It was in pre- pre- pre -training that my journey really began.

It's not the doctors at the clinic openly laughing at my lack of gracefulness...or the orthopedist surgeon who was trying so kindly to surpress laughter at my attempts to jump-rope. It's not that my family felt inspired to write things on my cast like "Hey BIGFOOT", "Don't Do Your Own Stunts" and the like.

It's not that I went to work and could not get up or down the stair case in less than 10 minutes, or that I could fold a load of laundry, wash 5 dishes, throw another load in the wash and realize I was done for the day.

It's not that Big B bursts out into laughter at least once a day. Pure..can't catch his breath, tears pouring out of his face laughter...as he teases between gasps for air..what kind of break did the doctor call it? I try to ignore him...No..tell me..please tell me (more laughter, crying and gasping for air)

a dancer's fracture I say in as monotone a voice as I can muster.

More hysterical laughter and tears. I am so glad my clumsiness can create such delight in this man. This man I remind myself that I CHOSE to marry..in a conscious state even.

The ultimate road to humility, however,started with the hours upon hours, day upon day, night upon night..that I spent sitting/sleeping in the lazy-boy in my living room with a fly buzzing around my head.

 I would be sitting in my living room. Enjoying the absolute silence with my stack of books...and the fly would come. He buzzes..I swat..the fly goes just out of my reach..and as soon as I start to read again..BZZZ BZZZ.

Will you go away? I ask the fly.

He lands on my toes..the ones sticking out of the cast. You suck, I tell him.

We play this game for hours. I name him Freddy.

As soon as another human enters the room..Freddy mysteriously vanishes. (He must suspect I would ask someone to squash him)

Then? Late at night, when the house is once again quiet  and I am almost asleep..amidst my Tylenol and Benadryl induced mini-coma...I here him come back. Bzzz. bzzz..

The insane attempt to swat him continues. Freddy seems to think this is a great game. I cover my head with a blanket. Freddy lands in his favorite spot, on my toes. The toes I can't wiggle him off of, because, while I am still lucky enough to feel..I cannot move.

This nonsense continues for days..for nights..then one day? Freddy dares to hang out when a human friend comes over for coffee.

I hear him buzzing..my friend is getting us both a cup of coffee. Freddy lands on my foot. I want to tell him..go away. You are not invited. So...Freddy goes INTO my cast before I can inform him of this information.

I choose to ignore him...and then I feel it..the crawling around my ankle. I will have to 'fess up to my friend that a fly is now my constant companion.

Sandy...I think there's a fly in my cast.

No there's not..she says.

Yes..Yes there is.

Sandy comes and inspects in my cast. Nope. No fly there..she says..no room. She assures me it is my imagination.

I agree. I must be losing my mind.

An hour later, my friend leaves. Once again, alone in the quiet of my living room..I pull out my book.
..and then I feel it.

Freddy comes out of my cast..and the buzzing continues.

So now I have a friend. One I did not ask for....my friend sleeps with me, and reads with me..and climbs in my hurts...and shows me what I need to learn about myself.

Freddy, my fly friend, is giving me the greatest Christmas gift of all.

The gift of humility.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Coming out of the Funk...

A friend of mine made the observation several years ago that I seem to have a yearly Holiday Funk. A time between every Halloween and Thanksgiving when I just shut down. Like a mini-hibernation of sorts where I don't leave my house and seem to just disappear for 2 weeks. She called it my Pre-Holiday Funk.

My friend also commented that if I have not had that time to hibernate she would prefer not to be around me as I am too, dang, grouchy. It took me a long time to admit that my friend was right.

And there was about a 5 year span where I did not hibernate...and during this time? I went from stressed, to overwhelmed, to absolutely tanking..to finding a nicer version of myself. I have learned to minimize my work-load and commitment load and be realistic in my expectations of myself.

I have also given myself time to process my entire friggin life. The good, the bad and the ugly. Finally...finally...I am back to a place where I can look ahead with possibilities and dreams. AND..more importantly..I can enjoy the now.

So here is my now for this time in my life. I am watching as Levi throws dirt around the yard. Levi is 3 and (a quote stolen from another blog) like a hummingbird on crack. It is exhausting. Yet he is precious, sincere, and completely open hearted. What is not to love?

Cody is still living in our tree-house. We get to enjoy his company over a couple meals a week and occasionally during a t.v. show or before he leaves for school in the morning. I am treasuring these stolen moments with him before he leaves us after graduation this next year.

Austen is rarely home. But when he is he is still the chatty, energetic young man he has always been. He has finished bar-tending school and is busy getting passports, etc. for his upcoming adventures.

Big B is sick. He hangs out in the garage, he hangs out around the house and is still spending time with the home-owners association. Big B has been chronically ill for quite some time..and I have finally..finally..quit quietly resenting him for being sick (I just recently recognized I was doing this) and accept that I am really just mad at the disease.

Between Big B and Levi,  I don't leave home often. I work part-time. I volunteer at the prison weekly.  I hang out with the exhausting 3  year old and with Brian...and ironically? It leaves both a lot AND a little time for me.

I found myself exasperated with living a life that constantly felt like it was in limbo. So this time..instead of searching for answers in places I can't find them.. I turn to scripture...and I was repeatedly reminded to CHOOSE LIFE. To put my worries aside. I talked to a few friends at the local prison.....they scolded me for not appreciating what I have (and rightfully so). They prodded me to look beyond my circumstances and then?  I had the opportunity to visit with some friends I had not seen in a while...I was..reminded to (uhh..Frances..this is you ...)  OPEN MY EYES!

And they are right. So...just for fun. I have purchased a book. 365 Daily Indulgences. I have decided to work through this book..one indulgence at a time sort-of like in Julie and Julia...where she cooks a meal a day for a year. Or like a few years ago when I wanted to read through the Great Books Series (I only got 1/4 the way through and GAVE UP) Only now? I just  simply get to do something simple and fun every day for a year.

I figure I will do something everyday...and anyone who wants to join me on any given day is welcome..but honestly?. I'm just remembering how to really enjoy the blessings that surround me everyday.

So until my Amazon order arrives, I wait...and I enjoy the wait. I'm tired of the funk.  So I simply get out and start finding joy in simple things. I start  really appreciating what I have./And what I am having right now..is lunch with Big B, Austen and Levi.

Tacos anyone?

Saturday, September 07, 2013

A Big Boy?

My house is full of big boys. Like really big, tall, lankyish boys. Boys (young men) in their late teens and early twenties.Boys who are so busy working and schooling and socializing and working again we rarely see. But  our home also inhabited by a "little man" who is not so tall. A "little man" who is striving to be a BIG BOY

As a matter of fact, this little man wants to be a "big boy" so much that he regularly lies to those who ask him his age. He will streak around the back deck, singing at the top of his 3 year old lungs..but when asked how old he is..he will get very serious and somber and say 3..actually 4..actually 6. Yes. I 6!

 That is his story and he is sticking to it!

Normally this would not alarm me. As a matter of fact, almost nothing our little man has done has alarmed me. I think I became desensitized years ago with the older, taller big boys. I trust that as long as Levi is safe and relatively happy, then all is good. Now here's the thing. The school year has started. I watch as all the Club kids start the school year. I watch the local homeschool co-op kids gather with excitement for this year. I am pleased we are not part of the hustle and bustle. But I also wonder (once again) if we are leaving him out of something exciting. Friends ask, "now how old is Levi? Will you be sending him to school?" I admit. Probably not. Still. I start imagining (not even realistic imagining) what "other" 3 year old early pre-school/late toddlers may be doing in the U.S. Even as I do this in my head. I know I should stop..yet..I just. can't . help. myself.

I watch Levi. My lying, little big-man..who is plopped on my bed, surrounded by trucks and watching t.v. I think... "oh my."

Levi IS happy. I can give him that...and I trust that he will truly develop at his own space.He's just different. The first year or two of his life we made an effort to take him on nature walks and expose him to lots of people, music and love. Then? Well..I started working..more..and more..and more.

With our older kids we had a lot of child-led learning until they were like...12. But I also REALLY limited their time in  front of electronics until they were ....teens. Levi? Yup..definately a t.v. kid. By the age of 3 the other boys were helping me with small chores and spending hours outside. Levi? Yup...definately turning into the indoor type. Why? I wonder. And I know it is because it has been hot. I have been tired and cranky for the past 2 years. We have let him run amuck indoors as much as possible. And we take him out for an hour or two a day. It usually involves collecting chicken eggs, swimming or going to the lake. End of story.

Add our laziness to his temperament.  He is active, yes. He is also a pleaser. Levi has learned to please us by staying out of the way. And in the process? He has become quite comfy in my air-conditioned bedroom, surrounded by trucks and pillows while jumping on the bed with his eyes glued to the screen. I think I can safely say, it is now his favorite past-time.

So Big B, my sister and I sit down and look at this boys future. No we are not starting formal schooling with him in any shape or form. But..I don't know..potty-training would be nice? Cutting back on the t.v. has got to happen. He is becoming addicted to the little screen in my bedroom. He likes to pretend my bed is a truck..pile all his toys on the bed..and watch various shows (usually Power Puff Girls or My Little Pony) for hours on end. And while there is nothing wrong with a little t.v. watching default activity..this habit of his has become a (YIKES) routine. And yup..I'm the one that encouraged it.

The 3 of us come up with a consensus of where we hope to see him over the next few months. Learning to use the toilet would be nice. But more important. How about shoot for 5-6 hours a day of outdoor play, continuing to join us for family meals and starting some daily "chores." That is it. His goals for the year. None of which he has helped to set but seem to be in his best interest according to..well..us. The adults in his life who care deeply for him.

So today we wake up early. We have a talk. I call it the "big boy talk." I had it with all of the boys when they were  2 or 3. Usually because there was another baby on the way. Not the case with Levi..

We discuss..underwear. Like this time we should really not just wear them for decoration but because big boys wear underwear. He nods and grins in agreement. And Big Boys help mom/Aunt Nicole with laundry, cooking,cleaning and walking the dog. He is excited. And they still help Uncle Brian collect chicken eggs and work on cars (he's got this part down). AND..they play outside. A LOT. And turn the t.v. off until almost dinner time.

The grin stops. Dead silence. Then a look that is..well..like this.

 How 'bout..I not be 6. How bout' I be 3. He pats me on the back and says It's okay..I have time.

Out of the mouth of babes. Yes. Levi. You do. All the time in the world.

 But now? Naked, underwear or diapers..I really don't care. This 'little big-boy' and I are shutting off the t.v. (it's 9 oclock ) and are  headed outdoors.

At first he is..annoyed. Resistant. We decide to take the dog for a walk. I head toward the Pecan Grove we used to walk in. Before I go any further in this story, I would like to point out that I am a city girl. Now..back to heading towards the pecan grove with the dog and the boy. We hear a rattle. I'm pretty sure it's a rattle. Maybe it's a locust.

I'm pretty sure it's a rattle snake. mom..a snake says Levi. I consider turning back. Maybe we should start our outdoorsyness tomorrow. Our brave guard dog, hides behind me. I have to give her credit..she does at least knock Levi out of what she considers danger.Yup says Levi in an authoritative voice as he shakes the dirt off himself and stands back up while holding onto Laeyla (the dog). It's snake. I remind myself that a year of watching Power Puff Girls and My Little Ponies does not make Levi an expert.

We take a long way around the bush and continue to our Pecan Grove. As we start to enter it is shady. Almost like a jungle or a forest. Yup. It's dark..states Levi...as he imagines whatever he is imagining in the same jungle I am seeing. I remember I have heard recent reports of bobcats in the area. I'm pretty sure this is where a bobcat would hang out. Have I mentioned I'm not a country girl? Laeyla  decides our ridiculousness is enough. We follow her lead into the Pecan Grove.

Then? Things begin to change. I remember a time not to long ago, when I enjoyed this walk. And then Levi looks at me with a sparkle in his eyes. I wonder if he could possibly remember doing this before. Let's go to the caves, he states.

I am stunned. We have not been to "the caves" (holes in the dirt on a nearby ledge) since he was 2. We head to the caves.

The rest is history. We spent hours at the cave. We even came home and made a lunch to eat in the cave. As I am walking on our second trip to "the caves', I enjoy feeling his little hand in mine, smelling his sweat mixed with dirt and listening to him discuss bugs and cactus. I am reminded of how lucky I am. And remember what I used to think with the older boys. It wouldn't matter if the best school (pre-school/day-care, etc.) in the planet was next door. I wouldn't trade this time with him for anything. Levi's words from earlier float through my mind It's okay..I (we) have time...

Lunch leads to hot and tired. WE return home for a swim. Now? After cooling off in the pool after our caving adventures.

 Levi wants to paint. I have to admit..in all my negligence of this little big-man..I have managed to paint with him consistently.
I am thinking how nice it is. It is quiet. He is busy. I start to chat and Levi scolds me. The big boy informs me he is in the zone. I'm like really? I realize he is serious

So I end the morning marveling at the irony of having "big boy" talks with my little men..now of which Levi is included when I want nothing more for them than to enter adulthood with a strong foundation of innocent childhood awe and wonder.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Discovering Treasure Island

  Several months ago, Big B and I decided to try out the boat he had spent the past year refurbishing. We headed to a nearby lake. Except there was a small problem. A South Texas drought problem. We arrive at lake number 1 and realize we could not get the boat into the lake-turned-puddle. Then lake number 2..same problem. This had turned into a quest. A scavenger hunt of sorts. A few phone calls were made and we heard a rumor of a lake that we could actually launch a boat in.

At this point, we no longer cared about actually boating. It was the hunt that had become our afternoon adventure. So we took off. No one seemed to know exactly how to find this lake. Ramps were closed, what used to be public was now private. And my map-quest? Well this is where things got really interesting. It sent us through some weird subdivisions..then over a  bridge...and then we see it. The lake..and a sign into yet another subdivision (that is on an actual mini-island..hence the bridge crossing) We enter into the subdivision as we pass a sign that says Welcome to Treasure Island.

We both grin. It becomes clear that there are only private boat ramps and we have no business being on treasure island. But who cared? This was just cool. We viewed homes and oohed and ahhed at people's lake-houses. I suddenly had that feeling..that de-ja-vu in forward motion instead of reverse. That says...this is your future. I look at Big B. He grins. We both agree we will retire here. We don't know how...but it is just a feeling. The same feeling that landed us in Bandera. There was no rhyme or reason to it. And since we have already established through our married life history that all our major life decisions are made on impulse..it makes sense that our retirement will be no different.

Look. says Big B. I like this one...and then we hear the map-quest navigator voice on my phone... You have arrived.

We grin again..and then return home.

Later I google the place. The cheapest home in that neighborhood is something I will only afford if I win the lottery. Like a HUGE lottery.

And then I thought Really Nicole? What is wrong with you? What does Treasure Island have that you don't already have?

I came up with nothing other than neighborhood tennis courts and a lake. But hey..we have a backyard pool and a river (okay..at the moment..another puddle). Our neighborhood is smaller...much more scaled down..mostly mobile homes. But we have decks and porches and fenced in play-area...and tree-house and space..so    much    space.  I was reminded that if I can't appreciate what I already have, I probably wouldn't appreciate what I could have either.

So then I took it a little further and started thinking about life in general. I have been so. Hmm..how to say it...

Not. nice.

These past few years have been rough for me. Sort-of an emotional roller-coaster, actually. And I have spent a lot of time doing massive journaling, and soul-searching and basic mid-life crisising.

It is not a secret that Big B has been sick for awhile. Our lifestyle has changed quite a bit over the past few years, and earlier this year (like around Christmastime) things were looking really bad for Big B. I started wondering what we could do to help him enjoy the quality of his life. He and I talked about this..and then it was like. Hey, why do we have to wait until someone is deathly ill before we start living life. What if you get better? Can't we STILL enjoy life? And (thank goodness) he IS much better. But we made a short-list of things he really wanted to do.. And when I say short..I mean short. Big B's list Fix his boat and just relax more.

Then I started thinking about the lotto. About how we always make plans for what we would do if we won the BIG BUCKS. Just like when looking at the end of one's life...you start saying what you would or wouldn't do differently. I thought..why? Why do we have to win a lot of money to do these things. Can't we give to these organizations, spend more time with family, treat ourselves to good books and time for ourselves in smaller ways now?

During the time I was contemplating life in general, my job at the Teen Center became crazy hectic. Over time, the job I sincerely loved became something I started dreading. For a number of reasons I started resenting my time at the Center and I felt myself turning into someone I didn't want to be. I realized that what I personally wanted out of life was the ability to live a life loving fearlessly and trusting my own personal integrity. I realized  the roadblocks to this life were within me. Specifically my own self-righteousness, unforgiveness and over-extended busyness. I began journaling like CRAZY.

During my time journaling (which I still do, by the way) I realized that self-righteousness is a lot like clutter-blindness. It just sort-of builds up and you don't realize it. For me..self-righteousness took the form of being "too busy" doing important things that I couldn't take the time for the people who were the closest to me. My family.

One afternoon I found myself journaling about who I was at the age of 10. You know when you are at that age of being almost aware of the tough stuff of adulthood but clinging to childhood with a vengeance. When the future holds so many possibilities.

 I made a list of things that I did, or dreamed of being at that age. I spent hours in trees by myself, just day-dreaming. I played music. I read a lot. I wrote a lot. I envisioned myself a budding social-activist. I collected stamps. I read the bible.  I spent a fair amount of time just hanging out with friends. I thought..what happened to that person?

I realized I had compromised so much of who I was to accommodate others. So I quit my job. A job I love but left me no time to just. be. me.

The universe has opened up a temporary job that is leading into a part-time job for me.  I also get to be a part of a community center project that is still in it's infancy stage. This center holds so many possibilities....  I now have the time to enjoy my family. To read. To write. To continue playing music and discussing theology with my brothers-in-white at the local prison. To just hang out with my family..and to read all the Holy Books. (currently reading through the Old Testament  stories in Genesis and the Quran..because I am just sort-of geeky that way)

 But most importantly, I have time to continue breaking down the barriers of self-righteousness and unforgiveness I have slowly built up ..intentional or not..over a lifetime. To live a life of fearless love.

And yesterday? Yesterday..I had the opportunity to hang out with some of my elementary school friends...like the ones I knew when I was 10.
 It was great! We had a chance to revisit stories of various nuns, priests and lay-teachers that helped shape our childhood. We gossiped about those that (ahem) could not make it. Shamelessly by the way. We briefly talked politics and then touched on some of the emotional high or low points of the past couple decades.

This morning I was holding Levi during our "snuggle time". It's a morning routine. I hold my "snuggle bug" and we watch something obnoxious on t.v. together. We watched Daniel Lion's Neighborhood. (which for those of you not in the know? Is the new, cartoon version of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood). As I held him...resting my chin on his head and listening to the sound of him sucking his thumb. I thought to myself  the search is over. Here I am. Living in my own TREASURE ISLAND.

My navigator was right...ready or not?

I have arrived.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013



How time flies...

"ADVENTURE!" That is one of Austen's favorite sayings. When he is taking off to hang out with friends. "Adventure!" When something goes wrong? "Adventure".

And this past month..has been one heck of an Adventure!

So..we start with our adventurer. Austen is finished with highschool!

 We celebrate with a small ungraduation party at Dave and Busters. Then? Austen heads to girl-scout camp for his 3rd summer as a girl-scout. His first weekend home? He looks like this!

Austen's plans after camp?

 Bar tending school, work and then off to Australia for a year to bar tend his way from Sydney to Adelaide (or something like that). Rumors abound that he would like to head to Corpus Christi to study culinary arts on his return from his oversees adventures. What better time in his life than now to try these things? We are fully supportive of his choices.

Here is Austen before the blue hair.
Where he had cleaned up really nice for....

   Brian and Angee's wedding!!!

Absolutely amazing wedding..if I do say so myself! And (ahem) that is a completely unbiased opinion. I am so happy for both of them. And now? I have an extraordinary daughter-in-law. Lucky me!

But honestly? Austen was not the only graduate this year. My nephew Calvin graduated and is heading to Northwest Vista this Fall to study 3D animation. And then..well..we have Angee and Brian. Angee is now off to med school while Brian works full time for a company he really enjoys.

Not to be left out of our family adventures is Odio. Cody has been the silent supportive rock in all of this. He has transported babies, run numerous errands and tonight? He is hooking up a Roku to the t.v. in my room so Big B and I can spend the summer vegging in front of the t.v. watching movies and playing Angry Birds. And? The kiddo is doing all of this while working full time and going to summer school.

As for me and Big B? We are utterly exhausted. We have, however, been enjoying a few weekends here and there to find a lake. You know..the ones that still have water in this S.Texas drought. We are enjoying this time to just. hang. out.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Warrior Princesses...

Once upon a time this grilled-cheese-chic attended a warrior princess school. For you see, I am actually a dragon slayer..and at this school..we had grand adventures..and learned to play ninja, and read paper-bag princess..and I met all sorts of warrior princesses, and other dragon slayers, and queens of enchanted forests and stuff. And this weekend? A few of us had a little rendezvous. (Think Knights of the Round Table)

I can't give you too many details. What I can do is say this weekend involved...knife confiscation at an undisclosed airport, midnight airport runs, Rio's Brazilian Cafe', lots of Theo Chocolate, attitudinal bandannas,  hanging out on S.Congress (in Austin), sometimes easy and sometimes down-right frightening obstacle courses, lots of mud..and more mud..and more mud. It also involved an understanding that the force (of so many other women..and men) was with us. We have deep and silly conversations over hot tea, simultaneously. The only other things I can say are  Abbot Road, lightning bolts..complete with sound effects, and deep shifts on a cellular level. Also? We find a secret treasure..(apologies Bethlehem..we found it after you flew back to your castle)..Dr. Seuss's secret collection, complete with a prayer for a child. But the best treasure of all?

We remembered who we are.