Tag Archive | Self-discovery

My quote of the day

…today and everyday for that matter because it comes up so much for me:

“The root of the word “jealousy,” is actually an old French word, jalousie, meaning “enthusiasm, love, longing.”

from Alexandra Franzen’s post, sent there from another Cape Codder’s blog (she packs some good leads) — rather funny, because it’s a topic I revisit constantly when I venture online.

Not jealous of this girl though, only happy and proud — my daughter’s off on solo travels this minute en route to Bali for 6 weeks. A huge thank you to my Squam pal, Cheryl, for hosting her in San Francisco before today’s departure.

New Cape/Old Cape

This is and isn’t the cape I left back in the 70’s. The pace is much faster, while the characters and drama in local politics remain static. Kind of like a remake of an old Hollywood movie, not necessarily any better than the original. Same roles, different names and faces.

It’s interesting how the vision and culture seem to mirror the topography. Thankfully we are surrounded by ocean, sky, and horizon…the broad expanse helps balance the narrow land. Nature imposes a balance on our culture and community one way or another.

The dominant culture here changed dramatically while I was in Vermont. Or perhaps, I had changed? most likely, a little of both. The cape felt more conservative and stifled to me. Gone were the hippies and bohemians of the past, replaced with retirees and nouveau riche. Or so it appeared to me on the surface. According to Ana, I needed to create what I most needed to find here, and she was right. Something I’d done unconsciously in Vermont for years and had to learn to do here. And in discovering that I could do it here, remembering that I’d actually been doing this all my life. I was a military kid used to bases and the unique bonds forged with other military families. We were gypsies, vagabonds and I learned early what Darshan was about even though I didn’t have a name for it then.

I rarely drink coffee, I like my tea just so, and you’d better be an exceptional baker if you’re selling because if I can do it better at home…then I will. I am not your typical consumer. It’s an experience I’m seeking, more than a commodity. And imperfection? I love to tolerate it if you have the Darshan I seek.

The cafe, the garden, the work of art, the library, the bike path, the market or shop? That’s just the vehicle to get me to the experience. It’s the people or the trees, the color, or the thrill of the discovery I encounter when I arrive that matters to me.
It’s what Rumer Godden in “A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep” says is a Hindu belief that people will travel miles to see, touch, taste, sense, smell the presence or essence of a person, place or thing, with the belief that they will catch some of its spirit or soul to carry with them – this is what I seek in my journey. Darshan. Connection. The need to belong, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

When I walk to the Caribbean Market in my downtown neighborhood, I am not just going to buy the ginger tea that reminds me of a place in Amherst from my daughter’s college days. I am also going to hear the musical singsong of Patois speakers, to smell the sharp spices of Jamaican cooking, to pretend I’m in the South Carolina of my birth, to remember my own immigrant grandparents and how hard people work to make a new life for themselves, to create a new home. So, all this being said, I will share with you some of my favorite places on Cape Cod where I experience Darshan. This may include places that aren’t perfect but they always have good people, vision, and the feeling that that place is loved.

This is and isn’t about a place called Cape Cod, how it’s changing, how I’m changing…it’s about home…the home we make for ourselves wherever we are, because it’s about us and the people. It’s my guide to recognizing that home is right where I am.

Cork Love

The lyrics from Sinead Lohan’s song “No Mermaid” have been running through my head for a while. So I googled it and imagine my surprise and delight to find out she’s from Cork City. One more reason to be proud of my rebel Irish roots. My revolutionary American roots are a whole ‘nother story.

No Mermaid by Sinead Lohan
We went down to the edge of the water
You were afraid to go in
You said there might be sharks out there in the ocean
And I said i’m only going for a swim

I was swimming around in a circle
I wasn’t always in view
You said we might get into red flag danger
And I am alone when i’m not with you

But I am no mermaid
I am no mermaid
And I am no fisherman’s slave
I am no mermaid
I am no mermaid
I keep my head above the waves

We were swinging from the centre of the ceiling
You were afraid to give in
I said I know i’ll always live for this feeling
And you closed your eyes you said never again

We were dancing in the middle of the desert
You said we’ll burn under the hot sun
I said i’d rather be the colour of pleasure
Than watch like you from under the thumb

But I am no mermaid
I am no mermaid
And I am no fisherman’s slave
I am no mermaid
I am no mermaid
I keep my head above the waves

We went down to the edge of the water
You were afraid to go in
You said there might be sharks out there in the ocean
And I said i’m only going for a swim

I was living around in a circle
I wasn’t always in view
You said we might get into red flag danger
And I am alone when I’m not with you

But I am no mermaid
I am no mermaid
And I am no fisherman’s slave
I am no mermaid
I am no mermaid
I keep my head above the wave

*sigh* she writes and sings so beautifully. I hope I am not infringing on her copyright by posting her lyrics.

Guilt

There is no rhyme or reason to guilt. No point in figuring it out. It just is. Trying to make sense of it is tiresome and depletes energy best used for moving beyond it; not questioning it, but accepting it. Call it Catholic, Jewish, Irish Catholic, maternal; it’s all still guilt. And it’s a part of my psyche the way love is.

Guilt. It’s what’s for dinner. With a side of forgiveness.

Learning the art of napping

The learning curve for this wordpress blog is steep, but not so with my lessons in napping. I have never been much of a napper, even as a toddler. My pregnant mother would put my 2 year old self down for an afternoon nap, only to wake up from her nap and realize I’d been up playing as soon as she fell asleep. Putting our heads on our desks for an afternoon snooze in elementary school? BOR-ing!

But lately? I’m realizing it is an art, an acquired skill, and like many skills, takes practice. I’m self-taught and sometimes it’s hard but I am trying. And when I am successful, it is a delight to arise refreshed and ready for some new moves. A successful nap for me means rest and a return with no guilt. Nature rests, my dog naps throughout the day, the Spanish have their siestas, great uncles have naps on their recliners, hammocks, basement sofas and beach blankets. It’s about time I pay attention and learn from their examples.

Work

A while back I wrote that I’d thought my word of the year was HOME, yet I found it evolving into WORK. Because home is work.
And the home we will eventually move into is a TON of work. Besides renovation though, we also have the work that pays our bills, and then the work that feeds our souls and inhabits our dreams. My special work this year is finishing the survival aka field guide to this peninsula I pretty much grew up on in between our dad’s military transfers.

I’m a decent writer and my work has been admired by my private reading circle, BUT sometimes I’m not sure I really love writing. Not sure I have the drive for it. It is damn HARD WORK. And I thought if it’s doing something you love, it’s not supposed to feel like work. Time becomes suspended. You lose track of it, yourself, and surroundings and everything sort of merges. So, I have my writing project spread on the table here with me, some guides to guide me, and a blog post by a local yogi that has given me pause to consider my relationship to my work. I want to explore the character, the persona that is my work. What’s your relationship to your work? What is her persona?

Photos, or Why There Are None Here…Yet

There are so many blogs out there about personal growth, design, craft, food, tree hugging, homesteading, the list grows daily. My problem always comes down to too many choices and too many steps. And resisting what comes naturally to me.

I love being called a Renaissance Woman, and have been called that more than once. It’s who I am, part of my make-up. I am good at many things, but that can make focus hard for me. And I need focus to accomplish anything. Focus and simple, easily deconstructed steps to finish a job. I tend to look towards the finished product before recognizing all the steps it takes to get there. I’m learning. Not to add more steps before I’ve completed the initial step.

Right now I’m focussing on just getting my words on the page and into the world. Visuals may come sometime in the future but for now I just want to develop practice…writing practice in whatever form it takes. So no photos. Although there will be links! I serendipitously taught myself HTML code for links the other day! Woohoo! Blogging with an IPad is enough of a learning curve without throwing photos into the mix just yet.

The other focus for me is topic…and it’s easy for me to get off topic. So, in the interests of focus and topic for ArtFoodSoul blogging, I’m done with today’s public service announcement.

Ordinary

I’m happy to be blogging again but am aware of the risk of narcissism, self-indulgence, and ego creeping into my posts. I want to be careful of that but sometimes it’s hard. We all want our lives to count for something, to stand out from the crowd, to matter, to transcend our history (hopefully), and we’re here this go round for such a very short time.

We want to be special, not just ordinary like everybody else, and yet that is where I feel most connected to another, when I learn I am not alone in my feelings, that they are common and ordinary and shared. My life is beautiful in its everyday ordinariness, and I am happy to share it with others who are struggling with the ordinary too.

Simple Potato Gratin

Hmmm, what to make for dinner? Truth be told, I love to bake but am not crazy about cooking. Or perhaps I should clarify…involved cooking. I like simple food. Straightforward ingredients. Seasonal and as local as I can get is good, too. This makes me a huge fan of Alice Waters. If I ever needed someone to validate my need to cook (and bake) this way, it is Alice. Why validate? Because Alice elevates simple cooking to the sublime. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be divine. So thank you, Alice, for helping me realize that I am a great cook sometimes and an even better baker most times.
And here is one of Alice’s recipes from The Art of Simple Food: Potato Gratin. For the details, I encourage you to get her book…if you can’t buy it, borrow it from your local library system.

What I use: several potatoes, thinly sliced and layered in a buttered casserole pan. Salted and peppered on each layer. Overlap the layers and if you’d like, layer in some thinly sliced onions or other veggie you may love (even kale!). Marty, me matey, doesn’t like onions so I sprinkle a light layer of smoked Gouda or other cheese we like. When I’ve used up the potatoes, or filled my casserole, I pour a mixture of milk and heavy cream over it to cover the potatoes. Sprinkle on some paprika, maybe some bread crumbs, and bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for about an hour. Serve with greens and/or whatever accompaniments feed your soul at that moment. Breathe deeply and enjoy!