Tag Archives: Ciel

New Moon, New Seeds

New Moon Landing

Today is the first new moon of the new year, and I didn’t want to let it pass without some acknowledgment. It’s an ideal time to focus on my intentions for this phase of my life, to plant the seeds.

Inspired a bit by Goddess Leonie Dawson’s article in last week’s installment of A Year With Myself, I called a women’s circle so I could share this new moon intention ritual with some of the women I care deeply about. Leonie’s story of when she entered her first sacred women’s circle struck a chord – reminding me of the first circles I took part in back in the days when Ciel was crawling around knocking over the candles on the altar.

I sat in a living room, holding hands with a dozen or so women, not knowing Continue reading

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Filed under Spirit, Women

28 Years Ago Today

Baby Ciel with Mom

Today my beautiful Ciel celebrates 28 years on the planet. Four 7-year cycles, there’s no more question that this baby of mine is fully an adult. Of course she’s been self-sufficient for nearly a decade, so there  hasn’t been any ‘question’ in years. But it  hits me a little more deeply with each passing birthday.

Of course by the time I was 28 I was raising a 7-year old and running a store. Since Ciel still has the luxury of sleeping past 9 – without little fingers prying her eyelids open – I can’t help still viewing her as somehow younger. (But don’t get me wrong, I am infinitely relieved that she didn’t follow the generational pattern of early motherhood. I’m a big fan of letting the 20s be all about self-exploration.)

Ciel is entering what astrologers call her Saturn Return – a time of transition, big changes Continue reading


Filed under Ciel, Mothers

A Mother’s Worry Is Never Done

Well this is it. Rosie loaded her big suitcase into the back of her friend’s van at 6:30 a.m., and they drove into the dark morning. She didn’t feel ready to go and that made it all the harder to say goodbye. She spent most of her winter break vacationing in LA and Mexico with the family – which she loved and appreciated – but she realized she did not get her fill of Humboldt.

Kind of heart-warming, and such a welcome change from her attitude after the summer break. Four months of Humboldt was decidedly too much for a girl who loves the city. A girl who’s afraid of our new chickens who now scrabble around the yard and chase her as she walks to the car. (Okay, I guess she has an excuse. At three years old she was chased by a mean rooster we had inherited who pecked her leg pretty good. She has scars to this day – and not just on her knee apparently.)

But I digress. It seems you can take the girl out of Humboldt but you can never take Humboldt out of the girl. Born and raised here, I have a feeling my youngest daughter Continue reading


Filed under Daughters, Empty Nest

Empty Nest Once Again…And New Possibilities

Rosie (right) poses with her friend Kiri as they prepare to go out to '80s night on one of her last evenings in Arcata.

Well, Rosie’s off to her new apartment in Boston and second year in her BFA program. How grateful I am that I’ve managed to arrange my life so that I could spend those last couple of days with her, even though they fell midweek.  We spent an afternoon driving to the San Francisco Bay Area, an evening with my sister and her teenage cousins eating at our favorite Berkeley Mexican restaurant and playing a rousing game of Balderdash. (This is a family of board game lovers!)

Then we got to pamper ourselves with inexpensive pedis, and wander around Berkeley checking out vintage stores, eating salads and ice cream, and generally having great girl time. More ethnic food for dinner with the family – this time Indian, something I enjoy far too infrequently. Humboldt is a wonderful community but it is decidedly underpopulated with ethnic restaurants,  or people of diverse racial backgrounds.

Mmm, that was some great Indian food!

All  in all a thoroughly enjoyable send-off, particularly since Rosie really loves these particular cousins – and mentions how much she misses them when she’s feeling homesick.

And then alas, the time for goodbyes drew near. My mood would have darkened, if not for the silver lining. In an unplanned turn of serendipity, my other daughter, Ciel, happened to be flying into San Francisco the night before Rosie left. She’d spent a couple of weeks visiting her dad in Montreal and the timing was perfect for her to ride back up to Humboldt with me!

Ciel poses for a beauty shot for Wellness blog. Still might use it.

So..one girl is off, but another is still close by. I surely have a lot to be grateful for. What a treat to have Ciel in the neighborhood – and it’s the best of both worlds. She’s only a 5-minute bike ride away, but we don’t have to drive each other back into the adolescent patterns by sharing the same house.

So, yeah. Nest is technically empty again. Just me and Tim rattling around this big old house.

But not for long. Our space will become a bit smaller within the month. A few days before Rosie’s departure I read this great post over at Live Bold and Bloom. It was all about how it’s the little actions that eventually lead to the big changes we dream of.

What was I dreaming of?

Well, now that my nest is empty I’m dreaming of the freedom to explore the world and travel more. But how to get there? I’ve been turning that one around in my brain ever since my return from Asia last Spring. How can I generate the income and free time to take more trips like that, when we have this big mortgage, this big house, and all this stuff??

Well, one idea I had was to convert part of the house into an apartment – or at least rent out the big bedroom that each girl formerly occupied during their teenage years. Right now I’m enjoying it as a huge and light-filled office. But…

That night (after reading about tiny actions) I ran into an acquaintance who told me she and her husband were looking to rent a room in Arcata. They’d only be around about half time she told me, because they divided their time between here and their cabin in the mountains. Hmm, maybe it was time for a (sort of) tiny action. I gave her my number and told her we’d been considering renting a room.

The blocks just tumbled into place within the next few days. We’ll be empty-nesters with roommates starting next month! Which will slice off more than a  third of our mortgage bill – money that hopefully we can set aside for extended travel adventures.

We’re nervous about sharing our home with non-family members. It’s been a while since we lived with roommates and wrestled over refrigerator space. But change is good I keep telling myself. Change is growth!

Bit by bit, moving forward and closer to living the dream.


Filed under Daughters, Empty Nest

Rain-Soaked Herbal Inspiration

Northern California Women's Herbal Symposium

“Come on! This is supposed to be our fun weekend together. Let’s just all try to calm down and get along,” said Ciel, as she dumped another bag on top of the teetering pile in the driveway.

“I’ll be just fine,” I spit out through gritted teeth. “If I can just get this $#@! tailgate open so we can load up!”

The day had arrived. Our long-awaited mother daughter excursion to the Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium. We’d been attempting to synchronize our schedules for the last couple of years without success, and this year we’d finally managed it.

I was appalled to realize it had been seven years since I’d traveled to Laytonville to join the sacred fire circle and this tribe of witchy, plant-loving women.

This year I’d be returning with both of my grown daughters. As wee ones they’d frolicked with the hordes of children that attend the gathering, crafting fairy wings and flower head wreaths or getting their faces painted in the childcare teepee, while their moms took notes on medicinal uses of herbs and identified the wild plants that proliferate on the land.

Later, as adolescents, they each participated in the rite-of-passage ceremony for maidens who have begun their periods. In this ritual the maidens are honored and sung to by hundreds of mothers and crones, welcoming them to the creative power of womanhood.

Now Ciel and Rosie looked forward to attending workshops as adults and learning about the healing powers of the plants from a diverse group of experts. We’d Continue reading


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My Girls Are Coming Home…

…Well, at least for a while. Seems this empty nest doesn’t stay empty for long

Ciel (left) and Rosie (right) decked out in their Bay to Breakers regalia. Super Women?

Rosie flew into San Francisco Friday night where she was picked up by sister Ciel. The two spent Saturday shopping for their costumes for the city’s Bay To Breakers race. (No, they weren’t running, just joining the revelers in the streets – I’m going to have to make it down there sometime for that party!)

Within the next week Ciel and Rosie will make the journey North to Humboldt. Rosie will be right back here in the Nest for the duration of the summer, occupying the bedroom referred to in her absence as “The Princess Room.” It’s so named for the posters of Audrey Hepburn that adorn the walls, not because we consider our daughter a princess – well mostly not because of that.

Ciel will spend the summer in Arcata as well. Her partner, Turner, wants to be near his mom while she is dealing with her illness. The reasons for their return to Humboldt are sad – but I’m loving the idea of  bike rides, frozen yogurt dates and summer camp-outs with both my daughters.

We’ll kick off a summer of mother/daughter bonding at the Northern California Women’s Herbalist Symposium. Both girls attended when they were little girls weaving herbal daisy chains in the kids’ teepee and both got to participate in the Maiden Ceremony held each year. It’s been at least five years since any of us have hung out with the Herbal Goddesses on that lovely piece of land, and we’re all so excited that we’re finally going to make it happen.

Then we’ve got three long months to slip in as many sun-splashed good times as we can.

Rafting, anyone?


Filed under Daughters

Rosie’s Turning Twenty!

Baby Rosie, fall 1991

Grown up Rosie moves into her dorm room, summer 2010.

“Honey?” I shook my husband’s snoring form beside me. “Tim! I think this is it!”

“Huh?” He slurred in a voice thick with sleep, “Are you sure?”

“They’re real contractions, and they’re about five minutes apart. They hurt! Maybe we should call the midwives.”

The glowing numbers on the bedside clock read 4:30, Tim reached over and patted my belly briefly. “Okay honey, but you know what they said. This is gonna go on for a while. Try to sleep a little. We shouldn’t wake them up yet.” And he rolled over, stuck the pillow over his head and was snoring again within seconds. Continue reading


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Goodbye Indonesia, Hello Thailand

Sunset photos on our last night.

Unexpected tears welled up as I hugged my daughter goodbye. The guys were yelling to me, “Get on the boat, On the boat!” and our goodbyes were cut short. I shouldered by backpack waded out into the waters and climbed on.

And with that I was off on the next section of this travel adventure. I’m soloing in now, and although this was the journey I’d imagined – solitude and the chance to meet other adventurers – now that I was really sitting on this boat, headed back to Bali and soon to board my plane for Bangkok, I felt surprisingly sad.

Ciel and I were constant companions for the last three and a half weeks, we’d barely argued and had enjoyed each other’s company even more than I’d anticipated. I knew that we might never again have a chance to spend so much time together, without the distractions of other family members and friends. We’d bonded as mother and daughter and as friends – played, laughed, worried about our mysterious skin conditions, practiced our Indonesian, swam, biked and partied.

Our stay on Gili T topped off our time together perfectly. Lucky girl – she gets a few more days in that idyllic paradise before flying back to California.

I held onto my seat in a cold sweat as the fast boat back to Bali jounced up and down on the giant waves. My head slammed against the headrest and I took slow deep breaths willing my stomach to calm. The rest of the passengers moaned and sighed. The journey back to the bigger island was quite a bit rougher than the passage out to Gili.

We all exited with relief once we reached the port of Pandangbai and jostled each other in the hot sun wondering where to go. Transport back to our hotels was included in the round trip ticket, but everyone was going to different places, how would they figure out who was going where?

I closely followed a man in a white cap who waved his hands and continually yelled, “Ocean Star! Ocean Star!” (the name of our boat line,) and soon was directed onto the very back seat of a crowded bus headed to Sanur. I squeezed into the seat, starting to sweat again as they piled a load of baggage directly at my feet.

I sighed with relief when I finally reached the hotel and said a prayer of thanks I’d had the foresight to book a room in a slightly upscaled place with a swimming pool. After being unceremoniously dumped off the bus with my small pile luggage I was directed in the direction of my hotel. I hiked about a quarter mile in the burning sun because that driver was in some sort of hurry and didn’t want to take the detour to the Prima Cottages. So much for transport directly to the hotel.

The pool, lounge chairs, and the cool, spacious room with my own bed and shower quickly transformed my mood into a happier one though. The pool restaurant wireless connection didn’t work (as usual) but that turned out to be a good thing. I ended up sitting in a bar restaurant, watching the full moon rise as I caught up on my emails and sipped Bintang, the local beer which I’ve come to truly enjoy. Soon a band started up, playing favorites from the ‘70s and requests and I watched European dressed, dressed in bling for Friday night, dance and party.

The beautiful pool at Prima Cottages. Aaah!


An ending and a beginning.  New adventures and experiences await in the land of Siam. My taxi to the airport arrives in an hour


Filed under Travel

Back On The Blog

NOTE TO BLOG VISITORS: This is a catch-up post and probably not the most interesting writing you’ll ever read here. I’m just documenting so I don’t forget where the months went. Skim or skip as you will…

Three months almost to the day since I visited my own blog – and what a whirlwind three months it has been!

October 11:  Last day on the job at ECONEWS. Worked till 8:30 p.m. with my two replacements, finalizing the paper for the printer and getting all my personal data off the business computer. Stayed up past midnight getting ready for the next day’s departure to my next (temporary and off the books) gig. So busy I didn’t have time to contemplate the ramifications of the fact that I had just given up a steady paycheck in favor of flexibility and freedom.

October 12:  Leave at 7:30 a.m. for new job. Spend the next several weeks working 12-hour days with only a few breaks. Since I’m removed from access to the Internet and have limited access to cell phone coverage I have time to get to know my co-workers and to dream about my upcoming trip to Southeast Asia. Oh, and there’s nowhere to spend money either – quite helpful for saving for aforementioned vacation.

November 23: Back home to welcome visiting family for the Thanksgiving Holiday. They stream in starting Tuesday night. Ciel makes it up for a couple of days. My dad is out from Connecticut for the week, my sister is staying at our house along with her husband and two teenage boys. Chaos reigns. I eat way too much.

November 28: Off to work again for a final week. Receive some sad and worrisome news about my former business. Quiet remembrance of my long departed mother’s birthday.

December 1: Back home to face the pile of overlooked obligations, dustballs and missed bills. Is that really Christmas looming in just a little over 3 weeks? But before that we must prepare to go to the Bay Area for a very big event:  Ciel’s Graduation From College! And if I’m going to take this trip, I’d better purchase some plane tickets! Somehow amidst the flurry of shopping and preparations it barely occurs to me to blog or indeed to write at all. Actually that’s not true, I think about it every day, somewhat longingly. But as I discussed on my post on “Inertia,” the longer I go without writing, the harder it is to sit at the computer and actually do it.

December 8:  Purchase plane tickets to Bali! Woo Hoo! A trip I’ve been dreaming of for about 25 years. And now with an empty nest and no job the dream can become a reality.I buy a ticket for Ciel as a graduation gift. I’ll be over there for two months, and hope to spend some time in Thailand too, and she will join me in Bali for about four weeks of that time. To further complicate the ticket-purchasing, Tim wants to go to Kauai to visit his best friend who moved there last spring. Hours and hours of online fare-scrutinizing yield no good deals that  take Tim to Bali with a stop-off in Hawaii on his return. E-mail exchanges with a local travel agent bring up even worse prices. We finally settle on one-way tickets for both of us to Kauai. After 6 days I fly from Honolulu to Bali. He’ll stay in Kauai a couple more weeks, then fly back home via Seattle. I think I log about 17 hours on the computer getting all this figured out! And don’t even get me started on the cost. Good thing I wasn’t spending money all fall. Bad thing that the holidays came in between fall and the trip.

Mom with Ciel, the graduate

I did it!

December 18:  The big graduation! An event deserving of a separate post if I can get to it. I am so proud of my daughter who now holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science, with honors, from San Jose State University. She worked so hard to get here, and I loved the small ceremony which allowed her to be individually acknowledged for all her accomplishments.


Filed under General

Back On The Blog, Part 2

(Continuation of previous post since WordPress was garbling photos and text…)

"Santa Came! The stockings are full and there's HUNDREDS of presents! Get up, get up!"

December 24: Depart for week-long family holiday vacation in Gold Beach, Oregon. Instead of our usual crazy Christmas Eve Party, followed by a present extravaganza in my living room which barely holds the presents much less the 10 to 13 family members gathered there, we opted for a vacation rental on the Oregon Coast. Leaving that morning made for a bit of a hectic Christmas Eve, but by that evening we had created our own hors d’oeuvres/dessert/margarita party – but much less mess without the crowds of friends.

The following days represented a welcome respite from the running around of the previous weeks, but somehow despite my best intentions, I barely managed to crack a novel, much less get any writing done. Lots of good family time though. Monopoly and Pictionary with the nephews while rain and wind shook the house. A stunning hike, complete with rainbows,  down to the beach at Cape Sebastian on the one semi-sunny day.

December 30: Drive home to prepare for big New Year’s Even barn party – wondering why exactly we decided at the last minute to have such party. Oh yeah, it was a great excuse to celebrate and ring in the New Year with both daughters. Of course they both spent the whole day dress-shopping, but they sure did look smashing in their brand new New Year’s dresses!

December 31: Party Time!

Ciel shakes it up in her hot new dress

Rosie rockin' with her friend Anna

Woo Hoo! The fun goes on way after midnight.

January 1: What just happened? Now I have to wash 96 borrowed wineglasses!

January 2: Am I really leaving in less than 17 days? What should I bring? Or, more to the point:  what shouldn’t I bring? Can I fit everything into a carry-on? Time to get serious and get ready for two months in Bali and Thailand!

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