Where I come from. 

I love cities. I love the pulse of them and the way you can walk to the shops and restaurants. I love the way the local people go about their lives while me -the visitor -watches them like they are a species. Maybe they are -city people. 

I was a city person for a short while. I lived in Boston for about a year in my twenties. I was part of the hustle and bustle. I walked to shops and I took the T down town to work everyday. I learned how to get on that T ( the Boston subway) – pushing my way in at rush hour -holding on tight to the silver rail or pole that spanned each car – packed in like sardines- and snagging a seat of it became available. And God help is if we had train trouble. Or another train had trouble. Being stuck in a train car like a sardine with no lights and no AC is a bitch. I can’t believe I didnt claw my way out when those things happened. I could not deal with that now. 

What I came to realize in the years since I left the city is that I was really a poser. I was not a city person. I was pretending to be one. 

While I lived in the city I took every opportunity to get out of it. Visiting the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. All of those visits involved camping and/or riding bikes all over those areas. We were on beaches and in the mountains. The city was where I worked and lived but it was in nature that I truly felt alive. 

When I flock to the city now I always gravitate to the parks or to the water. In Baltimore I love Fells point -bc it’s kitschy -but also because it’s on the water. I never stay long in the city. Just long enough to enjoy watching the real city people  -and maybe some of them are posers like I was. But I always leave to come home here to this little farm because I’m from Nature. Nature called me and she won. 

I’ve always found solace and peace in nature. I think we are drawn to what can balance us. And since I’ve been young I’ve been drawn to trees and the forest and to rocks and water. 

When I was a kid we had a small line of woods near our house and I had a special place I went to that was private but so close to the house I could see our backyard fence just feet away.  There was a big rock there and I could sit there and think -my hands running over the cold, smooth surface. There was a dirt path that led up through the woods. Houses flanked both sides. I could run up the path and pretend I was on my horse exploring strange lands. I could see the kitchen lights of our neighbors windows as evening fell. I’d walk in the house after being gone for hours.  Nobody worried. It’s just the way it was back then. 

“I’m going to the woods” was on my lips and came out of my mouth thousands of times during my childhood. I travelled alone or in packs with my neighborhood friends. I was known as the one who always fell in the creek. Sometimes it was by accident and sometimes it wasn’t.  I’d come home in soggy Danskins. Cold and wet but happy.  

I’m sure I escaped to the woods back then to escape the chaos that was part of my household. But it was more than that. It was like I felt more at home outside in the woods than I did indoors. 

I rode horses on Saturday’s at a farm 45 minutes from my suburban home. It felt like another world and I was so happy when I was there. I was sure I was supposed to be part of that world and not part of the confines of suburbia. I think I knew then where my heart wanted to be. 

My dad never liked farms. To him they didn’t represent the ideal world he had in his mind. He was kind of an inside the box thinker. I lived outside. And I followed my heart a lot even if it didn’t always work out. I’m the The Road less travelled type of girl – dad not so much. 

 I remember my dad taking us every so often to the Catoctin mountains about an hour outside where I lived. I loved going on those excursions with my dad. We would hike some. Then he’d drive around inside the pretty park. Once we took our dog and she puked in the car on the way there. Once or twice after visiting the park we stopped at a hamburger place in Thurmont , Md right outside the mountain park and we’d have small square hamburgers at this cute little restaurant. I always loved small towns and always wanted to live in one –and now I do. Those trips were special. My dad seemed more at ease, more focused and friendlier. Except for the time the dog puked in the car. 

 After my dad moved to Florida he would come North for fall and one year we went back to the Catoctins. He was excited to share that time with my kids. He travelled to Colorado regularly and the year before he died he took a bus trip across Idaho and into Montana and beyond. He took a cruise on the Rivers of France. That was so outside his comfort zone going outside the USA -but I’ll bet being on the water was enticing to him. 

 My dad also loved the beach. He lived the last years of his life on a small island on the Gulf side of Florida. As kids My family spent years going to the Maryland and Jersey shores every summer. He taught me how to ride waves. We ate Taylor burgers together from our favorite dive on the boardwalk on the jersey shore. 

Sometimes I am amazed at how similar we were. He just never saw it and I don’t think I did until he was gone. I wish it didn’t take death for me to see this similarity -I always looked for our differences. And we had a number of them but we both loved the beauty of the world. 

Sometimes he was the chaos I ran from to the woods to find the calm I craved -but maybe in his life he was running from the chaos inside himself. Maybe nature called to his heart like it does mine. 

It’s hard to walk into a canopy of trees and not feel enveloped in a hug from something not of the human world.   Or when you walk on the beach with the sounds of the waves and the gulls how can the heart rate not slow? 


I’m from nature. When I reach out to it it always reaches back and gives me just what I need. No wonder I often sleep with one earbud in with ocean sounds playing on my IPad. Or I crack my window open at night and can hear the snort of a horse and the crow of the roosters in the early morning. Farm sounds for free. 


I live in the country now.  We have neighbors but we have space too. I am 8 miles from a small town that I love -And not too from big cities. My place is here on my farm or at the beach. Or in the woods or at a lake. I am from nature.  

My world has been limited lately. My pain makes it hard to go out anywhere in the car. I hate being cooped up. I’m like a wounded eagle wanting to fly free. 


For now I have the lane next to my house-And the trees beside it and fields surrounding it. I try to walk everyday on the lane. I don’t make it that often but I try. I walk out the door and visit the chickens and ducks. Sometimes I have goodies to feed them. I step onto the lane -sometimes it’s dry, sometimes wet and sometimes soggy but it always calms me. 

If we open our hearts to nature it  will speak to us.  We are all part of the same thing but our humaness is a shield that hinders our connection. Drop the shield and the real world will reach out to us.  


On the lane I talk to God, my dad, my father in law, I pray, if I’m with my husband or one of my teens we chat. I take pictures. How can I have so many pictures of the same place? What a small world I live in. But the that world changes everyday. It is what nature does -it is never the same. 

I stop to take a picture and I’m somewhere else. I’m in the puddle looking at the branches of the trees in the reflection. I’m mesmerized by naked branches. I have so many pictures of the winter tree. 


But for a moment I’m not in pain.  I’m part of that tree. I’m part of that puddle. I’m part of those woods and of the cornfield. 

I come back inside and I’m grounded and whole. 

I am from nature.  

Breakfast in bed 

I have breakfast in bed almost everyday.  But there is a story around it. There is always a story. 

About the time I was diagnosed with cancer in August of 2013 -we had another big Change in our family. My children who were now young teens -the boys about 13 and my daughter about 15- started public school and they took a bus. Prior to that my husband-Kevin- or I would drive them to private school and pick them up. Often we did this together as my husband had a flexible schedule being in sales and/or personal training (often he as had more than one job at a time. ) 

When the kids began public school the bus was a blessing as I had been just diagnosed with cancer and getting up in the morning got hard for me. After surgery i was sore and then radiation kind of slams you into a perpetual tiredness that took months to wane after the treatment was over. 

I will go on recorded to say I have  never been a morning person. Ever -not even as a teen.  I have forced myself up at early hours in the past to take shots of sunrises (I prefer sunsets!) and also to drive myself to my various jobs but as the years began to open up opportunities for people to work flex schedules I took advantage opting to come in later to work in the morning and to stay later at night. For years now I’ve worked from home running a company we own so the 5:45 am alarm for me was gone. In fact I stopped sleeping with an alarm clock by my bed years before we could tell Siri on our phones to wake us at a certain time. I felt it was such a luxury not to be told when to get up. 

We moved to our little farm over five years ago and in the beginning i got  up every morning to do chores. But Kevin begangetting up earlier to train clients in our gym and he began to do the morning  farm chores. It was too early for me and after cancer treatments I had physical issues that precluded me from doing the chores alone.   That kinda was a bummer even though I wasn’t missing getting up -I missed being able to do some of the things I did before.  And mornings are so pretty here. Maybe not the early Kevin mornings but an hour later is still really nice. But since I couldn’t do much I stopped getting up for morning  chores.  Sometimes I miss those mornings and I do get up and walk outside and do the chores that I can do and enjoy the peace of the morning. But more often I linger in bed. 

There was a time when I was in my early 20s that I became ill. It was a weird thing. I felt tired like I had the flu all the time. I would sleep so deeply only to wake up in the morning to be tired again after being up only an hour. A lot had gone in around that time for me health wise – I had had a surgery for ovarian cysts but I recall that I was feeling the fatigue prior to the surgery. I wasn’t able  to work full time. At the time I was living with my grandmother (Nana) and she was diagnosed with cancer and died a short time after my surgery.   I was wrecked from losing her. I ended a long relationship at that time and I was going to have to move from my grandmothers apartment and find another place to live.  I also began to date a new person who I would date for the next five years. That relationship was probably not something I should have started then  but I was so lonely.  Perhaps it did help me to get better as well as it made me stay active going  out on dates and trying to appear like I felt well.  Fake it until you make it. 

I struggled so hard feel better and after my dad read an article on Epstein Barr virus he suggested I ask my doctor for a blood test. And there it was. The diagnosis. But nobody knew how to get rid of it.  

I remember praying to God to help me. One day I had lugged my bicycle down the steps from my nanas apartment after she died but before I had to move out and I was determined to ride someplace. I had fallen in love with cycling when I lived in Boston the year before and I could ride some huge hills in Vermont and New Hampshire. Cycling up heartbreak hill in bean town was nothing- but that day in front of my grandmothers apartment I could hardly bike around the block. So I prayed hard for God to heal me and I vowed that if that vast tiredness would go away and  I could function like a normal person I would never waste a moment of time again in my life laying around. 

I had secured a full time job by then and everyday I got up early and though I felt bad much of the time I put in a full day’s work. I made a habit of going to bed early and within a few months I began to feel better.  I can say I have probably never felt as well since that diagnosis thirty years ago than I had prior to getting Ill but I felt much better than I did while I had it so I just moved on.  And since then have come to read a lot more about that virus and the effects it has in the body.  Some of it explains my anxiety disorder but that is another story. 

But I stayed true to my vow for years and got up early each day vowing not to waste time lingering in laziness – I got my life back after all. 

But as I got closer to 40 I began to hate getting up really early and by that time I was working from home so I had some flexibility but I had little kids so there was no lingering in bed. 

My kids came to me though adoption so I only had one baby who did wake us many nights after he came home at 8 months and he had early morning feedings and needs so early was a given. After I became a mom at 37 I was never so shell shocked and so tired.i still wasn’t  a morning person then either but someone else came first. So up I went. It was quite overwhelming and so very wonderful at the same time. 

For years , I did get up early to drive my kids to school, to assemble lunches or to make breakfast for the kids. Actually Kevin did the breakfasts more than I did -now that I think of it. He is an early morning person – the chipper kind after a cup of coffee.  I got up in the morning -but took longer to get downstairs as I wanted to be dressed for the day if I was going to take the kids to school. It was just a thing I had to do.  So Kevin had my bagel ready for me every morning so I could have it in the car on the way to school. 

Their school began at a reasonable hour in private school. In public school they have to get up at the crack of dawn to get their high school bus.  Too early for me. 

And since I was going through cancer treatments and was not feeling well I opted to parent from bed. At first I did get up to eat breakfast while they were readying themselves for school. I wanted life to appear normal even though I didn’t feel well.  But that became stressful as I would just get nervous if they were dilly dallying and I would begin nagging – stressing them out.  So at some point I began to parent from bed yelling or texting my questions from the comfort of bed “is Luke up?” Or “let the dogs in ” ” don’t forget you (insert item name here)”.  Things seemed to go better for everyone most of the time with this system and Kevin was there if he wasn’t training a client   

After my cancer treatments were over  I was so tired and depressed that I began to linger in bed more. I was awake but I just didn’t want to get up    This time I didn’t vow not to waste time. This time I decided to enjoy the rest. I had lived frantically much of my life and still do some BC having teens -well it’s busy. I needed that time to linger in bed in the morning to just be. I had to heal mentally and physically. 

 I began getting up after they left for school. I would have my husband prepared breakfast in the kitchen area ( our kitchen is an area out in the open) with Kevin or alone in the solitude of a house that is void of kids for six hours. Sometimes that’s glorious -that emptiness -and sometimes it’s so lonely. 

Typically Kevin -still an early riser -will get up to train clients in the morning ( he still has multiple jobs – just less of them now) and each morning he makes my breakfast (a fresh egg from our hens and a piece of bread of some sort) and for a good while he would leave it the microwave. I would go out when I was ready and heat it up and sit at the counter. But after a few months of that I decided to take it into my room and eat in bed. It was luxury for me. 

I suppose Kevin caught on to this and he began to ask if I wanted to eat in bed and and now on most mornings he brings me my breakfast in bed.  It’s just a thing a thing he does.  Kindness and caring are in his DNA. He was with me every single day of my cancer battle. Friends said they’d take me to radiation so he could work but he went to every one.  Never complained -he just loved me through  it.  Even in my darkest hours and there were many. 

He doesn’t have to do it- the breakfast thing. He just does. We balance each other well I think. I may not do the same for him -If he were the late riser. I may not make him breakfast in bed everyday. . But I do other things to show I care and to keep the wheels turning in our little family. But he’s a gem and I know it. I’m not trading him in -he is stuck with me I tell him often. He doesn’t seem to mind. 

It occurs to me that I need to start getting up  earlier. Not the crack of dawn but earlier because the lingering in bed has become longer and longer and I’m getting less productive. Some of that is ok but some isn’t because I still have a job and though the business can run some on its own and it has slowed down a lot – I still need to work on it. ( I’m really ready to retire from that job but that’s yet another post). I have gotten into some more creative things like furniture painting  and I find I am turning to those things first when I get my day started late and then I’m flustered later trying to catch up on the work stuff. I see where my priorities are and maybe they need a shift. 

But back to the breakfasts in bed…if I rise earlier will I miss them? Of course! But it’s not really about the getting the food in bed it’s about having a partner in life that is willing to meet you where you are in a loving way and let you know you are good even if you want to linger in bed every morning or scream and cry on a bad day or run in a manic way on one of those crazed days where the mind never quite focuses at all. That person says you are good – you are loved. It’s as simple as an egg and a piece of toast..
    

Thoughts on busy-ness

Whew long time no post. I actually wrote this post a week ago but didn’t have time to edit it- how apropos to the topic of this post! —

Kevin, my husband, and I were chatting recently and he said something that made me think.

“When I talk with people I rarely ever tell them anymore that I’ve been busy because it seems like everyone is busy and my being busy isn’t more important than there busy ”

Well…wow – that’s true I thought to myself. Then I began to do a self check  as I do when someone says something very smart -do I push my business out there in convos I asked myself-and by goodness gosh I do. Because I’m freaking busy. Like so busy that I forget all the stuff I did in a day and sometimes even become paralyzed with all the stuff I need to do. I’m so busy that I’m taking time to write this in the car in a traffic jam inYork PA as we drive back from helping my mom because when I get home I’ll be too busy or tired to write. But Kevin’s is right we are ALL busy and my busy does not trump your busy.

I need to stop putting my busy in other people’s face.  Unless I want to vent a little. Venting feels good.

So now I wonder am I busier or has middle age just made me more aware and less resilient than when I was young?

When I was young I could get up and head to work after being out late the night before – I could work a full day and then go home walk my dog and head to the gym and maybe even go out again to meet some friends.I used to drive back and forth to the beach in a day -I baked in the sun in-between.  I took night classes for my MBA after work. I never got an MBA -I got married and then things got super busy.

Why do I feel so much more busy now? Perhaps it’s because I have others to worry about -kids, husband, aging parents. I manage their schedules, I worry about their health, their grades,college possibilities(I have a whole other post just about that), I drive people around. And I work. It’s insane and maybe my menopausal brain can’t process it all as well as my younger brain could.

I’m in the the middle of life- middle age. Nobody warns you that being in the middle isn’t only the sagging body and wrinkles that seem to come overnight. We are often caring for growing children and caring for aging parents. We often work full time while juggling the other stuff. Nobody warns you how that can keep you up at night and super busy during the day.

But isn’t our world just busier overall? Or is just my view of it that has changed?

Middle age, oldster, youngster.  We are all busy. My own daughter works two afternoons a week and one day on the weekend while going to cosmetology school while she still taking her high school courses.  She is busy. I don’t remember being that busy as a teen.

Sometimes I think the technology that I love so much makes us that much busier BC we have so many things that can be done right at our fingertips. Just take the app Yelp. Awesome app. But if I want to find a restaurant near where I am or going I can just look on the app but lo and behold the app shows me lots of restaurant choices and then I need to read all the reviews. In the olden days I may have asked a friend for a recommendation or I may have just stopped at a place that looked good. Now I get out the app and check how many stars a place has. I leave nothing to chance and I spend lots more time making sure I choose just the right restaurant. I love (many emoji hearts) my smartphone but you get what I am saying -yes?

Let’s face it, we all are on the busy train going somewhere. Until we aren’t.

Sometime in our lives we might actually miss the busy because we can’t physically get on that train anymore. I have been derailed a time or two temporarily. When I had cancer and was getting treatment life as I knew it kind of stopped. I had to limit my focus on my health and my family and my recovery. Other stuff had to take the back seat.  I began to miss the things that I had fretted about before. I saw things in a different way. That being busy may be stressful but being unable to be busy is also stressful.  As I recovered I was so happy that I began to have the endurance to be busy. I thought I would be able to temper my busy with my new look on life that having a serious illness can give a person. But no – I seemed to have jumped back on that busy train – it can suck us in so fast.

There needs to be a balance – I suppose- and I look hard to find it. I do know that when I get overloaded with things my mind sometimes goes inert. I become unable to do anything unless I break each thing down into smaller tasks. Or I delegate something to someone else. Maybe this is a good thing. This inertia. It at least gets me to realize I need a break.

Busy isn’t going to stop I am afraid. So maybe there is a way to enjoy it whilst in the middle of it.

All of us need to take some time to unplug and breathe. Spend time with the family if you aren’t so sick of them BC you’ve been driving them all over or picking up after their messy selves. Read a good book. Or binge watch a show. I know that is not unplugged in its true sense but for me it’s a distraction from my own crowded mind. And there are so many great shows to watch- yes?

I even try to meditate but thats a work in progress for me. I have read how good that is for cancer survivors and I maybe a good way to still my mind. Oddly, for the months that after I completed my cancer treatments I was able to sit still for long periods and just be. Maybe this is as close to good meditation that I will ever get. Time would go by and I would just be sitting…sometimes at the end of the bed and other times at my desk. I would lose track of time and an hour would be gone. It was rather strange. Unfortunately this was during a time that i was frustrated that I could not tolerate busy at all. I was tired out from the treatments and I became depressed as well. Which is not uncommon after cancer treatments I have since found out.  I would become tired and overwhelmed after doing just a few things. So my ability to just drift into some zone wasn’t as much as a blessing to me as a curse back then. Sometimes now if I am tired i can get into that zone- but again I lament about wasting time and not getting things done.

I am sure some of this sounds familiar especially to women.  We want balance and when we go to take a breather – we often feel guilty.  I am trying to learn my limits and allow myself to take some time out of the busy. I actually appreciate the busy more when I give myself that break.  Right now I am finishing this post sitting in my mothers sunroom. Its so quiet. I hear the faint sound of traffic outside and my golden’s soft snores. I came for an overnight with my husband to check on my mom but these visits have also become a welcome break from the home-front for a day. I can get a moment to breathe and then go back recharged to my busy life.

I really want to appreciate my moments even the busy ones because I have the opportunity to be busy.

So I’ll try not to tell you how busy I’ve been unless I need to vent once in a while.

My busy doesn’t trump your busy and really now that I’ve written all this stuff about busy – I realize busy isn’t bad at all. Being busy can be a gift. We just need some balance.