26 February, 2009

Tai Chi

A practice video for participants from the groups at Loring Park and Plymouth Church or anyone interested in experiencing meditation in motion. 

Brick Lane

What is it about Mothers and Daughters that never ends? Is it the love is it a co-dependency? Is it it simply the recognition of one's self in the other? Or is it more than that: recognizing one's self as other. And so this has been a reminder of my own daughterness. Following on the heels of my visit to my own mother there is a sense of continuity, a sense of flow in the nuturing and witnessing that inevitably happens. Is there any thought, any statement more destructive than "your mother doesn't like you"? Dylan Moran retaliates against a roommate with that very idea: "Your mother is glad you didn't ring her up!" My truth is that my Mum is glad I when I don't ring her up! She hands the phone off to my Dad or doesn't pick up if she sees me on the caller id. And there are lots of daughters with the same stuff happening. Living with their mother's rejection, disapproval, conditional love. In our compulsion to be "good mothers" we lose sight of our daughters' authenticity and privilege to make their own decisions, even when they appear to be mistakes. I married twice without inviting my mother's attendence or seeking her opinion. And even now, I feel that I don't know her. She remains a shadowy mystery. Our difference is that I have one daughter and she has four. Four chances, four choices, four relationships, four worlds. Like the Washburn swim team, I realize I will always be finishing last. And there is comfort in that: one only competes with one's personal best.

Kew Gardens

The beauty of many events is in the anticipation and the preparation. And, in fact, there were many dark times of overworking and frustration that were endured as a means to this end: two weeks of relative freedom to take each day truely as it comes. Loose plans were in place, but so was permission to alter those plans at any time depending on health, weather, finances, or whim. After seeing pictures of the foxes and peacocks at Kew Gardens it became the destination of choice for this snow-weary traveler. We spent most of an afternoon searching for the foxes without a trace of their bushey little tails. Finally content with the stately peacocks we strolled leisurely, side by side, off into the wilder area of the park. Moving along the fence a fuzzy red creature emerged. Unnoticed by yours truely, he followed us at a distance until I grew tired with following the peacock and stopped to watch him disappear off in the distance. Turning I noticed the fox watching me, watch the peacock. There was a flicker of recognition and a dawning of delight. He appeared to be limping and his left rear leg was shaved. Perhaps he had been in an accident or been injured somehow. It had not killed his curiousity or his charm. A voice in the back of my mind kept repeating "rabies, caution, diseases, wild animal, unpredictable, caution," but after seeing my daughter's photos of him for three months and imagining my own meeting with him, I felt we were old friends. Of course, he was hoping for food, and I happened to have an apple which I was happy to share with him. 

25 February, 2009


I've learned a few things during my time here in London but I have not figured out how to maniulated the photos on the blogger format. It remains, for the time, a complete mystery in spite of my attempts to move them around. For example, in this post I wished to have a lovely arrangement of my daughter eating pork belly at Jamie Oliver's trattoria 15. And a description of our adventure finding the place from the tube stop to Moorgate eye hospital to the fireplace restoration shop down the un pretentious side street marked only with the sandwich board. We expected womething quite pretentious with snobby waitstaff and appropriately unusual, "offal" offerings on the menu We were pleased to find our misgivings were groundless and we were seated in spite of our tardines. And more than satisfied with the entire experience which included a hot ginger press with lime when our waitperson realized I had a nasty cold. 


18 February, 2009

Laduree, for real

Until today my experiences at Laduree have been via their website. I have fantasized, and rehearsed my trip, varying the menu with my whims and the weather. Perusing their menu has been the late night occupation which has gotten me through many subzero nights in the month of January. Shivering, bundling, lost gloves, frostbitten nose, tinkering with the garage door opener were all tolerated as I reminded myself the day would come when I would sit at a marble topped table in Laduree and drink tea surrounded by elegant, irresistible french pastries. Proof that dreams come true is everywhere. We can get on planes and fly across the ocean, taking a homeopathic remedy to avoid jet lag, and find yourself sitting in Laduree eating cakes which melt in your mouth and are even more exquisite than you imagined. So often the tempting array of pastries in the display case turn out to be plastic and tasteless. This was NOT our experience today. The delicate flavour of rose cream opened our hearts as the raspberries sitting between layers of macaroon tickled our fancy. I was fortunate in that I was not at Laduree alone, and doomed to over-indulgence and subsequent discomfort. I was accompanied by my daughter and her boyfriend who generously agreed to help with the consumption of the lovely creations offered at Laduree. One is rarely enough, but two is definitely too much. We ordered 4 selections to split and the artichoke soup to start us off, preparing our stomachs for the sugar and fat.
Excellent choice as it turned out that the soup comes with lovely hard rolls and the best butter. The Jasmine tea was delicate and hot. Daughter had the hot chocolate with Chantilly cream. Boyfriend went for the cafe macciato followed much later by a delicate tisane of lime blossoms. We had planned to take numerous photos until we were standing in line next to a notice prohibiting photos entirely. this left us with few options including no photos and illegal, stealth photos. We chose the latter rather than the former, and have no regrets. As the afternoon progressed it became obvious that we needed to move around a bit. Making our way to Hyde Park as the light faded, our last glimpse of Laduree at Harrod's was after the lights outlining the building began twinkling. In arguably better than my dream, definitely worth repeating. After all, this is only the second day of my holiday!

03 February, 2009

snow days

After reading about the London snowstorm I remembered my own blessed snow days. Sitting on the stairs leading up to the 2nd floor praying to hear my school's name included in the list of announced closings. And the joyous relief when I realized I had a whole free day to frolic around in the snowdrifts without homework assignments, tests, lectures, sitting still, and keeping quiet. As kids we waited, praying for these rare snow days and I certainly did not grow up feeling that when life was too difficult I could just stay home. On the contrary, I lived the belief that "when the going got tough, the tough got going!" and "No pain, no gain!" It has taken me great effort and more than a few injuries to learn to discern when to push harder and when to back off. And I am still not as good at the discernment art as I will be with a bit more practice.  Consequently, when I read this last paragraph from the Startribune I roared with laughter upsetting my sleeping cat and my Youtubing son.
"Many Londoners noted that bus services had continued through WW2 and paused only for about an hour during the city's 2005 terrorist attack, when four suicide bombers killed 52 commuters on the transit network. Some suggested the British workers had set a poor example for the nation's children. Young Britons may become adults who think that "when things get difficult you should just stay home and have fun," said Margaret Morrissey, of the parenting lobby group Parents Outloud."

02 February, 2009

time warp

Dear Daughter,
Feels like I'm in two different places; not really here, but not yet in London. I'm preparing to leave and yet already planning for my return. Time is a fluid medium. And yet I feel present to the activity in front of me at any given time. I wonder about my expectations and how realistic my ideas may turn out to be...there is no way to know. Anything can happen and probably will. I am just grateful to have an opportunity to do something like this trip. Who knows when it might happen again? In any case, I imagine myself with you at Kew Gardens. I had no idea it would cost 13 pounds to get in! Luckily, the orchids are worth it and I have no regrets after that initial sticker shock. 
See you in 14 days, 
yur Mum

01 February, 2009

lumen de lumine

Lumen de lumine light from light
behold, and be radient
From the dwelling place of light,
Summoned from it's velvet home,
Rising shines tha Star in night,
Light no dark can overcome.
Rise, O Star and clear our eyes;
World and need lie dim concealed;
Rend the dark of inward skies;
Shine, and all shall be revealed.
Shine, O shine, bright with grace;
Radient now, your people rise
Glory shining from each face.
now we shall radiant be like stars forever lumen de lumine
ever and ever
light from light.