Saturday, June 09, 2012

10 things

Pippin attacking my foot! She is such a doll! Copyright (c) 2012 Wendee Holtcamp

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. - Isaiah 55:12

1. Last Sunday, I went to my friend Jessica's for "church." We watched the Woodlands Church streaming live from her kitchen while she fed me breakfast (scrambled eggs, fresh tomatoes, toast, fresh fruit & coffee). The sermon talked about .... well crap to be honest I don't remember. But I do remember it evolved into a discussion Jessica and I had about goals. I have been meaning to write down personal and professional goals since the new year, and haven't gotten around to it! She runs an amazing and successful shoe company, Joyfolie, that she started from sewing hand-made baby shoes in her home, and it took off like wildfire! She has stressed to me the importance of creating goals and updating them every month. Well here it is Friday night and I still haven't done the goal-writing session. I will try to do that tomorrow. But it will happen. It will happen. However, this is a lead-in to the next bullet. One of the things I DO remember that Pastor Kerry said was to encourage everyone to do two things. One, "walk a mile in their shoes" - in other words, walk for a mile and pray for and think about the impoverished of the world. Two, eat a 1/2 of rice and a 1/2 cup of beans for one meal because that is what something like half of the world lives on. I haven't done the eating part of this, but ...

2. ... I have been inspired to walk every day for the past several days. Honestly if I wasn't on a lazy-kick and I had been going to the gym I probably wouldn't be walking. But I decided, you know what? Walking is better than doing NOTHING and it allows me to spend some of the time praying - both for the less fortunate (and my life purpose related to that), and for other people in my life. And I have SO enjoyed it!!! The coolest thing is that I noticed that I SEE the world differently when I walk. I will be walking through my neighborhood from my house over to my friend Elise's (she just moved in the neighborhood adjacent to mine, and I can walk there) and I notice each house, and their yard, and the trees, and the differences in the homes in the two 'hoods, and so many more things. I usually walk to the elementary school which is right near Elise's house, and then walk around the track a number of times. I jogged there a couple times and the observation is completely different than when I walk. I am totally getting my groove on when I walk. Lovin it. Two things that made me smile: two little girls hula-hooping in their driveway, and a weeping willow tree which brought back a fun memory from high school and my h.s. best friend Kim.

3. While walking, and especially as I pray for those less fortunate, I am reminded how many blessings I have, and I have really had a grateful and happy spirit lately. I have felt grateful for the freedom we have in our country and the safety in my neighborhood, as I pray for those who don't have that freedom and that safety. I am grateful for my amazing and fun friends. I tell you, I have some absolutely wonderful, one-of-a-kind, life-long friends. The kind I would die for. They are the best. And I am grateful for my beautiful children who are so smart and doing so well, even in "teenagerland." Some bumps, of course, but what life doesn't have bumps? And I am incredibly grateful for my mood and joyfulness lately! Walking tonight with Elise and Mary Anne, I was just happy that I didn't have ANY drama in my life right now! Everything is GOOD! (Knock on wood!) And I am grateful for my career, and how well it is going right now, and the work I've been doing for Environmental Health Perspectives in particular. I really am enjoying learning and writing about more health-related topics. It's important stuff. I just finished a piece on science denial, which is a huge passion of mine! That was related to the Science Denial conference I attended in Madison recently.

4. Speaking of Environmental Health Perspectives, I just got a copy of the latest issue in the mail, with a copy of my article "One Study, Two Paths: The Challenge of Dual-Use Research" (or in other words, research that can be used for good or evil - ie terrorism). It starts with the latest brouhaha over the avian flu (H5N1) research that got a lot of attention in the news, and goes from there.

5. I did an essay on my experience at the Chopra Center Journey into Healing workshop and it appears in the Chopra Center's June newsletter! It's called Journey into Healing - one teaspoon of sweet nectar at a time. It tells all about the experience and how it impacted me, Ayurvedic health and wellness, and the "doshas" and more. Let me know what you think if you read it!

6. My kitten Pippin is doing wonderfully, and I adore every day I have with her! She is so freaking hilarious, too. She's super rambunctious and she totally attacks my other two cats. She runs and jumps full throttle on top of them, like she's going to town. They are incredibly patient, I tell ya (in other words I'm amazed they haven't totally killed her!). Caramel, my big "fluffy" orange cat, is not quite so sure about Pippin, but Rosie (the crazy beige tabby who sticks her head in the jar...) is taking a liking to her, though she gets impatient with her antics! Rosie will swish her tail and Pippin goes in for the kill. And they fight over the plastic jar. THAT is a site to see! Pippin obviously can fit in there, and Rosie usually just sticks her head in. Even though we have fit her whole body in there, she usually doesn't climb all the way in anymore. And its funny - you know how when you bring a new baby home, all of a sudden your toddler seems giant? Well it was like that with Rosie. She was always my thin, little playful cat. But now all of a sudden she seems huge and slow. Ha ha!! The older cats (which are siblings) are 8 years now. It's fun having Pippin's fun energy around. Soon I will put up some of the crazy cats fighting over jars images...but it's 130am already and I want to finish this.

7. I picked blueberries today at Moorhead's Blueberry farm! I thought I was going to miss this year's berry picking, because it has been such a busy past couple of weeks and I'm leaving next Friday (that will be one of my numbers, hold your horses) :) But alas, I made it! It is a tradition to go every year with my kids. This year, Savannah didn't go but Sam and his friend from his old school, Holy Trinity Episcopal, did. It was so cute to get them together and hear them cutting up over stories from 4th grade like when they apparently would put sugar in the Big Red soda their teacher gave them during PSIA practice -an academic competition they participated in every year. The sugar would make the soda explode, and then they'd drink it and get hyper as all get out. Anyway it was funny hearing the stories!! Sam started there in 3rd or 4th grade and stayed through 8th grade. So we picked berries then headed home and tonight I made blueberry-lemon cornmeal muffins with streusel topping! Gluten-free even. Yum!

8. I am going to spend a month in Oregon with Sam!!! I am leaving in a week!! Holy cow! He is going to be a camp counselor at Trackers Earth and I couldn't be more happy for him! This is going to be such an amazing experience for him. He will go on an overnight "Counselor in Training" week-long camp where he trains to be a counselor, followed by 3 weeks volunteering as a day camp counselor (He's scheduled to lead the Forest Ninja; Forest Fishing Fly & Reel; and Stealth, Archery and Wilderness Survival). We will be staying with friends in Portland, and then spending the weekends either with my dad or traveling to different places, including a weekend trip to the incredibly gorgeous Central Oregon Coast where I went last March, and I was so blown away by its beauty that I have wanted to bring the kids back since then. Sam is excited about the camp and about the cool tide pools I told him about. Better than Disneyland I tell ya! While there, I am going to take Sam to look at Reed College and University of Oregon in Eugene (I grew up in Eugene from age 2 to 8). I had always planned to take my kids to the East coast this summer to look at the colleges out there, but Savannah didn't want to anymore and she isn't going on the trip to Oregon (she got a job and will be staying home and working). But I'm super stoked and can't wait!

9. The first week, while Sam is at the overnight camp, I am headed to Washington state to my favorite place in the U.S. - Olympic National Park! It is just the most incredible, beautiful, peaceful, mossy, verdant, lush, mossy, misty land of forest and sea and sand ... and it is where "Twilight" is set (Forks). You can see my past visits here. My plan is first to visit my photographer friend Francis Zera in Seattle (his work is mind-blowing). I visited him last on my 2009 visit to the Pacific NW, and we have worked on a few stories together (Candid Camera for E/the Environmental Magazine, and a piece for Canoe & Kayak on Paddling 3 Texas Hill Country Rivers). Anyway after that, I plan to head to the site of the famous Elwha dam removal! I visited the dam site last in 2010 with my dad and Bev, and the dam was still up. It is now gone! I am trying to sell a story based on the removal - the biggest in world history! I am going to meet my friend, environmental reporter Terri Hansen, and we are going to camp near the dam site in or near the park. I will be meeting with various biologists and getting my story, whether or not I have an assignment yet. Report it, and it will come!

10. That's about all the news that's fit to print! I am already packing, cooking blueberry things, cleaning up the house, and teaching my ongoing Advanced Writing Workshop - and I have my next Online Writing Bootcamp starting June 16, if anyone is interested! I leave you with this lovely quote from Virginia Woolf that resonated with my soul...

“The melancholy river bears us on. When the moon comes through the trailing willow boughs, I see your face, I hear your voice and the bird singing as we pass the osier bed. What are you whispering? Sorrow, sorrow. Joy, joy. Woven together, like reeds in moonlight.”

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