Wednesday 21 January 2015

Crossing Bridges

"We build too many walls and not enough bridges."
--Joseph Fort Newton (often misattributed to Isaac Newton)

I've always loved a bridge metaphor. Whether we're crossing it, burning it, if it's falling down, or we're rebuilding it, it's an image that always pops in my head when change is afoot. From rope-tied foot bridges to the humble highway overpass, we rely on them for the navigations we have to perform to move forward (or backward) in life.

At this moment, I'm recalling Carrick-a-Rede bridge in Northern Ireland. We travelled there this past August, and crossing this bridge was one of the most exhilarating experiences I've ever had.

But I'm also using this moment to explain where I am on this blog. I'm not sure I'm going to post here anymore. I have a few projects I'm committed to, and I haven't given the time to this blog that I would have liked. In spite of the spirit of play that I began this project with, I have now turned it into more of a chore. If the mood strikes, I may update the digital world with the three little Ps' whereabouts, and perhaps rhapsodize on the ephemeral beauty of some ruin or landscape we visited. Maybe I'll just pop in and tell you what I think of the world. But I doubt it will be often. I'm crossing this bridge (but keeping my matches in my pocket).

Thursday 3 July 2014


Back to life, back to reality
--Soul II Soul

I've just spent a week outside of the everyday. I slipped past the mundane to a seaside fairy tale, where my meals were prepared, my rooms cleaned, my beds made, the sun was shining everyday and no one wore Wellies. Sun, sand, sea, wine, friends.

I've come home after this journey outside of the normal, and it's a challenge to adjust back to the grind.

"Everydayness" is a word that I find myself constantly using to describe motherhood. So much of it involves the repetitive and routine. After a brief taste of life outside of everydayness, it can be a bitter pill to catch up on work, answer emails, do laundry, dishes, and the school run. And do it again the next day. And the next. 

But if I reframe everydayness in my mind, duty and responsibility become a privilege. My labors of love began the moment I saw those two lines on that little stick. My payment for the bliss of seeing my three little Ps together, sun drenched, giggling with friends, and sticky from ice cream cones, is the work I do in the everyday. Not a bad trade-off.

More to explore:

Brilliant blog posts on

Thursday 19 June 2014


If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
--African proverb

This is the not-quite fairy tale bit. I had many good intentions of writing ahead to give you something to read while we are away traveling,  but sick little Ps, solo parenting, and a hefty work load have won in the contest for my brain space.

But I'll get there, eventually. Thankfully, we are heading to Spain next week to soak up the sun, visit with some great friends, and recharge our batteries. On my return, I would love to talk to you about London, Bristol's Big Green Week and upcoming status as the European Green Capital, and a new essay I'm working on for The Huffington Post about simplicity, sophistication, and sustainability. I'll also post some photos from Mallorca and tell you a little tale about the Balearic Islands.

We'll talk soon. Play on.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

It's big. And blue.

A sailor went to sea, sea, sea,
To see what he could see, see, see,
And all that he could see, see, see,
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea.
--children’s nursery rhyme

My littlest P just celebrated her second birthday. She is obsessed with all things from the sea, so an ocean-themed book was a perfect gift. I chose Julia Donaldson’s Tiddler: The story-telling fish, illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Donaldson is well known in Bristol, especially for The Gruffalo, which is HUGE here in the UK. Tiddler has bright undersea illustrations, fun repetitive rhyming, and a celebration of the power of a story—a really great read.

I think about the ocean a lot. Growing up in Florida, it is an omnipresent part of life: you spend weekends at the beach, you watch hurricanes churn their way across the blue expanse to arrive at a surprise point on the coast, and everyone is saving for a boat. The ocean is in peril, however—acidification, sea level rise, mass extinction—it sounds like the plot to a thriller. 

Children’s wonderment at the big blue can be channeled into care for its future. Do you have any ocean book recommendations?

More to explore:

Brilliant blog posts on

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Writing for The Huffington Post

I've become a contributor at The Huffington Post, and my first essay is about how I managed our transition from the US to the UK (from a peace-of-mind perspective). Please visit the site and follow me over there as well. I would love your comments!

How to Survive an International Move With 3 Small Children

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Hablo EspaƱol

Image via Pinterest

"To have another language is to possess a second soul."

As part of my effort not to take myself too seriously, I am trying to learn to speak better Spanish. Full disclosure: I am not a newbie at this. My husband speaks only Spanish to our little Ps, so I hear the language spoken everyday in our home. However, I have always been, let’s say, reticent about speaking Spanish with him. There was an incident some years ago where there was a bit of poking fun, and I haven’t recovered. I abhor doing things I’m not good at. But I am declaring it “Time to Get Over Yourself” Day, and I am going at this undertaking in earnest.

Now the question is, how? My first step is to speak Spanish to the little Ps. I can dance like a full-on fool in front of them; they can handle my attempts at Spanish speaking. We’ve also instituted “Lunes Latinos,” meaning my husband and I only speak Spanish to each other on Mondays. These are now days that I take notes of all of the things I want to tell him that I can’t formulate in Spanish. I draft emails to send the next day. Cop out? Yes.

I suppose that at some point, I will have to engage in the world in Spanish, because that is the point of this exercise. I want to travel to South America and ask researchers there about the decimation of the rain forest, about the local remedies for teething, about what’s the best seafood to eat at what time of year. I want my resistant-to-Spanish six-year-old to see that I can do it.

Maybe a Spanish holiday is in order?

I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and tackle a project with a sense of play instead of with obligation, rote, or worry about failing. Let’s all fail fabulously or maybe succeed beyond our wildest imaginings. Just play the game.

Is there something you want to try, but are too self-conscious to give it a go?

More to explore:

Brilliant blog posts on

Thursday 5 June 2014

Those Old Stones

“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn...Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” 
― T.H. WhiteThe Once and Future King

I find it amazing that there are still mysteries in the world. We have no idea how Neolithic people got the stones of Stonehenge here about 5,000 years ago, or why they did it. One story says that Merlin, the great wizard of Camelot, thought that the area should be a proper burial ground for the great men of Britain, and so he used his magical powers to fly the stones from hundreds of kilometers away to erect a great monument fit for kings.