a flea market, a humpback whale, a long kayak trip & Bernie

Wednesdays have produced a particular magic for me this summer and it is because the Sandwich, Mass Flea Market is how I start my day. The market is in full swing by 6am.  They serve sausages and hot dogs because it’s lunch time for these folks by eight o’clock.  Here are my treasures from the day: an unfinished rug (I think this will become an overnight bag with a wooden bottom and leather sides), some $1 jewelry, 3 cheese knives and a few paintbrushes. The flea market was fun but I needed adventure and exercise and some time alone.

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I went out in my kayak alone for the first time. I left in midday sun (which I generally won’t due, but I needed to hit the tide right).  I have the kayak on wheels so I can walk it the mile to a beach where I put in next to the Cape Cod Canal.  It’s a great little beach for watching the boats come through the canal and an easy walk to Seafood Sam’s for fish bites.

I put in without a plan except that I wanted to be alone and I wanted to go far.  The water was like glass.  It was very calm and the bay was unusually clear…a magnificent color.  I could see to the bottom for a majority of this journey.  It was amazing to me with all of that clear water that I only saw a couple of crabs and seaweed.  No fish.  I suppose it had to do with the tide time.

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My imagination runs wild when I’m out on the water alone with my thoughts.  I thought about what I used to have to ask my son, Ellis when he was little, “Ellis, is that something that happened, or something you wish had happened?” He would think about it for a minute and then would say, “wish”.  I get it.  I really wish I had seen a humpback whale and a pirate ship on my trip.  But, I just saw some people tubing, water skiing and enjoying themselves in the water or on the beach.

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I made a deliberate attempt to talk to people along the way—in case I needed some help. I made myself known. I started hatching this plan to just keep going into Barnstable Harbor, get something to eat at the Mattakeese Wharf http://www.mattakeese.com/ and ask if I could get someone to tow me back to the Sandwich.  I basically wanted to hitchhike back to Sandwich (either by water or land).  When I got to Sandy Neck Beach which I estimate is about 6 miles (please e-mail me and correct me if I’m way off, my sea faring friends) the wind was coming up and I now had to face it all the way back to Sandwich and the canal entrance.

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I had water, but it was running low.  I was getting a rash on my legs from the wind and the salt.  However, I was so damn proud that I pushed myself that much—I could hardly stop grinning.  I was really wiped out by the time I pulled the boat back up the hill.  I was so dehydrated that it took a while to get my “land legs” back.  Water. Shower. Nap. Water.

At 48, with a newly discovered passion, I can’t even describe what I’m feeling.

Except I want everyone to feel this way sometime.

We all should get to feel really jazzed from learning something new.

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I ended my day by attending a Bernie Sanders gathering in East Sandwich, Mass.  Josh Hoxie, a Saint Michael’s College graduate who interned for Bernie in Vermont and then worked for him in DC for 3 years spoke before Bernie’s telecast message to the 3000 house parties happening around the country.  I met some great people and had the opportunity to wear my old Bernie t-shirt from his VT Senate race.

I think it’s incredibly refreshing (regardless of your party) to hear a politician talk about getting things done.  Bernie isn’t taking “Big Money”, he doesn’t have to check which way the wind blows to decide what his position is on any topic and he’s packing in huge crowds that the other candidates are dreaming of (or willing to pay for). Presidential election years are always interesting and this is starting out to be a grand one indeed.  It’s going to be a wild 15 months in America.

Yesterday was one of the best days of my life…

and I feel like it needs to be acknowledged.  I actually had a moment where I told my husband, Jeff “this is one of my favorite days of my life”. They don’t roll around all the time and they deserve to be savored.

I have to tell you about mine—July 22nd, 2015.

We got up early (6am) and went to the Sandwich, Massachusetts Flea Market to hunt for treasures.  After a stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee with our friend, Christie we began our quest for the odd and collectable.  I found a gorgeous bowl and this tablecloth that I may use as part of a piece for the STRUT fashion show in Burlington, VT in September. Both cost me 9 bucks.

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http://www.thesandwichbazaar.com/summer-market

Then we lathered on sunscreen and took our kayaks to Bourne, Massachusetts.  We wanted a light lunch before we peddled (we have peddle kayaks, not a typo) so we stopped at one of our favorite places; The Lobster Trap for a stuffed quahog and a beer. I ordered a Leinenkugel Summer Shanty (low alcohol, lemony & refreshing) and the rep. for Leinenkugel was seated next to us so our beers were on him.  A nice surprise.

If you don’t know what a stuffed quahog is I have to share with you.  This seafood item is one of the reasons I married my husband.  That was about 25 years ago.  It’s a clam, cooked, chopped and mixed with stuffing, chorizo (a spicy Portuguese sausage that goes beautifully with seafood), celery, onion, garlic and then put back into the shell and baked. You then cover them with butter, a squeeze of lemon (and for me TABASCO sauce) and enjoy.

Jeff wrote this story about them…funny how a stuffed clam can loom so large in our lives.

http://springtideleadership.com/2012/06/09/how-to-make-the-perfect-stuffed-quahog/

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http://www.lobstertrap.net/home

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http://www.sturgisboatworks.com/ (Where we got these boats.)

Next we took our Hobie peddle kayaks to Monument Beach and unloaded them.  They are fast so you can cover a lot of territory.  I personally couldn’t paddle as far as I can peddle.  We’ve never been boaters and we never have the right gear for anything we do, but I have to admit that these boats have been a blast.  I love seeing the world from the vantage point of the water.

We watched young osprey about to take their first flight (the parents were encouraging them in a tone not unlike mine when I’m trying to get my teenagers to do something). Sorry kids. It wasn’t a pretty birdsong, but watching them was fascinating.

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We heard people laughing on the beach, zig zagged between moored sailboats, saw amazing houses and got to the rough seas at the start of the Cape Cod Canal channel near Mashnee Island…we quickly turned around though to explore calmer waters. I like a little danger in my kayaking, but I’m not stupid.  We went into the Eel River which was stunning.  We saw cranes, oyster beds and homes right on the water that gave it that swampy feeling and with the canopy of the trees it was really cool.

The beauty of this day—alone with my husband on an adventure, free beer, a stuffed quahog, seeing wildlife, getting exercise, fresh air and learning how to read the sea was pretty wonderful.

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After a swim to cool off and loading up the kayaks we headed home to shower and take off for a Neil Young concert at the Xfinity Center.  It was a great show—amazing people watching.  Neil Young is probably the musician that informed my young life the most during my freshman year of college in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (University of Sioux Falls, formerly Sioux Falls College—back in the day). Oh, and we didn’t know they were coming but Jeff’s brother, Joe and his wife Gretchen were there too…another fun surprise of the day.

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I’m not writing this to tell you how awesome my life is.  I’m writing this to encourage everyone to really take notice of those special days and moments in our lives.  We need them to call upon during our darker times.  Honor those days.  It makes life sweet.

When worlds collide…

they can get a little weird.  This was my dream last night…I was walking out on the beach in Cape Cod straight into rural South Dakota.  Isn’t the psyche fascinating?

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the art of doodling…

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I know for me that even a little bit of doodling or drawing in the morning makes me happier and more flexible than when I read the newspaper. I wondered why it makes such a big difference in my overall demeanor…so I did a little research.

I found this fascinating link about what are doodling tells about our psyche.

WOW.  I need to pay more attention to my doodles.

http://liquidblueflame.deviantart.com/journal/Psychology-meaning-of-doodles-drawings-220917663

“Flowers
Flowers represent our feminine side, and a desire to see growth, nature, and reproduction. If flowers are in an arrangement, it denotes a sense of family and togetherness. McNichol writes that Jung believed dreams of flowers suggest a need to release emotion people feel unable to express openly.” Deviant Art Journal

You don’t have to be an artist to get the benefits of drawing. 

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Just draw, there is no right or wrong. 

“We may not be aware of the complexity of drawing, but when analyzed in detail it becomes clear that drawing is an amazing process that requires precise orchestration of multiple brain mechanisms; perceptual processing, memory, precise motor planning and motor control, spatial transformations, emotions, and other diverse higher cognitive functions, are all involved.” Dr. Lora Likova, a cognitive scientist at Smith-Kettlewell.

This amazing process of drawing, whether observational or conceptual, depends on diverse brain regions:

  • cerebellum (major brain region): movement
  • frontal lobe: reasoning, planning, movement, emotions, problem solving
  • parietal lobe: movement and orientation, spatial relationships, recognition, perception of stimuli, linked to a role in creativity
  • occipital lobe: vision, visual processing
  • temporal lobe: perception and memory

http://www.printmag.com/featured/draw-yourself-happy-drawing-creativity-your-brain/

Try using the guide to see what your doodles are telling you. You might learn something you didn’t know was front and center in one of your frontal lobe.

Happy Doodling.

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A few more South Dakota images from my June travels.

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The Hipp Theater in Gregory, South Dakota holds a lot of memories for me.  We had to have our parents write notes saying that it was OK for us to see R-rated movies before we were seventeen.  The World According to Garp, Quest for Fire, Scarface…these were a few that required permission.  Oh, the joys of growing up in a small town when a note would suffice (whoever wrote it). My kids haven’t had it so easy trying to get into R-rated movies in Burlington, Vermont…I like hearing the stories of their efforts though.  I hope you enjoy these shots.

Here’s to the power of our memories,

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summertime fun.

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These are a few of my photos from over the weekend.  I haven’t been creating things and it makes me really kooky when I don’t.  I mucked around with my images to fuel my creativity. It helped a lot. I hope you enjoy them.

They were shot on:

Martha’s Vineyard while staying at a friend’s house—Blue Barque (Thanks Jen & Dan).

Town Neck in Sandwich, Massachusetts where (Thanks Jim & Iris) cooked over a beach fire last night.  Oh, the joys of summertime. Thanks for the memories, folks. My heart is full.

This is staggering.

According to Psychology Today, “The average high school kid has the same anxiety level of the average psychiatric patient of the early 1950s”. I just can’t stop thinking about this. As parents we all want the best for our kids but is what we’re doing working if our kids have this much stress and anxiety?  There have always been shifts in parenting styles.  Each generation wants to correct the perceived “wrongs” from how they were parented and it seems like we are at a crucial point of correction…the pendulum in my estimation swung way too far from how we were parented.

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If anxiety is looking forward…what does this say about our generation’s parenting style? Have we modeled adult lives that look appealing?  Are the daunting questions of our day too much for our kids—the environment, money, health, authenticity, meaning and relevance?

I grew up in a small town in South Dakota in the 1970s and 80s.  I could drive at fourteen.  I started working summer jobs at the age of eleven.  I had a lot of independence. My husband and I both grew up in small towns and we had young parents.  I think it had a big impact on our parenting choices.  We wanted to do some things “old school” and not get caught in the trappings of our generation.  However, this is really challenging.

I have made lots and lots of parenting mistakes (as my teenagers will happily discuss with anyone). However, there is a big difference between how we parented our son who is 4.3 years older than his twin sisters.  We hovered more.  We took care of things and pushed about homework, often at the detriment of family life and the harmony of our home.  Sorry Ellis.  We chose not to do this to our girls (at least not as much) and thankfully even in a four year time span there is a lot more being studied about: too much homework, the need for more downtime, the opportunity to daydream, decompress and relax.

I want my children happy AND I believe in pushing them to develop new skills.

It’s those COMPETING COMMITMENTS that trip me up constantly.

I don’t think these things have to be mutually exclusive.

I want to be attentive to the way I push my kids. 

Am I encouraging my kids to do things that make me look good?  YIKES!

Our world needs innovation, kindness, generosity & curiosity.

How do we nurture those skills in a hyper-virtual connectedness, competitive, highly structured environment? 

It can be done. 

We just have to get creative.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anxiety-files/200804/how-big-problem-is-anxiety