San Jose – first impressions

I was transported from the airport to Hotel Luz de Luna by Eric, a very nice man who spoke as much English as I do Spanish – muy, muy poquito. He got me here safely, but it was a bit hair-raising. I was somewhat prepared, having visited Honduras 11 years ago, but honestly, I am amazed they don’t have more accidents.

The city is old, and very crowded, with lots of traffic. Besides cars, there are buses and small motorcycles. The cars and buses merge unexpectedly without signaling, and in the crowded two lane streets, people on motorcycles “white line” even when there’s no white line!

The drivers seem to have a rather mysterious method of communication via honking. Sometimes the honking means “you are in my lane, move away” and other times it means “go on ahead of me.” At one point, Eric rolled down his window and yelled at someone, then apologetically turned to me and said “stupid people” and a lot of Spanish words I didn’t understand. He then proceeded to drive at breakneck speed through what seemed like back roads.

Alto doesn’t mean stop when it is on a red and white sign that looks like a stop sign. It apparently means “slow down just long enough that when you enter this road you probably won’t get hit.” And traffic lights don’t seem to serve much purpose!

Funny thing is, I wasn’t really scared.  Even when Eric didn’t seem to be paying much attention to his driving because he was texting and calling almost constantly, I only slightly tensed up. Everyone drives this way here, so I somehow knew everything was all right. I felt an overwhelming sense of happiness and serenity that I was finally in Costa Rica.

Tomorrow, we get on a bus for an eight hour journey to The Turtle Project on the Northern Peninsula (where, I am told, wifi will be sporadic). We being me and 8 other women, seven of them from the UK and the 8th from Canada. Great people, lovely accents, and I am looking forward to sharing the adventure with new friends.

IMG_20190323_182427.jpgIn the meantime, we enjoyed complimentary Sangria at the bar in the little restaurant here before having a delicious dinner at a restaurant down the street.

Off to Costa Rica!

Wow, I can’t believe the day has finally arrived! I write from the airplane, high over the IMG_20190323_111614.jpgGulf of Mexico. I’ve got my computer, my audible book, and my crochet project.  The flight isn’t full, so I’ve got the whole row to myself. I sit by the window, glancing out periodically looking for interesting sights, but right now it is just clouds, sky, and water. Flying on an airplane is an amazing adventure in itself!

I’ve been planning this trip since July of 2017. I think it was a facebook ad. Kind of scary how well facebook knows me. Maybe because I’ve done a blog called Looking for the next adventure! Anyway, I’m traveling solo from Houston to San Jose, Costa Rica, to join a group of adventurers with Bamboo, a global volunteer organization. I almost went to Costa Rica a few years ago, and when I saw this opportunity it didn’t take long for me to sign up. The price was right, and it required no planning on my part other than getting a flight!

Robert and I had just moved to the Woodlands, then gone on a meditation retreat to Garrison, New York. We were planning our wedding, and a honeymoon to Florida and Bimini. But I saw this opportunity, put my deposit down, and put it on the back burner. I was working part time from home, and on the verge of beginning another Ayurvedic course of study. Back then, I thought I would be starting my own business in another year.

But as life unfolded, uncertainties evolved into ideas and plans that eventually became certainties. Robert and I did get married in a beautiful ceremony at home surrounded by the love of family and friends. After a 10 day honeymoon, then Christmas, you’d think we’d chill for a bit. Well, that doesn’t really seem to be in my nature.

Much time was and is still dedicated to taking care of Hazel on weekends, and at that time I still had a weekly date with Sebastian and Hudson. But I went on another Heart-Based Meditation retreat in March – to Sedona Mago Retreat Center. Wonderful place, wonderful being with “my peeps” and connecting with a greater consciousness and my higher self.

I was realizing by that time that I didn’t think I really wanted to do what it would take to start a business. I had a website by then, and had even registered a business with the state of Texas, but I just wasn’t “feeling it”, so to speak. I love Ayurveda, but didn’t want to struggle to make it my bread and butter. So I began to look around to see what case management jobs were available, and sent out some applications. As I weighed the possibilities, I decided that if I got an offer I liked, I would take it.

In June, that is exactly what happened. There wasn’t any hesitation about accepting a good paying job with good benefits in a location that was only a 15 minute drive away and I didn’t have to get on the freeway! I started working for Memorial Hermann Hospital System in August (after taking a road trip with Robert to Iowa in July), and 7 months into the job it still feels like the right move.

When I quit my full-time job in 2016, I had some ideas and dreams and pursued a lot of different angles, but I always know that uncertainty reigns until something actually happens.

Like being on this airplane right now. I started making plans and saving money and eventually bought the ticket. The last month I’ve had fun figuring out how to travel light, ordering some helpful items from Amazon, and getting more and more excited about the whole idea. But really, until I got on the airplane, it was an uncertainty. A life circumstance could have popped up that would cause me to turn my steps away from all this to deal with something that in that moment was more important. Fortunately, that didn’t happen!

IMG_20190323_062805-1.jpgI have gotten away from writing here, although I think about it often. I used it to chronicle my solo travels to Iowa and Montana back in 2015, so I’m gonna give it a go. I have no idea what the wifi will be like or how much time I will have to write – an uncertainty that comes with having someone else plan! But I will definitely write, take lots of pictures, and keep dreaming. I will post as I can, although much of my time the next week will be invested in helping preserve the sea turtle habitat. And hopefully making a few new friends along the way!

 

 

Not my first rodeo! (or why getting married at 60 is better than at 20)

Well, obviously, I’m a lot smarter than I was 40 years ago. I’ve made a lot of choices, and in spite of some of them looking bad at the time, I have no regrets.

As I muse, on the eve of my marriage to the man who will be my third (and last?!) husband, I do ponder my life with some amazement!

I married my high school sweetheart at 19. What babies we were! I thought it was forever, certainly planned for it to be forever. We had a roller coaster ride, and along the way seven wonderful little lives were created and birthed into this world. Certainly can’t regret that!

Midlife came along, and until you are there, and then well beyond, you don’t understand what a midlife crisis is really all about. For me, I had the first realization that life was short and I didn’t want to keep living the life I was living. And the only way I knew to change it, because of the rather narrow vision I had at the time,  was to change husbands.

Now I know that I created my world, and I could have created change in a different and more healthy way. But that’s not what happened, and I got just what I thought I wanted. At 43 I divorced and quickly married again, tried to make it work for 12 years. I had wanted more pizzazz in my life, and I got it, but not in a healthy way. What got birthed through all that was an older and wiser woman! I learned to take responsibility for my choices and learned to make better ones! I don’t regret that!

And I was done with marriage! I was 56 years young, feeling strong, and made plans to have a whole lot of fun that I had missed out on in my pursuit of living the perfect marriage. I minimized and moved, and started living the exciting single life.

I joined meetup, because I only wanted to meet people, not date. Oh no, I was done with men! I went to parties, happy hours, restaurants, went to running groups, did all kinds of things I’d never done. I did get involved with someone, but it was always known that it was just for fun. I  went out with a few guys, but it was more out of curiosity then wanting a real relationship.  Then, only a year after I was divorced, I met Robert.

I’d gone to yet another meetup, at the wine bar down the street. He was there, along with a bunch of other people, and there was no love at first sight. Just another guy. But we met again, at another meetup a week later, and that is when something magical happened. I had this moment when we were sitting at the table talking, and the rest of the world just kind of faded away, like in a movie.

So, long story short, that was four years ago. A year ago Robert proposed to me right before my fabulous 60th birthday. (He threw me a great party, btw!)  I’ve had enough time and experience with him to know that he is the real deal, for me. I know what I want, and don’t want.

The biggest deal is that I am entirely safe to be who I am in this relationship. There’s no big drama, no narcissism. There is a constant love and acceptance, and an understanding that love isn’t always FELT. Rather, love, the marriage kind of love, is a knowing. Knowing that you feel good with this other who is a mirror of your true self. Knowing that life is great lived without a partner, but somehow, with this person, life is a whole lot better.

So, never say never. Be open, be careful, be ready to be surprised!

Am I saying “til death do us part” ? No, not this time. Said it twice before, broke that promise. I fully expect it to be til one of us leaves this body, but saying that just doesn’t seem to be necessary.

I am getting married tomorrow!

20171027_175635.jpg

 

Remembering my grandparents

As I held and rocked one of the twins (9 month old boys!) today, I started feeling such strong love and emotion. These grandbabies, and my 3 year old granddaughter, are so very precious to me.

It brought back memories of my own grandparents, and what they did to have a relationship with us. It was back in the 60’s and 70’s and they lived 2000 miles away – no internet, no cell phones, no social media.

I was born in California, near San Francisco. My father’s parents lived about 40 miles away, in Sonoma, where he was raised. From what I gather, they were very involved with their three granddaughters. I was the middle sister, and when we were five, two, and six months old, my father’s company transferred him to Houston, Texas. This was in 1959. They packed us all up and drove us all that way. I imagine my older sister and I in the back seat, loose, and my mother holding the baby. Glad we all survived.

Anyway, looking at it from the grandparent’s view, it must have been pretty difficult. But it seems that they made the best of it.

Every summer we would meet them somewhere between here and there for a great camping vacation. The most memorable one for me was somewhere in Arizona, where we camped for a month and my father broke his leg.

When I was about 12, my parents went to Europe and Grandma Mae and Grandpa Howard, as we called them, and their dog Mike, came and stayed with us for 6 weeks! When I think about that- wow, I’m impressed! They would have been in their early sixties, and took on us girls plus my then 4-year-old brother. I’m sure we drove them up the wall, but I have only good memories of that time. Except for having to eat boiled squash.  I am exhausted after 2 days with my granddaughter, so no doubt they were VERY happy to see my parents. I remember going to the airport to meet them. Good times.

Long distance phone calls weren’t cheap, but I think they called us about every month or so, and I remember the excitement of knowing that Grandma and Grandpa were on the phone. We’d take our turns on the extension in my parents bedroom and talk for maybe two minutes apiece. I have no idea what we talked about, but the memory of sitting on my parents’ bed talking to Grandma brings a sweet thrill of love to my heart.

They’d always send us presents for our birthdays and for Christmas. I still have a book they sent for my sixth birthday, Happiness is a Warm Puppy, with characters from the comic strip Peanuts. I treasure it now simply because it brings warm memories of my grandma.

They would come and visit us occasionally, too, in between camping trips. I think they did a lot of traveling around the country after Grandpa retired, and they pulled a travel trailer behind their car. At least once they parked it in our driveway and stayed awhile.

This picture was probably taken around the time of the trip to Europe. That’s me in the hideous blue glasses.

FB_IMG_1493429179605

Now that I’m a grandparent, I get it. It’s quite possible that I may experience long distance grandparenting in the future, and I know it will be much easier for me to keep in touch than it was for them. I am so glad they made the effort that they did. I hope Hazel, Hudson, and Sebastian (and any future grands) remember me as fondly as I remember Grandma Mae and Grandpa Howard.

 

Affirmations and intentions

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. — Lao Tzu

About four years ago I started writing affirmations on my bathroom mirror. (Use a dry erase marker) The previous year had seen divorce and a move to a new place with new beginnings. I started with Affirmations 101: I am worthy, I am loved, I love you. Without self-love, it is difficult to love others or believe anything else good about yourself.

If you’ve told yourself 70,000 times that you are not good enough, it will take at least 7000 repetitions of a loving affirmation to reprogram the subconscious mind. Say it to yourself, with strong feeling, and it will become integrated into the subconscious mind.

After I did that for a while, I wrote I am beautiful and I attract beautiful people and I am extraordinary. Those were challenging for me, because I never thought of myself as attractive, either physically or otherwise, and thought of myself as just an ordinary person, nothing special.

Writing them where I would see it every day, repeating it over and over to myself, slowly but surely I found myself knowing the truth of these words. I AM beautiful and extraordinary! And I started attracting a different type of people into my life, people who brought positive, bright energy into my life.

Currently on my bathroom mirror: I invite personal transformation into my life every day.

A few years ago I subscribed to “Notes from the Universe”, delivered to my inbox every day. Here are three that I printed and taped to my bathroom mirror.

Live your dreams NOW to any degree that you can. With every purchase. Every decision. Every hello and goodbye. Every assignment. Every conversation. Every meal. Every morning, afternoon, and evening. And never, ever, ever look back. Reframe every thought, word, and deed from the perspective of the person you’ve always dreamed you’d be, as if your life was already as you’ve always dreamed it would be. Die to yesterday’s illusions and be reborn to the truth of your vision.

And let’s just see if you can handle the torrent of treasures I send your way! – The Universe

 

Time out! Time out!

What do you mean, you can’t see it? You don’t know? You aren’t sure? You’re scared?

This is an adventure, you’re an adventurer, and uncertainty, fear, and even setbacks happen. Besides, “easy” has never been your style, and just because you can’t see the miracles doesn’t mean they aren’t happening, doesn’t mean you’re alone, and doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path.

The day your ship arrives, and it now swiftly approaches – the confusion, fear, and setbacks will be among your fondest memories. – The Universe

 

It’s easy. Just once a day, imagine the life you dream of. Believe that it can be yours in this world of magic and miracles. Choose to live as if you know of its inevitable manifestation. Don’t compromise. Don’t worry. Don’t look for results. And as surely as spirit crafts one moment after another, so too will it fuse together the life you now lead with the life of your dreams as if they were two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, destined to become one. – The Universe

 

My wish for you is that you succeed beyond your wildest imagination. That you find love in places that astound you. And that you have friends who call you “just because.” I dream that you go barefoot more than you wear shoes. That you play as hard as you work. And that you laugh more than you cry. I want you to set the bar high, but not too high. To reach for the stars, but with your toes on the ground. And to never, ever stop dreaming. But most of all I wish for your happiness.

And these dreams of mine are what started it all.  – The Universe

Hanging these up with intention and reading them frequently continues to bring me inspiration to keep on my path. I truly feel that I am living the life of my dreams, and that there is much much more to come. I can honestly say that I get to go barefoot more than I wear shoes! And my circle of friends who are family is ever expanding.

For years, when things weren’t going so well, I would say to myself and to God “I just want to love and be loved.” And now, I know that I am loving and being loved.  It didn’t happen in a way I expected, rather, it has happened as I began to use affirmations as well as regular meditation of the heart-based kind.

And the love is ever-expanding.