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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

High Impact

My knee is feeling the result of too much jumping/bouncing for the last few months

I have damaged my entire right leg from all of the high impact sports I have been engaging in lately. I usually limit the high impact stuff but lately I realized I have been doing probably about 8 h of high impact sports per week and my entire right leg: foot, shin, knee and butt are paying dearly. So, I am only walking for a few days to rest it up. This is hard to do because I need to keep dancing. C'est la vie.
Writing a MFA Prof to see if he's interested in being my supervisor again (I had asked him last year when I thought I was switching degrees).

Peter and the girls will be off for ten days to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for an Arthur family reunion in a week. The girls are sooo excited to meet all of their Arthur rellies once again. Some have never met the Pip. They are spending one night in Drumhellar at the Dinosaur museum on the way there and in Calgary on the way back (will go to the zoo). I will be baching it for a week--I will go into shock--I am never alone!
 Determined to finish all choreography while they're gone and start painting. Also, while they're away, Miranda and I are going to do an over night bike trip through the mountains (along the kettle Valley Railway)  to Naramatta. So excited about this. I am cycling through heaven when I'm riding on the KVR...the fresh mountain pine smell is intoxicating.
Gotta go pic up Mist for an orthodontist appointment--she's getting her braces finally!


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Soccer on Saturday Morning

Tabs refueling

Tabs got the ball away from all of her opponents this time--it was a great play. She even saved herself from a ball in the face!

After the game:       Tabs (facing camera) 
Spent Saturday morning with Tabs at her soccer game. Peter taught his grad class all day. The weather predicted rain so I took the girls shopping as Tabs needed summer clothing (she's out grown all last year's items). And shop we did. Mist brought a friend along--we split up and met 2h later. I was pooped. Pip spilt her chocolate milk all over my jeans at one point during the trip. But Tabs was thrilled to find a lovely dress and I bought one for Pip also.
And on Saturday night, we managed a family game of tennis once again after supper.

I mailed away my revised thesis on Friday so it is time for phase 2 of  my career comeback after a decade long maternity leave! Phase one was getting my MA degree. Phase 2 is rather exciting because finally everything I have worked on for my entire adult life will come together: painting/writing/teaching. I am going to forge ahead and finish my MFA at UBC so I will be qualified to teach at any and all University Fine Arts departments. The absolute best thing about it is that my research will be my art!
So, phase 2 requires more applications to the Uni. I believe I can finish the degree quite quickly. To supplement my income I will teach Zumba while I finish my latest degree. All I've ever done is paint, write and teach my entire life so this is where I am supposed to be.

Again, I must say what Zumba dance does for me: it saves my mind. The intense physical exercises, intense dance choreography and music is what my brain needs. I am a very active/ creative person--my brain craves constant action--it is a gift but also I get into trouble with this brain of mine unless I can focus it and challenge it on all levels daily. Zumba does just that. And of course, a nice long evening meditation always helps bring me down. The only down side to being a serious meditator is that something has to give. I can no longer read in the evenings before bed or watch a movie. I have to meditate for an hour before bed. I get up super early to work out so I go to bed pretty early (never after ten if I can help it). Thus, a meditator's life involves some sacrifices in the areas of leisure entertainment such as reading in bed.

Today the girls and I had a picnic lunch in the forest park behind our house with Miranda's family (Peter working on a paper at the Uni). I felt bad because the girls decide they wanted veggie dogs and hot dogs (the new naturally cured variety--no chemicals or by products) So I made them, wrapped them in foil and headed out. Mist's friend Lauren came along as well. And wouldn't you know it, discovered the hot dog buns had mold on them once we arrived at the picnic :(  Tabs had just made her ginger snap cookies and they were ready the moment we left the house so at least we had warm cookies for dessert :)

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Running in the Rain

My run this morning was in sharp contrast to being frenched by the universe--sorry, just had to make reference to my last experience on the mountain ;)
I ran in the rain and wind and my hands went numb. But still, the mountains rising from the mist on the lake looked mystical and it was beautiful.
Looking after my darling nieces and Pip today. It is a rainy day so I will probably take them out for coffee (hot coaco)  later as it is too wet to go to the park.
Will finish formatting the thesis and send it off tomorrow.
I will tackle my next goals which include: zumba, and painting and my first novel.
I have decided to forge on ahead to get certified to teach at a Uni. So, I will be looking at programs for painting: Phd's and Mfa's (very few Phd programs in the world for this).
My research excites me so very much. I will start with the wolves near Golden as my first research culture. I will photograph them and paint them. I will find a way to fit in a ten day course on renaissance techniques as well. As this is the direction I want to go with my paintings of wildlife: modernism/realism/renaissance luminosity. I have so very many animal cultures I wish to study through my painting/photography and I also hope to write about my experiences during the research.
BTW, I LOVED Jane Eyre--a beautiful movie version of Charlotte Bronte's famous novel. 

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011


This goose was determined to eat the picnic. Approached the blanket hissing at us to abandon the  food.
Picnic with Miranda and all of our little beauties.

The weekend proved to be very busy. I actually had very little time to work on my thesis.
 Today I attempted some work and then after lunch felt overcome with exhaustion and guess what? Pip and I had a nap together. Something about this weekend has left me very tired. Miranda felt the same way. I think perhaps there is a little bug circulating.
 I am basically finished the thesis. All I have left is to try and attach a sample of Facebook story to the appendices. Unfortunately the quality of each pic is not there as they are screen shots from FB and the typing is too tiny and I have to blur out all of the names so it looks messy. Really wondering if I need to include this copy at all. And guess what? I am dead sick of the thesis--have finally hit the "don't give a flying F****" wall.
I made delicious Thai peanut chicken tonight. The secret is fresh lemon juice, fresh ginger, garlic and cilantro.
 May just go out to a movie tonight as the theatre will be empty--everyone watching the Cunucks game.
This post is rather boring, I know. But that's the kind of day it has been :P

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tennis on a Saturday Night

I win!
Tennis Hawaiian style: flip-flops and lotus blossom in hair
Pip took that ball on the forehead!
Team P: Pip and Peter
Winning team work 
The Pip in action
Hi 5 
Tabs tries barefoot tennis 
Tennis last night and then we went out for after game drinks at a coffee shop. Mist was out at Pirates of the Caribbean IV with a friend.

Spent yesterday morning at a garden nursery with Mist, selecting flowers for the yard, and then we spent the afternoon planting them all.

Finished choreographing 3 songs for Zumba. I am choreographing 4 of my own and then tweaking 8 Zumba's pre-choreographed for my first class. So far, I have a salsa, a reggaeton and a merengue.
 --Sweating like Raj Binder (my favourite reporter) after working on them for the day!

Working on finishing thesis today and then taking girls and friend to the water park later this afternoon. Tonight I'm going out to the movie Jane Eyre--gotta love those Bronte sisters ;)
Tabs and Mist both having sleepovers with friends this long weekend in May.

Have found and booked a room on campus for the local Vipassana meditators to meet once a week for a group meditation. The group is excited as they haven't been able to find a room to rent for a year. However, I must make sure I can book it Sunday evening--I fear the Uni may be locked up Sunday night. Will check that out Tuesday. Plan to email my thesis to my committee Tuesday morning too. But have given up thinking the thesis will ever actually be finished.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Marmalade Cat

Pip, me and Tabs at the Marmalade Cat
The universe kissed me on the lips this morning.
It is the best way to describe the beauty of my morning run: steep mountain trail, wild flowers, early morning sunshine, blue sky, a massive still lake snaking itself through the valley--Fernando and I and the little quail families that dart in front of us on the trail.

Motivated to hurry up and finish choreographing my first Zumba class. Kelowna needs me--seriously--there are not enough teachers and no kid's classes. I tried out a new class last night. I am ready to dance, I just need to know my songs. I love choreography--my mind is thirsty for it. Every time I hear music my mind is ahead of me, creating moves for every beat. Will work hard to get ready and put myself up and available to teach on the Zumba website.

 Not turned off academia just yet. I'm leaning towards a PhD. I would love to teach at a Uni--I like teaching, writing and research. Trust me, the jobs available to me now are non existent.  I may write that paper with the UBCO prof once I am finished my thesis.
Oh, and I am presenting at the international conference on eLearning in June--looking forward to that.
 Finishing the last of my thesis revisions: just need to define my term page and edit an entire Hippoworth story for the appendices.

My daily practice of  equanimity helps keep me focused. But you know me and my creative mind, it is serious work keeping myself equanimous...

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We Stop For Snails

Just have to write to say I have had the best morning and it is only 8 a.m.
I went on a 6 a.m. run up the back of the mountain with Fernando--all of the spring flowers are blooming, the lake was still--it was paradise.
Later, once home, I said good bye to Tabs as she headed out the front door to catch the school bus. I watched her from the living room window as she walked down the street. I noticed she stopped and put down her back pack on the side of the road. I stepped onto the balcony and called to her. She said she had found an amazing snail and was getting her camera from her back pack to photograph it (she is so like her mom). Pip and I whipped outside with my camera and here she(the snail) is above. She is so lovely. And to make the morning even better, as I was photographing the snail, my beautiful niece Anemone walked by on her way to the school bus and stopped to enjoy the snail with us :)

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Solfege in Spring

Tabitha at her spring youth-choir concert

Tabitha and her solo
Pip in the audience
Sisters taking a break

With her choir director after the show

Pip and I attended Tab's spring choir concert. It was beautiful. Their little voices complemented the variety of songs. Tabs had a small solo. She was adorable smiling between songs. Pip was a drama queen, throwing herself in a limp heap on top of me, saying she was too tired to sit. 
Again today Peter is in Vancouver. I think we need an apartment there. We were all going to go for the weekend but with the choir concert, piano lessons and orthodontist appointments, we decided not to.
My girls have a 2h piano lesson tonight as they missed last week's. I again will have to miss my dance class. 
Not too much happening in my life--I am taking it easy. Nights spent with my girls and then practicing dance and meditating. Days spent writing. 
Will study Spanish soon as the trip will be upon me before I know it. Though we haven't booked it yet. Unfortunately Rossetta Stone is expensive. I tried a trial and loved it but with the trip coming up I cannot blow $800 on Spanish lessons. 


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tick Magnet

Pip the Tick-Magnet
Fernando and Pip

Went out on a date with Tabs and Pip. We attended the movie Soul Surfer. It was a good movie. I want to move to Hawaii. I love the Hawaiian life style. Pip wasn't sacred--didn't have a chance to be as Tabs covered Pip's entire face during the shark attack. Tabs was so cute. She had seen the movie a few weeks ago with a friend and was thrilled to be going to it again with us. She warned me about any up and coming frightening scenes for Pip. Though, it was I who had to forcibly remove Tabs' hands from Pip's eyes as Tabs deemed much of the movie too frightening for her little sis. A great date.

Afterward, we were thrilled to discover Mist had arrived home from Vancouver. Then, as I was tucking little Pip into bed she told me, "I can't put my head on the pillow because it hurts the "owie" on my head." I checked and sure enough, another giant wood tick! It must have climbed aboard last Sunday on our Mother's Day hike. It was big and painful. Of course, I could not remove it with her screams and hysteria. Also, it had a red circle around it on her scalp so I thought it best to make sure it wasn't carrying lime disease--onward to the hospital. We lucked out--we were only there for 2 h.  Home by midnight. Doctor froze her scalp with a needle anesthetic. The needle hurt perhaps more than pulling the tick out--can't be sure, she screamed through both procedures but then miraculously returned to complete calm instantly to finish a game she was playing on the iPad. Doctor asked me if I was like that as a kid?

Today the cousins were over to play. Peter teaches all day at the Uni. I am writing the last of the revisions on my thesis. And then perhaps, I will treat my gals to coffee out. Loath to do another hike today with Pip--that was the second giant tick on her head this spring.

--Tabs just whipped down to tell me it's the last day for 1/2 price frapuccinos! I guess that means a Starbucks visit--I must tell of a little compliment I received the other day at Starbucks--so I don't forget myself. An older gentleman approached my table and started talking to me. I removed my ear buds and said, "Pardon me?"
"That dress is dynamite!" he said, "You really up the classiness of this office in that dress."
I had to laugh and thank him. I love that he referred to Starbucks as an office and I hadn't heard "dynamite" since I was a kid in the 70's. But I agree, the dress I was wearing was a dynamite dress--Grecian style, taupe in colour

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mon Petit Singe (monkey)

The other morning, Pip wanted me to watch a puppet play she was creating with her Playmobile theatre.
She said, "OK this is the scary part," and she proceeded to have the bad guy shoot the grandmother.
 I said, "Oh, no, this is scary. I hope the grandmother isn't dead." Pip said, "No. Don't worry, the ending will be lovely. There will be blood but she won't die."
That is Pip's idea of a "lovely" ending.

Will work some more today on the thesis finally. Pip is home with me. I believe we will attempt the Starbucks office again: Pip on her computer playing Club Penguin and I on mine.
Mist is in vancouver on a band trip. Tabs has soccer tonight. Tomorrow it's a girl's night out: I am taking Tabs and Pip to Soul Surfer. Pip assures me she won't be too scared and knowing her, she won't be.

Discovered much travel ahead for me in the next year to look forward to: Spain this summer, Hawaii at Christmas and next summer Hong Kong again and I think we'll do China while we're at it (take all of the girls this time). I adore travel, it is one of my greatest adventure-pleasures.

Also discovered UBC has some pretty amazing courses in freelance journalism--Continuing Studies courses. May take them to find out how better to contact publishers. Since I spend my days writing and photographing everything, perhaps I can make a little money while I'm at it :)
So on that front, once my thesis is finshed, I will take a Renaissance painting workshop and the UBC journalisms classes--be self employeed (Painter, writer) until I find a good job with benefits.
If the employers are as scarce as hen's teeth, then I shall become my own employer in every way I can. And I am not forgetting Zumba--I am practicing each night--preparing the choreography gradually for the time I am ready to teach my first class. 

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Okanagan Spring Flora

Saskatoon Berry Blossom

Balsam Root 

Oregon Grape

Balsam Root and Ponderosa Pine in Distance

Purple Aven
After starting 2011 with self imposed strict deadlines for finishing my thesis and finding a job, I have finally, seriously let go. Letting go is the very best feeling. I'm taking my darling daughter Mistaya's advice to "just do what you want to do mom."
I am back enjoying the very activities that have brought me my greatest life joys: hanging with my girls. I am most happy when we are together having fun.
This morning I walked Tabs and her friend to school. I loaded up Pip in the stroller and harnessed Fernando and down the mountain we strode. It is the most beautiful spring day ever in the Okanagan. It took us only about 40 minutes to walk down the mountain. I most enjoyed it. It made me wish I could walk my girls to school daily.  I then turned around and headed back up the mountain--stopping to rescue a snail trapped trying to cross a busy trail and then at the park for Pip to play once we reached the mountain top. The walk, and 20 minutes at the park took me a total time of 1 h 45 min.
Spent last evening at the theatre with all of my girls as Tabs and Mist are in the play "Camp Rock" that will debut in August. The theatre director made everyone in the theatre stand up and tell their name--little Pip was so cute.
Taking Mist to the mall after school to shop for a few odds and ends before she leaves on her band trip to Vancouver in the early morning. May treat her to a frapuccino after all--they're still on sale and we love to Stop for a break at Starbucks when shopping.
Final thesis revisions are what I am working on. This process has truly turned me off academia. But the good news is I am doing what I want and I am so enjoying it and looking forward to all I have lined up for myself. No panic anymore--just enjoying each step.
The cool thing about Vipassana meditation is you think--how can this be helping my life? Sure I am calm and focused while I do it but does it have any real lasting effects? The answer is yes. I feel my dedication is paying off in simply me finally being able to let go and just do what I want without the feeling of self-imposed panic.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Bear Creek Hike in Spring

Mother's Day hike yesterday. Love the sun. Afterward I hiked up behind our house to the lookout over the lake, put down a blanket and soaked up some more sun.
Walked Pip to preschool this morning with Fernando in his new orange harness. He so needed one. A collar only makes him pull, choke and asphyxiate himself. Pip was so happy on the way to school, She skipped and smiled in her pink gingham dress, holding her little seahorse toy. She looked so happy and even said, "I'm happy" as she skipped along. She is the most joyous child. Her beauty shines all of the time and lights up the world.
Mist is getting ready to go to Vancouver this Wednesday for a band trip. Tabs is always heavily into a school project. She had to find photos from magazines depicting foods she likes. Well, you can imagine, she blamed the magazines for lack of food pics but everyone who knows Tabs knows she likes about 3 foods.
Today Peter is in Vancouver.
 I have many appointments: thesis meeting with my committee, piano for 2 daughters, a doctors appointment, Zumba class and Tabitha has to be at the theatre downtown by 7 p.m. this evening for the play she'll be in this summer. Thus, I have requested a new piano time.
 I put  Indian Butter Chicken in the slow cooker so supper will be ready by the time I get home from the UBC meeting. We have eaten so much take out the past few months. I put a stop to it. From now on we never eat out. It is a bad habit. Thus, I will make supper even if it means just veggie dogs and pre-washed salad.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Three Daughters

The Happy Mother's Day tea at Pip's preschool yesterday. Pip had a few solo's she said the line from Down By The Bay: "have you ever seen a bear combing him hair." And the "S" in Mother's Day was for :"I like to snuggle with my mom."

I biked early yesterday morning 1/2 way down the mountain with Misty as she wanted to meet a friend and bike to school. So after school, I was down at Tab's school requesting teachers for my girls' next year (Tabs wants Mr. Baker, I want Pip to have the most gentle of kindergarden teachers and have been advised by friends as to which one is kind and which one yells at the kids). Then I decided to pick up Mist from school, put her bike in the back and take them all to Starbucks as there was a 1/2 price sale on frappuccinos for a very short time. But no, she wanted none of it. She wanted to stay with her friends and bike around and have someone pick her up later that night from her friend's house. So she did. I treated the little girls to the frappuccinos.

Tabs came to me the night before last and requested we do yoga together and then that we meditate together. We did. She was amazing. I taught her the basic Anapana (observing the breath). She has been  practicing the 800m run each evening. She wants to run it again at the track meet. She has a bad cough that I hope clears up for her soon. Last year she was very sick with a chest infection, ran the 800, came in 2nd but collapsed afterward and frightened me to no end. I told her she cannot run it this year if she has any kind of illness.

Today they will attend their cousin's birthday party up the street. I will work on a little of the final thesis revisions.
 Let me just say that Zumba at Oranj studio has turned into Bikram's Zumba. The room is small, windowless and packed with 30 dancers. It gets so hot that by the end of class I am a boiling hot tomato face and feel I might collapse. I cannot take heat like others. I don't know why but my system doesn't cool me down effectively. I don't sweat much, maybe that is why??? I blaim it on genetics. Northern Europeans fought dampness and cold, not sun and heat.
Watched A Summer in Genoa last night. Good movie. Going to Spain this summer...

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Much Happiness

This is the opening screen to my power point presentation on my thesis. My thesis is about the covert story telling by cyberstuffies that happens in a subculture on Facebook.

I am happy.
My presentation was a great success. Just arrived home from it. I rate my success by many modes. First, I wasn't too nervous and I spoke confidently and told all of my planned humorous stories and got a few laughs. Secondly, it was the biggest crowd over 3x larger than the crowds for the other 2 presentations I attended. Third, I got bombarded with questions afterward as I sat on the panel. The panel I was on was titled Identity. Fourthly, I had people approach me after the session and ask more questions. And finally, a professor at the University approached me afterward and asked if I wanted to collaborate on a paper with her about "audience in pop culture"--to present at conferences with her.

My kamma is changing. Vipassana promises a good often huge positive kamma change if you follow the path. I am following the path of Theravada Buddhism which is the same path as Vipassana. It involves following the Buddhist moral conduct codes and dedicated meditation. I credit this path as well as my own attempts to follow the social literacy code I know to be true--thanks to life's hard knocks and my research on social literacy. This social literacy code is vital if one wants to navigate through society successfully. I am following the unwritten rules despite how much it hurts at times.

Doors are opening after so many months of struggles and misery. I am getting very close to choosing a direction and closing some of my options for the present. Another door that just opened is Greenpeace. After months of waiting, Greenpeace is suddenly very keen on me founding an Okanagan Chapter. This could prove to be very exciting. Tons of work but in a field I want to enter.

To keep the good kamma (Pali word for the sanskrit karma) going I will diligently follow the paths. Though, I admit, I have a conference supper at Summerhill Winery this evening. And I will indulge in one glass of organic wine. Because alcohol has never been my drug. I never get intoxicated. One glass once or twice a month is my limit. Chocolate is more my drug. I eat 99% and 90% dark chocolate daily. It keeps the endorphins flowing.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Irony of the Dandelion

This morning Pip and I arrived on UBC campus for my Grad student conference. I had forgotten about child care today and decided to take her along as it is a fairly casual conference. We parked the car and Pip skipped excitedly towards some dandelions, "Mom! Daisies! Can I pick some?" And she picked me a lovely bouquet.

She was a doll during the sessions and at lunch. She played on the i-pad quietly. We even attended an unusual performance-art demo on the campus lawn. The artist was like a dog in heat: sniffed all of the audience members, stared deep into their eyes and wrapped her legs around various ones and humped their legs. She was dressed as a male/female morph--all the right "stuff" where it was needed. Anyway, she didn't hump the Pip and I--I was happy to have the Pip with me as that kind of performance-art attention would have been awkward. I just laughed at the artist's antics. Pip, believing she herself is a dog anyway, probably found the performance very realistic as she laughed with me.

So, after the lunch (no one seemed to run for the table with the adorable little girl at it???) we left as I felt desperate to prepare for my presentation tomorrow. Thus, here I am blogging when I need to prepare! As we pulled in the drive, Artemis and her nanny Laura walked by to see if Pip wanted to join them at the park--that is where she is now. So I must sign off to work.

But before I do I must share a little about the dandelion pics I took. They were inspired by today's events. Pip's glee at discovering some and then the conversation I had in my sister's office before the conference session started. Miranda brought it to our attention that the dandelion flower head is actually up to hundreds of separate flowers and the head of a dandelion is actually an entire bouquet.
I thought that so eloquent.
The dandelion is the most vilified of flowers in our culture. Everyone spends money, sweat and poison irradicating them from their lawns (except us! We love them). However, they are the most beautiful, edible flower out there; so willing to cover one's yard with colour-beauty and a food source. So, it was a delight to discover that not only is the lovely, yellow head a simple, single flower, but each blossom is in actuality an entire bouquet. Such grandeur and beauty to discover in a single vilified "weed"--an entire bouquet in each flower.

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pippi's Scooby Doo Mystery Party

The party gang

Scooby Doo Mystery Treasure Hunt

Treasure Hunt in Our Backyard

Birthday girl Pippi and cousin Artemisia

Birthday Baby and her Scooby Doo Cake (she forgot to make a wish--as we discovered at bedtime!)

After the party: Birthday baby passed out asleep on my bed

Pip is adorable. About an hour after the party, I couldn't find my little darling. She had passed out asleep on my bed--I snapped the Pic without her waking up. Last night she came into my room crying hysterically. She realized she'd forgotten to make a wish when she blew out her candles. I assured her she could shut her eyes, make a wish and blow right then and there and the wish would count. She did it and was happy again.
Went for a morning bike with Peter along Mission Creek in the beautiful sunshine--looking for the Blue Heron rookery. But the trees were empty. They'd all ready fledged :(  
Now, I must prepare a power point presentation on my thesis for the conference that starts tomorrow morning. Then I will attempt to tighten up my thesis. So tight--no one will be able to tare it apart at my defense. I've had to seriously down size my schedule and focus exclusively on my thesis. Once I have defended, I will open up my mind again and attempt to take on the world. 
I miss the world already.

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