Monday, December 19, 2011

merry christmas

December 2011
so much love

I Have Dreams!

crazy ladies

Cathy and Gina

She lived on Vine St.
I lived on Lombardy Lane
We played. We twirled. We read. We wandered. We danced.
She had a little reel to reel tape recorder and we recorded ourselves over and over. It is a good thing, a very good thing that we did not have youtube. The only people that ever heard our tapes were us! We were a great audience though.  We laughed so hard. Greatest hits:
Catch a Falling Star
California Dreamin'
My Favorite Things
Mellow Yellow
Fay and Georgia (we made it up)

We love a good song bird still.
Take Brandi Carlile
We love her.  We think she is our daughter.
When Gina heard she was playing The Rio in Santa Cruz, well, it was a done deal. 
We suited up.  We showed up. Happy happy time! 
During "Turpentine" we harmonized. 
No reel to reel.  Just a contraband smart phone recording the joy.
I love my friend.
Growing older is simply growing better.

a shout out

On the corner of 18th St. and Guerra in The Mission District there is a bakery.
It is not an ordinary bakery.
It is Tartine.
Briana knew this place, of course.
She owned their cookbook.
It took a wildly crazed taxi ride to get there.
It took tired feet, the BART train, running tired feet and a rickshaw to get back in time.
It was worth it.
I can't describe it, won't even try.
I'm not even eating sugar these days but left with a Coconut Tart, double Pain au Chocolat, shortbread and a most lovely piece of embossed gingerbread.  Yes, embossed and glazed.

Holding, gazing, sniffing and caressing this work of art was joyful.
Peace on Earth

Friday, December 2, 2011

spirit rich

I love my job. Today was one of those days. People that believe that birth is part of life, of a loving life bring so much to my day's work. It humbles me to serve. I have a new birth friend.  Tandi. She was present at the last birth I attended with Briana. She's going to help me with a birth in Heber City next summer. As the circular story goes, she came to the prenatal with me today.  The new to us mom mentioned reading about Briana and extended her sympathy.  At that moment of light, we realized that Tandi's presence links the circle of Briana's wisdom.  My eyes were a little misty as I talked about moving forward, peacefully, happily. This mom smiled, hugged us both and another story begins. . .


Clinic de la Partera
I can see it.  Diane and me. 
Catching babies in Tulum Pueblo.
Cotton skirts, wildly wavy hair, rebozos and cumin tea.
Great mama hips and fat baby cheeks.
Nurslings tied on, cloth diapers or no diapers.
Proud papas. Smiling. Kissing.
Blue water.  Dark chocolate.
Awake to the birds. Asleep to the waves.
Cielito Lindo in the air.
You down, Cousin?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Love Letter

Dear Kate,
I love you.  You sustained me, carried me as a midwife during the most difficult time of my life.  Quietly, with humility and dependability you showed up every time I called.  Sometimes you even showed up before I knew I needed you.  Appreciation and relief flooded me every time. Often you were sick with pregnant hormones pulsing and always you were tired, probably more than me. You were right there when a nuchal cord was too tight to slip over the baby's head.  You knew just what I needed when a cord suddenly snapped, when the bleeding was too much.  After an all night labor when I was losing objectivity, I called you for reinforcement. You came quickly and eased in as primary midwife. You allowed me safe space to cry, to openly grieve Briana's passing.  You never tried to fill her shoes, you wore your own and the fit was perfect. 
Just about the time we got the dance perfected, you were gone.  Trusting, leading your family to your new home in California.  I miss you.  I admire you.  I am in awe of your power and strength.
Soon she will be here.  Your baby, Lilly. You have worked your way through the labyrinth of doubt, fear and models that are not midwifery.  You know.  I am so grateful for a few days with you as you prepare to stand in your birthing power. Thank you for your warmth, for making a little beach time, for trusting me in your space, for sharing your family and for being Kate.
Peace my sister,

Toby's Beach

Five Gratefuls

Ahh, Sunday morning.  This is the very first time since Mexico that I've had unscheduled, slow moving time.  Time to think, ponder, sort and simply Be. I find myself full to the brim with gratitude.  There are many big things that bless my life.  Today it is the little things that cause me to smile.

I love doing home visits.  I could do prenatals in my house or at the Sugar House office.  There is no question.  The visits to the homes of my home birth families are the highlight of my work. Me, Li'l Red, good music and sometimes an apprentice, hit the road in the early morning and come home happily tired as night falls.  This beautiful basket of pears was a gift from the Palmer's on Wednesday evening.  On Thursday, the pears sustained me and Liz as we traveled the valley. Sometimes it's food, sometimes it's a special preparation like home made iron syrup, sometimes it's drawings by the children.  Always, it is the knowledge that I am standing in the space that will soon be sanctified by the birth of a baby. 
I give so much thanks for my birth families and their homes.

My soft cotton Sundance night shirt, I love it and am thankful for this simple pleasure.
This is what I wear when I want to feel like a lovely girl. When I intentionally (as opposed to falling asleep in my clothes on a couch) climb in my comfy bed and head for Zzzzzzz land.

Luxury.  I am grateful for the very rare mornings when I don't have to get up early. This is what staying in bed for a lot longer than is virtuous looks like.  I put on my glasses, open the laptop and Pinterest the morning away.  I used to read the morning newspaper.  Now I Pin.  I'm much happier this way

I am grateful for casual, no worries, no stress moments like this.
Early morning sand, linen pants pooling around my feet and chipped red nail polish.  Something about this combination makes me smile.

I am grateful for meeting this place,
at the end of a magical pier on the powerful ocean. 
The smiling people, the full moon, the taste of salt, the sound of ships and seals, following my heart. . .
A little vacation extension 

Monday, November 14, 2011

the way it is

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

time to go home . . .

My Spanish skills peaked a few days ago.  My brain is tired now.  I was sitting at the table in our little house this morning.  Obdulio came to the back screen door.  It startled me a little.  I proudly said "Hola Ob-la-di!" He just said "Buenos dias."
Do you dare me to call him Ob-la-da tonight?
. . .life goes on
< >

for GB Wiens

This is a slight variation, an idea from your Pinterest board.
                          I may have carried creative "postre" a little too far. It was good though.



Saturday, November 5, 2011


<<<< >>>>

Friday, November 4, 2011

Be Peace Now

Good morning.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I am becoming braver by the day.  If I want to swim in this beautiful water I have no choice.  First there were the lizards.  They are small and I don't fear them, just wish they would announce themselves. Next came the sand crabs.  They are about the size and color of a small pancake.  If they get worried, they quickly burrow up to their eyeballs in the sand. Yep, just two black eyes and antennae poking up to be stepped on. No thanks.  About the time I decided sleeping on the beach would be cool, the bats came.  20 inch wingspan, not kidding.  OK, I know about radar but they come really close.  Next, the hermit crab walking along the back porch.  Really, they are tarantula gross in moving shells. Today it was the iguanas.  After a dozen or so I just decided to think of them as lazy cats.  No problem.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

day of the dead

It didn't work out quite like I had planned.  It was better. It rained super heavily most of the day so the water park plan was out.  In Tulum town I asked around, got directions for a church and cemetary but it was too early.  Some of the bars had stuff going on but not what I was looking for. So we went home. There was a perfect little arched shelf with a Mexican statue just outside the front door.  I made an altar from things I had collected in town. A new rebozo, some chocolate, pastries, my necklace, Frida shirt and a candle. From my limited music choices I chose El Condor Pasa.  It was quite a beautiful time of celebrating the life of Briana and wishing her to Be Free.
I read something that I have taken in to my heart yesterday.
"In Judaism there are 3 stages of grief to be endured.  First there is weeping, for we all must weep for what we have lost.  Second comes silence, for in the silence we understand solace, beauty, and comfort from something greater than ourselves.  Third comes singing, for in singing we pour our hearts and regain our voice."

Lookin out my back door

Nuestras Casa Nah Yaxche

I love Apple genius.  I realized that the iPhone charger that I brought was the take apart kind. Then I thought, hmmm, wonder if it will hook up to this little Acer computer.  I am no genius.  This thought process took 3 days.  Ta Da.  We have pictures.  More to follow. Gotta run into town.  Today we will have guests AND they are staying overnight.  Just discovered we have a whole separate casita with a bedroom available for visitors.  Hurry! Come over. I bought some great Mexican tea, found a little panaderia with bizcochitos.  True.  . . .and I have the best story ever to share!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

points for me

First, a shout out for Banana Flan! I had no idea. . .
OK.  I had a real conversation with Obdulio. He does not even try an English word so I had to work it. It was about comida por quatro persones manana, chile rellenos con queso, empanadas pollo (dos, por favor), tamales carne y mole. Then we came to the quantos dinero por Flor part.  First she has to go shopping so we have to front her some dinero.  It took a minute and some paper and pen but we got it, 500 pesos, not 50. I even knew how to tell him what time to come over.
We are having guests!  It's a long story but a good one. A new client and her husband, just met them and found out they were coming to Cancun. I extended a dinner invite and just received an email that they will come tomorrow. It's kind of cool without cell.  If they can find their way thru the mangroves to this casita it will be exciting.
I found some ocean, turtle grass free in Tulum late last night. I'm going back asap.
About bathing suits - I haven't found them necessary when the mermaid impulse hits. However for a beach vacation they are a wardrobe staple. Along with the Nikon and the Flip, I forgot my bathing suit - not even a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.  I thought of cutting off some pants but really didn't want to take a kitchen knife to linen or hemp. Sooo, that left me with swim wear from the Mex grocery store.  I now own a hideous maroon tank with flowers on it.  My "board shorts" are worse. Navy blue stretch cotton with a hot pink waistband. Oh, and some man flip flops, navy blue. Nice!  I am grateful that I forgot the camera.
{{ ~ }}

Monday, October 31, 2011

dia uno y dia dos

Sunday was quiet.
Integrating.  No one here speaks English. Nada.  I've been busy trying to learn French so I have to dig deeper than usual for my weak Spanish. That's a lot of digging for my brain.  About an hour after Obdulio, the caretaker of this place left, I thought of a whole Spanish conversation we could have had. I got my French and Spanish days of the week mixed up. Couldn't remember Thursday in either language and that's the day I want his wife, Flor, to cook.
It rains several times a day.  The temp averages 80 something.  That = humidity which = my hair is in natural ringlets. I love it! If it were shorter I could be Carole King for Halloween.
Today is quiet, too.  I've been reading Judy Collin's autobiography and sleeping. Although I just want the details about her and Stephen Stills, the rich history of folk music and the blend that became folk rock is interesting.
Went out in a little canoe to see if the swimming was better out past the turtle grass.  The boat was a little tippy, not too bad. Unfortunately I kept having flashbacks from "Old Man and the Sea". Even tho I had not one shiny bauble or bangle to attract predators, I kept thinking Jaws himself was gonna pop up. What has happened to my mermaid spirit?
Tomorrow is Dia de los Muertos. I think I've found a good place to celebrate. There are natural waterparks here.  Not what we think of, the man made water parks with slides and stuff but natural.  Think small rafts in meandering rivers and Tarzan ropes. Anyway, there's one in Xcalak that has a big buffet, does face painting and provides torches for night parading.  I have my hopes up and my Frida T-shirt ready.
Buenos tardes.  Ti amo. ##

the sea

Wouldn't it be cool to see the Southern Cross?
On the sea and under the sky. . .

Saturday, October 29, 2011

safe and sound

OK.  I did a good job.  I really did.  Unfortunately I forgot the Flip camera so probably won't have pictures for awhile. Soliman Bay faces the Caribbean.  The water is pretty much lukewarm.  This is an area of eco beaches. That means they are pristine but natural.  There is turtle grass growing in the water near the shore.  Kinda like tall sea weed.  It is left to encourage sea turtles to nest here.  I think that is cool but am a little squeamish about playing in it.  So I can either get brave and wade past it to where the water is clear or hop in a little canoe and float out past it.  Please, no one tell Presley that I may go out deeper than my knees.  She has some residual shark fear after watching Soul Surfer.  The only caution I have read is to take off flashy jewelry before getting in the water.  Barracudas think it is lunch.  Uh oh.  Should have left the diamonds home.
It's possible to see dolphins when snorkeling a ways out.  That would be a very good sign. .Also, on the wall I saw a ceramic mermaid and a ceramic merman.  I took that as a good sign too. I took their picture.
Now for some sleep.  I am trying to decide if it's safe to sleep on this private beach. Waking to sunrise would be amazing.
We have internet but no cell service. I'll blog each day.
Peace and so much love.   << >>

gonna soak up the sun

. . .and some peace and some clarity and some healing as this crazy 2011 starts to wind itself down.
we'll be landing in about an hour. the drive from cancun to soliman bay is south, a little over 60 miles.  i have no idea what to expect.  since i picked the spot, found the casita and said NO to the all-inclusive tourist thing, there's always a little nail biting.  in my quest for the perfect beach, a place where dolphins and mermaids alike can swim with joy and abandon, i take some risks.  someday i'll know where my favorite place is.
"someday we will soar, wingtip to wingtip"

Friday, October 21, 2011


load the car and write the note
grab your bag and grab your coat
tell the ones that need to know
we are headin' North. . .
                    avett bros

midwife life

Midwives College of Utah

midwives of
technical expertise
professional excellence
personal greatness

October 6, 2011
Graduation Banquet

2011 Midwifing Midwives Award

Vanessa, Rachel, Cathy, Liz, Candice, Brent

Friends of MCU 
awarded to the Blackwelder family

boys and girls ago

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I see my light come shinin' . . .

 Hold on.

I saw a glimpse of light.
End of the tunnel?

Good things coming. . .

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

for rachel

i hope you breathe new york in so deep
i hope you make it to iron and wine
i hope you find some cozy little ethnic cafe
i hope you find the perfect linen apron
i hope your feet get just tired enough from running the streets
i hope someone offers you a seat on the subway
i hope you get some curling up time
i hope you see her and it makes you smile
i hope you get lost and then find something better
i hope you come home with stories to tell
yes, bring some nyc love home

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

how to write a speech

Step #1 - Setting up

 Get out the tea blend I bought at the funny, way hidden natural food store 
that I found with Steen on a sunny afternoon.

Use the cast iron teapot I found in Santa Fe
for events such as this

It's now if ever.  The little bag of pure cocoa nibs I bought in Mt. Shasta 
one day in April with Bri needs to come out today.

Perfect steamy for me.

Begin now to untuck all of the magic moments.
Ready, set . . .

Monday, September 19, 2011

"it's OK to have scars.
they will make you who you are.
You pulled me out of the dark and now it's light.
. . .just come on home"

Friday, September 9, 2011

september, i love you

My feet aren't quite ready for socks and shoes.
It's not quite chilly enough in the morning for hot mugs of tea.
It will be here soon though, the fall season that I love.
It will deliver 7 babies into my hands.
Today I will repack birth supplies, get birth kits ready, inventory and order.
I feel a little road trip waiting for a small window of freedom.
Maybe a quick flight to Spokane or Seattle, too.
Got a big trip planned to the Yucatan to celebrate The Day of The Dead.
(yeah, she deserves to be celebrated in a big way)
Full Moon Love happens on Monday.
Commune With the Moon hike up Timp on Tuesday.
A week later Fall will officially arrive.
Got new socks and Get Happy Tea.
I'll be ready.

birthday hangover

i feel like writing a big ol' essay on turning 55 and what it feels like to know you are more about reflecting backwards than projecting forward. instead, i'll just simmer a bit longer in "now' because it feels really good.
i'm not ready for my birthday to be over. from early morning when it began with the first loving email shortly after midnight, to the last love note, my day was bliss full. i'm brimming with gratitude for every little birthday zing.




grow happy







Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Friday, August 26, 2011

School shoes



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Growing the circle

This is one of the most beautiful book covers I have ever seen. Young Ina May. Tears came out of my eyes when I pulled it out of the Amazon box. I think back to my intro to Ina May Gaskin; my first reading of Spiritual Midwifery. I remember how it felt to be in Summertown, sitting right next to her as she described the sacred nature of the newborn. I could barely breathe. I recall the heart picture I have tucked away of her walking down a dirt road, hand in hand with her love, Stephen. She with her old wool sweater wrapped around her hemp dress, muddy Birks and silver braid.

I did not expect this flood of emotion I am feeling today about midwifery. Today is the NARM exam. Kate and Lisa are testing. Lisa spent the night here last night to be closer to the test site. Watching her get ready took me back to my test day. The years of study, the days and nights spent away at births accumulating numbers and experience, the dollars, the sacrifice of the whole family - well, it all rides on passing this test. My graduation from MCU was scheduled and a staff position at Better Birth was waiting. This was, this is a day when the outcome, the destination matters.

Kate and Lisa are from the Wise Woman tribe. Kate is expecting her 7th child in November. She has held me up and supported me in a huge way this summer even though her own life plate was heaping full. Lisa, mother of 10, is preparing to midwife her daughter, catching her grand-daughter in just a few weeks. Both have been students in the classes Briana and I have taught at MCU, both have assisted us at births. I feel strong connection and love for them today.

I am thinking about my own mentors and preceptors right now. Cynthia and Fran sent me to The Farm - twice! Ginger and Debra took me to homebirths of every flavor. Suzanne pulled me out of dreamy student mode and provided my formal apprenticeship. She taught me about the law of Plenty. Jodie, dear Jodie. As MCU president, she pushed me, guided me and convinced me to Get It Done. They saw something in me that I wasn't aware of. I can look back on the long, long road now with humble appreciation.
All of us, midwives and the families we serve are forever in the debt of Ina May Gaskin and The Farm midwives. They pioneered modern day home birth midwifery. They kept meticulous stats, wrote books, made movies and lived the mantra, "Each one, teach one." With confidence and competence, they began the movement to return birth to the women and babies that should have owned it all along.
Every midwife, student midwife, doula, birth junkie, UA birthers - you must go to The Farm. If only to breathe the Farm Clinic air or hike the hills of Tennessee or photo journal the old busses. Go. The spirits of the ancient ones and the unborn ones will permeate and become a part of you forever.
Peace out, Lisa and Kate! Can't wait to hear all about it!