Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 5 Waves

Before leaving Utah, everything felt so chaotic. I couldn't get the loose ends tied up.  I wasn't ready.  Thank you Gina for so wisely guiding me to simplicity and clarity.  You asked,"What are you hoping this trip will bring to you?" Long pause.  My answer. "I want to shake everything out of me. Like turning a vessel upside down and shaking it 'til it empties. When empty, I want to sit in stillness and let myself slowly fill with only that which matters. I want this trip to unclutter me, to bring me peace."
I think today I nearly reached empty, everything almost out. It took longer than I thought. I tried earlier in the week to pull out my notebooks, start moving but I couldn't even ask the question of myself, "What next?" By now I thought I'd be mixing it up with local midwives. I found some connections but it doesn't seem like the right time.
 Me and the sea.  That's where I'm dumping my chaos. The waves were big today, powerful and close together like a lady's transition in labor. I wandered into a little shop and found the perfect journal for collecting directions for What's Next. Before I go to bed tonight, the last of my mental clutter will be laid out.  When the pinkset sky wakes me, I will be ready.

Day 4 My Lucky

Up with the sun.
At 5:30 am the most incredible thing happens. The sun starts creeping up over the sea in the east.  It starts as a gentle pink wash and progresses to all shades of the red family until the big ol' orange ball commands you to get up and take note.  Every morning, I do. I go out on the upper deck and watch the whole thing.  When it starts, Miss Venus is so bright just above the horizon.  Then I run to a deck on the west side.  The moon is just thinking about setting and taking his very shiny friend, Jupiter, with him. It's almost too much to take in. I feel such amazement to be under an arc created by the sun and the moon as Venus and Jupiter see eye to eye. Powerful. I know this would never grow old. It would only grow more and more precious, these things that matter most.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 3 Halloween

We are staying near a really cool place called CESIAK, Centro Ecologico Sian Ka'an. It is a biosphere reserve and the hub for some amazing work.  They also provide a variety of tours, offer bio tent cabins and a small restaurant that provides fresh local food. We signed up for a 3 hour boat tour.  I seriously hummed the Gilligan's Island theme song all day. I must say this.  Our skipper looked nothing like Gilligan's skipper.  Jorge. Long, wavy black hair that he pulled up into a messy bun. He's been studying flora and fauna out here for several years and hopes to write a one of a kind book soon.  I like a good, smart hippie.  The tour of the lagoon on the west side of us was cool.  Half way out we all jumped in a canal and went with the flow. I am always a little scared of the fauna. I know I'm due to see a snake soon and there were good size fish visible.  I do not like fish fluttering on my skin. I felt proud of myself for getting over it and floating down.  We met up with our boat and headed back.  Guess what?  Jorge gets all excited and makes the driver slow down.  There was a crocodile in the water.  We got right next to him. Scary eyes!  Happy Halloween!  I will probably not float down jungle rivers again.

Dia de los Muertos 2012

Does 2 years in a row make a tradition? I think so.  I am in the Yucatan on Day of the Dead just like last year. I just created a fitting altar for Miss Bri and as I sat down to write, Bon Iver randomly came on. Very cool. Last year the missing was so raw. I tried hard, really hard to channel the emotion into something good. I know Briana would hurt so badly if all that was left of her here was grief. Sometimes I feel her in the seat beside me as I drive to births in Li'l Red. Sometimes I see her perched in the room at a long labor. But only sometimes now. She is helping me create my new song, one good verse at a time. I am not rushing it because I like when she is close. During the space between these Days of Dead, The Briana Project was created. I have attended the births of Norah, Brinlee and Elliott. As Ian said on Terrible Day: "Cathy, she will still be with you. She will just be on the other side guiding the babies down to your hands." He was right. I love you Briana.  Here is your altar. I have placed my Africa bag on it.  You left soon after my first trip and were the reason for my last trip. There is a beautiful white seashell. It reminds me of our 3 week road trip that included Thousand steps beach and Big Sur. I bought you some Tres Leche cake. You Blackie girls introduced it to me. I had to have some Pan for you tonight. I waited in a Mexican bakery today, waited and waited until the baker was satisfied.  He wrapped it still warm for you. The last thing is the book I just finished, La Partera. It feels like we're gonna serve Latin women next, Bri. On American turf and underground.  We had many discussions about it.  Vanessa and Becki are working the Guatemala connections.  If that's where we need to go, help us out. Come on over to mi Casa Houston, girl.  Let's make some Mexican hot chocolate and break bread.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day 2 Moving slowly

I think we've made the transition to slow time.  I don't even have a watch.  Mine broke at the airport.  So I'm in my own time zone. Sleep, wake, whenever.

I finished my first book, La Partera. It's the bio of a Mexican midwife, Jesusita Aragon.  It left me full of admiration for her but a lot discouraged about many things.  Does hard work matter? I'll be thinking about her life for awhile
The sun left a pink glow on me today.  There are boogie boards here and I just don't want to stop paddling around in this beautiful sea glass blue green water.

I slow cooked a yummy dinner, started catch-up on many emails and might even start thinking about my NARM  recertification which is up soon. I'm receiving updates from my birth peeps; they are taking care of business.  That allpws me to sink into a deep state of vacation peace.

Tomorrow is Halloween.  We signed up for a 3 hour tour (not kidding) of a lagoon. So Gilligan-ish.  Guess I'll dress up as MaryAnn.

Oh, and how about that moon last night! I'm going to put on my favorite black jammies, load up some dreamy Beatles music, sit outside and look at it again.


best ever

there was a little beach. i think it was public but no one else was there. then some black labs ran by.  we heard the owner calling. "shasta! sierra!" hmmm. . .wonder where he was from! i went in up to my waist.  the water was almost warm. i dunked under a couple of times then back to shore. sun, sand and so much happy.  i sipped my jar of pomegranate juice and 7. i tasted heaven.

Day 1 slow cooking

When I was a little school girl, my family lived in Willard, Utah. It was a dreamy neighborhood for a kid. We played all of the outdoor games, Hide 'N Seek, Kick the Can and baseball using orchard trees as bases, Our street sloped down from the mountain.  It was great for sledding in the winter and racing hot rods (that's what the older boys called their creations) in the summer. My most favorite thing of all was playing house with my BFF, Laura.  There was an old chicken coop on her family's property. It had a real door and a couple of windows.  We made shelves and furnished the place with all kinds of improvisations. Stocking the kitchen shelf with pieces of this and that, making do, delightful!
Renting a house for an extended stay like this, flashes me back to that imaginary time of kid bliss. It's the kitchen. It comes empty.  No food. It calls for improvisation, making do.
We made a quick stop at a Mexican grocery store on the way in. We had 5 minutes, no, make that 3 to grab some basics for dinner and breakfast. Funny what one grabs under that kind of stress!.
First up, explore the kitchen. Usually these rentals have an eclectic stash of spices left behind from previous guests.Well, no orphaned spices this time. Nada. No salt, pepper, sugar, chili powder, nothing. There's a small room like a pantry, the "platos" room says the hostess. That's all that's in there, assorted plates, cups, pans and some utensils. Sooo I pretended up a dinner. It was fun. Then came breakfast. Creating from fresh, whole foods grabbed in a hurry was fun.
This place is no chicken coop but the improv factor takes me back.
Today I studied a stack of magazines searching for recipes. With unhurried time, I chose some and went grocery shopping.  I loved trying to translate English recipes into Spanish ingredients.  I really love unhurried time and the thought of cooking for pleasure.
Tonight I am cooking Chicken Corn Chowder. There will be a few substitutions and no requisite dutch oven. Oh, well. Just found out that the Eco-Tent village down the beach serves meals if necessary.
Tomorrow morning, Whole Wheat Plum Berry Tarts. Uh oh. It calls for a baking sheet and parchment paper. I didn't notice either of those things in LePlatos room. There is an 8X8 cake pan. We'll see. . .

Sunday, October 28, 2012


After a very long but uneventful day of airports, we are safe and sound on Mexican ground. Its fortunate that I've had a long day before getting to a computer.  I needed it to process my annoyance with air travel. Liquids or gels, weight limits, lines, back pack killing my shoulders, No, there's nothing in my left pocket, OK, body pat down then,uh-oh, something suspicious in the back pack, pulled out of line because of Tom's toothpaste, trying to sleep on my tray table, oops, guy in front just laid his seatback in my lap, middle seat, stranger on left crunching ice AND spilling his body into my space, on and on. . . I was the biggest whining grouch of a human ever!
I much prefer Road Trips. Music up loud, stay awhile or keep on going, the only folks in your space are of your choosing, gallons of liquid and dozens of books. So that's how I cast my travel vote.
That said, today was not about the journey; it was all about destination.  We are south of Tulum in Sian Kaan, Casa Houston. I can hear the ocean, see the moon AND watch the Giants-Tigers game all at the same time.We arrived after dark so I haven't seen the beach yet. I can't wait for morning to see what's up for mermaid me.  AND there's a full moon tomorrow night!  Bliss ahead.
I haven't figured out iPhone ability yet. Not sure if I can Instagram or text. For now its email to communicate and I'll be blogging.
I'm gonna slip into my black and orange G shirt and call it a day. A long day.
Goodnight Love s.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Charlie Grey

 Baby boy is turning 2! How can that be.  Really!  I was just there in my Pasco nest, waiting, trusting and waiting some more. Very early, on a rainy morning he came to meet us. A beautiful boy with many names. Wild Charlie, Charlie Fox . . .and finally Charlie Grey. He made it a trinity of Stoyan bros. My 10th grandchild, led in by a full moon and welcomed into a peace filled, loving home with his mama, his papa, Amelia and me. Perfect. He is my baby hippie, a wanderer. Much love!
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Monday, October 22, 2012


Georgia O'Keeffe, 1918Alfred Stieglitz
I have a fascination with Miss O'Keeffe.  Even the way her last name has 2 e's and 2 f's is cool. She chose her home, Abiquiu, New Mexico, near Taos.I like that, too. She married Alfred. He loved New York and other women. I think she was OK with that in the end. He found her stunning and this picture is one of his photographs. Her eyes. I see knowing there and a little pain and many secrets. She was childless though I think she miscarried once.  Heartbreak. She wanted a baby of her own. I don't love her art so much, though I like a few things, especially her early stuff. What I do love is her mind. Her independence. Her relationships. Her clothes. She marched to her own drummer even as a barefoot little girl.  She loved the night sky. She was angular and passionate at the same time. Her heart was gentle and true to self her only boundary. I envy that. Did she sleep at night or create under the moonlight? I wonder. I would love to drink tea with her and just watch her move. She might find me too swirled up in things that don't matter so much. I could learn simplicity from her. I think our eyes match. Same tribe perhaps?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

birth peeps

MCU Graduation Gala
October 2012

These are the women that carry me, dream with me and work so hard on their path to becoming midwives of excellence.
Emily, Liz and Baby Elliott, Sara, Cathy, Melanie, Katye, Julia, Cheryl and Laurisa
Trust the path. You've been called. The errand of angels is yours.
I love you all so much. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Any songs about Wednesdays?

Sometimes, like today, I'd like to try normal on.  I know it wouldn't fit but I like to think about it.  Like having a circadian rhythm. A daily routine. Meals planned.  Knowing who sleeps under my roof and where each night. Respecting the rules.
I'm responsible for Presley this school year. After a long, sleepless night, we got up with 15 minutes  til the tardy bell.  I tried.  She cried. The angel on my shoulder whispered, "What the heck?"  Well, a little stronger version of that sentiment.  Anyway. Since we're gonna be tardy, does it matter how tardy?  Let's just breathe some real deep peace and consider what matters most. Soooo, I filled a deep bathtub with warm bubbly water worthy of my baby mermaid.  School clothes off, merbaby in. When she was ready, I washed her hair followed by 6 slow cups of clean rinse water.  That's how old she is and seems to be a soothing number. I chose two soft, pink towels and when she was ready I cradled her in them and carried her long legged body to my bed.  Merbaby request.  The transition from warm water to cold air is always a trip. What would you like for breakfast little princess?  French toast.  With powder sugar or maple syrup? Both. I'll cook if you'll comb out your own hair.  Deal.  She watched Ninja Turtles with Jackie Boy while I set a pretty colorful table complete with the coolest fork/knife/spoon all-in-ones I just bought (made in Sweden of course). Dressed, fed and untangled, we did the homework. Everyday the same. Two pages of math equations on a green sheet of paper.  I want to gag but I'm supposed to be a model, I remember. Finished. Backpack ready. Uh, Grammy, it's my friends birthday today and I need to take her something. Sure. Out with some orange cardstock for a season appropriate birthday card. Go.  I only helped with a correction to her phonetic attempt to spell Sidney. Happy, we got in the car.  I walked her shiny, smiley self to the office.  Almost 2 hours tardy.  I told the lady Pres was a little sick this morning.  Then I whispered, "Actually, it's a little first loose tooth trauma".  Not a lie. She took her little paper pass and marched to class.  I cried a little on the way to my car.  No one understands what matters most.  Just wait.  Everything in it's time.  A long night and a rough morning can be fixed. She' only 6 and her life needs to be soothed. I can do that.  I'm not normal.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

catching up, in a nutshell

I've talked about this before, how I randomly give a verb to each month at the beginning of the year. As last year ended, Gina joined in my ritual.  We were happily sniffing essential oils in her kitchen as we prepped for the Brandi Carlile concert.  Out came the 2012 planners and our months were named!
I love looking back. It isn't really a self fulfilling thing since I try not to look ahead, only back. Here's what happened.

May - Cultivate
As I continued to dream of the mission Briana and I shared for international midwifery, The Briana Project was born. With the help of Shona, Zendina, Jodie, Julia and so many others, we definitely cultivated an expedition, Senegal 2012.
I guess Cultivate fits for my relationship with Lovely Sara Vranes. I woke up in the middle of the night and knew with clarity that she would be a great midwife and the sooner the better. When I saw her the next morning I had to tell her, couldn't wait.  It's like we saw each other soul to soul and she responded, "I know." We both know. This is the beginning of something important, something right.
June - Open
"Let the love in, so much love." I had to open to the many people that wanted to grow The Briana Project. I couldn't keep it to myself. There were sewing parties, kit organizing parties, fund-raising efforts, details to hammer out and as I opened my heart, love flowed in.
July - Flow
With 500 various kits tightly packed in 6 duffel bags, we were off to Senegal. A simple mission statement and a skeleton of a plan was what we had.  The rest was truly "on a wing and a prayer."  We had no choice but to flow.  Sometimes that meant upstream.  It is very hard, nearly impossible to flow upstream. Something invisible surely pulled us. In the end, our mission was accomplished.
August - Tighten
I was in over my head. Again, I woke in the middle of the night and her name came to me: Emily Gerber.  Call her.  She will help you. Pearl Midwifery gained an office manager.  My chaos didn't scare her. Also, enter Magical Melanie, student midwife from Wyoming. She moved into my house in August and organized my world.  Dishes, laundry, meals, birth supplies, paint, upholstery, little house ideas, prayers, planning and multi-tasking. From the first full moon on August 2nd to the full Blue moon on Aug 31, my life tightened up in a big way. I'm on top for the most part.  Feels good.
September - Shed
Oh, September, how I love you.
I did shed so much unnecessary stuff. Bags full went to the trash. With a tighter ship, it was easy to organize and let go. 
I also shed restrictions and strings to go after my loves.
M Street got a backyard.
I said "YES" to Li'l Red and we took a road trip.
Shedding is the greatest joy ever. It allowed me to dive in, swim deep, taste and touch the things that matter so much. The month ended in Monterey with hundreds of midwives at MANA Conference.
Then the wonderful experience of driving home in solitude under a full moon and starlit sky with much to savor and new dreams to create.
I will never forget you September.
October - Sing!
This month started out so beautifully, joyful and fresh. I had to break my rule and look at its word early on.  SING.  That is perfect. I have much to rejoice about. Going into autumn, there are so many memories already packed into this year. Looking forward, ahhh, much yet to celebrate.  My heart sings so many songs. 

That's the nutshell version. More to come. For now, I want to enjoy stillness a bit longer. If I could find My Walden Pond, well, I would really like that. A few days with me. To turn down the noise.  To remember.  To commune.  To dream. To promise.  To make sure. To breathe peace. To breathe love. Deeply.

Back to the blog

I've been pinning, racking up FB friends, a little tweet now and then and oh yeah, instagramming. With all that food for my instant grat self, I still miss my blog so much. Maybe I'll even fix the Nikon and make it real pretty. So here I go, diving back in.

Monday, February 6, 2012

grateful time

Skinny legs and brand new ice skates!
I am so happy grateful for this! 
Pres dreamt of skating since she could first stand up. 
She started lessons on Saturday morning. 
We slipped away during the Super Bowl for a little ice time under the bright moon. 

Liz and Becki
There are no words in my grateful song expressive enough of my deep thanks for you.
You have carried me, loved the "moms" we serve and now this! 
Together we will welcome sweet little Stika babe.

I am grateful, so much, for my work. 
One week ago this pretty baby girl came in.
Thank you, thank you G family for trusting me once again to share this sacred space with you.
She attended a birth as my assistant.  
Just me, just Jade
Thanks for your courage and gentleness.
I think we rocked as a team.
Soon you will be able to go in the middle of the night and keep on.

I loooove good music and good friends to share it with.
I love Neil Young. 
AND I just had the most amazing good luck.  
I was thinking about a Neil Young song as I wrote my last post.  The one about writing to old love friends but I couldn't remember all of it. And THEN it just right now came on XM Coffeehouse. This is one big giant Grateful!

Brrrrrr, cold day

There are many things in my head that I want to write about.
I feel like tightening my boundaries, letting a little structure into my usual randomness and welcoming some predictability in. On this very cold February morning I just feel like cleansing - everything, a big purge, mega delete.  Some things just clutter the landscape.
There are about a million pics in the iPhoto cache and half a million of them are blurry moon shots.  Why do we do that? Do we fear forgetting? I will not forget.
I think there are a couple million songs stored in CD cases, on iTunes, zip drives and a few cassettes and albums scattered around here.  At least a million of those songs I don't even like.  They just came with the good ones and I let them stay.
Then there are books, so many books.  Books are cool, libraries are great but really, some of them are so lame. How did they even get into print I wonder.
It goes on and on. Thoughts. Sometimes mine are repeats that I wish would stop. They are taking up limited brain space that I need. I want to get to the core of me.  What really matters.  What speaks to me.  What do I need, to you know, fulfill the measure of my creation?
I'd like to scoop up all of this office paper that someone else created because it mattered to them. Instead of crafting letters to insurance companies that I never wanted to engage with, I would prefer to send lovely cards and pretty packages to folks that I love.  Love so much.
That's it.  I'll do the crucial list items here, cleanse some things and then I will make valentines. That should skinny my brain down to love thoughts. And I will play music that I love, only music that I love as I go.

I love you.
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

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Monday, January 2, 2012

G-Cat and Pretzel

goin' home tomorrow.