Monday, December 31, 2007

Great Expectations

It is that time of year again when everyone is thinking about making resolutions, having goals and setting intentions. We all have great expectations for the coming year.

As each year comes to an end, I write my goals and expectations for the coming year in a journal. I always make long lists and set the bar high for myself, hoping that I will make great leaps of progress in all areas of my life that need improvement, or incorporating new things in my life that will help enhance my wellbeing and way of life.

I like to look back at last year’s goals and intentions to check my progress and I am always amazed at how much I have accomplished by just setting the intention.

That doesn’t mean that I accomplish everything I set out to do. But would I have accomplished as much as I did if I hadn’t set the bar so high? HMMM…good question. All I know is that if I have a long list of things to work on, it seems that more gets done than if I have a short list or no list at all.

Some things don’t get accomplished as desired, but there is always a lesson in it. By looking back, it helps me see the areas that need more work, it helps me see how to build on what I have already been working on and it helps me to set my intentions and goals and chart the course for the coming year.

Regardless of whether we want to be healthier, happier, wiser, more prosperous, or more physically fit; setting the bar higher rather than lower is a good thing. At least, it works for me.

Happy New Year!!!
I wish you peace, love and laughter
Gypsy Girl

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What a Difference a Day Makes

I had taken these pictures last week.

While I was practicing yoga I caught a glimpse, out of the corner of my eye, of something sparkling in the garden just outside my yoga room.

The sun was gleaming perfectly on the raindrops that has settled on the last of my herb garden...a sturdy sage plant. I love life's little gifts. And it's not unusual to get little glimpses of God's miracles from my all glass Yoga Sanctuary. What a pleasure it was to see my garden in repose with one last shining jewel. Some days it's a hawk soaring in the sky; others it might be my little chipmunk friend that joins me. Whatever it happens to be I like to savor the moment.

Just when we were bragging about how extended and lovely the summer and fall season had been WHAM!! We got winter. An early winter and some pretty wild weather, even for New England.

So I couldn't resist...I had to take a photo of the same scene, just a few short days later.


Gypsy Girl

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

World Yoga Practice Month-January 2008

"Practice and all is coming" Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Do you practice yoga? Would you like to step up your practice? Or maybe you would like to start a yoga practice, but don't know where to begin.

Well, January is World Yoga Practice Month. The idea is to commit to practice yoga every day for the month of January.

So join the ever growing community of yogis who are committing to practice yoga every day in January. Make some new friends, have some fun, and enjoy the healthy benefits of practicing yoga every day!!

You can learn more about it by clicking here . Or check out Yogamum's site...Yoga Gumbo for more information.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Can Kimchee fight the flu?

I heard they are giving free flu shots in my town this week. I have never had a flu shot and I don’t remember the last time I had a flu, or come to think of it; I don’t know if I’ve ever even had the flu.

A few years ago when SARS (bird flu), a highly contagious disease was sweeping Asia, Korea was relatively free of the deadly virus. The theory was that kimchee was the answer. Though not proven it was based on kimchee’s anti-bacterial effects. You can see the results of a study from scientists at Seoul National University (here).

My sister-in-law is Korean, so I have had the opportunity to enjoy this spicy and delicious dish, in all of it’s forms, for many years. And, I’ve learned a lot about kimchee from her, as well.

Kimchee is a daily staple food in the Korean diet. It is the Korean national dish and has long enjoyed the reputation of having wondrous curative powers.

Kimchee is made from chinese cabbage, which is brined in salt, other ingredients may or may not be added, such as garlic, ginger, spring onion and liberal amounts of hot chili pepper. It is then put in crocks and allowed to naturally ferment. It is this natural lactic-acid fermentation that creates the lactobacillus bacteria that is so beneficial to the immune system. And a strong immune system helps ward off viral infections.

So, to answer the question I asked “Can Kimchee help fight the flu?” I don’t know, but I am a big fan of staying away from Doctors, a big fan of using natural cures, a big fan of eating healthy, nutritious food AND, thanks to my sister-in-law, I am a big fan of kimchee. So, when I heard they were giving free flu shots, I declined….., I opted to make a batch of kimchee. I’d much rather eat kimchee than get a flu shot!

Stay healthy!!
Gypsy Girl

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Mad Hatter

My whole family loves to ski. So when the first snowflake fell everyone started to think about it. One night when the whole gang was together one of the grandkids requested that I make a ski hat with ear flaps for him...which was immediately followed by a chorus of "I want one"..."Me,too"..."Don't forget about me, Gram."... and on and on. So I was on a mission to make ski hats to suit them all.

I couldn't find a crochet pattern for a ski hat with ear flaps, but I was able to create one by improvising with a few patterns I found and a little creativity of my own.

A while ago, Lori over at Happiness Shared had recommended a website called Head Huggers. Take a look at Lori's lovely blog and also if you knit or crochet Head Huggers is a worthy organization to look at. They make hats for cancer patients that have lost their hair from chemotherapy.

I used the cap portion of one of those hats and then made my own earflaps and braids to finish it off. It's a great way to use up all the left over small balls of yarn from other projects that just aren't quite big enough to make something else with. Just create some nice multi-color stripe patterned ski hats.

I have been crocheting an endless stream of ski hats for everyone in the family. Some I have already given to them and others will be Christmas presents.

Here are just a few of the hats I've made this week

So, thank you Lori for posting about Head Huggers in you blog, along with the photos of the beautiful hats that you made. Because of it there will be much "happiness shared" with all the kids (big and small) in my family this ski season; when they all are enjoying their new ski hats.

Gypsy Girl

Monday, December 3, 2007

Toyland Salon

In our family it is always a cause for celebration with family and friends and yesterday was no exception. Our town had it’s annual Christmas Parade.
My daughter has a big colonial home on the main street of town and the parade passes right by, so it is a perfect place and a perfect occasion for a family gathering. Not that we needed an excuse. We are a large family and we all live in a small town and spend a lot of time with one another. In fact we can’t seem to do much without the input from each other.As you can see in the above photo, my grandkids have a birds eye view of the parade from their perch on the roof.

My niece Amelia has a hair salon in town and one night , about a month ago, at a family dinner she mentioned that she would like to have a float in the upcoming parade. We all jumped on the bandwagon, so to speak and gave our suggestions and ideas. We do nothing in a quiet and dignified manner in my family, so it was a loud and boisterous few hours of kibitzing, planning, shouting and howling with laughter and we had the whole thing figured out and we were off and running.
So, for the past few weeks it has like a whirlwind with every one including the kids making elf costumes, knitting scarves, crafting giant candy canes, gingerbread boys, all manner of decorations for the “Toyland Salon”.
Here are a few of our happy elves.
The float was constructed in my daughter’s barn several miles from the parade starting site. On the way to the site, 3 of the giant candy canes broke. It was pandemonium, to say the least. Everyone shouting orders, running for tools, trying to get things fixed, to get all the elves dressed and everything else in place. But everything turned out well.
Here's little Amber holding up one of the candy canes.

The weather was cold yesterday so by the end of the parade everyone was ready for some good warm comfort food at my daughter’s house and there was plenty more shouting and laughter rehashing the events of the day. It was all in great fun and Amelia's “Toyland Salon” won The Best Business Float Award.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mexico On My Mind

Everyone knows the game plan. We plan on spending 3 months of the winter in Mexico this year.

My kids are starting to be less surprised at my crazy adventures; my grandkids think I’m pretty cool and my husband is always tolerant (Thank God!!) and he may be just a little crazy too, because he always seems to go along with most of my crazy ideas.

I love Mexico and travel there as often as I can. So when people ask me “Why Mexico?”, I am never sure what to say. The “snowbirds” from the northeast generally go to Florida for the winter, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone ask them “Why Florida?”

I know that the ones that have to ask “Why Mexico?“ only know the border towns like Tijuana and Nogales or they are too familiar with resorts like the concrete jungle of Cancun and other resort areas; where the only Mexicans that they come in contact with are the maids that clean their rooms or those serving their food.
It’s another Mexico that I love so much. The wonderful colonial cities with their wide boulevards, central plazas and huge churches, the little fishing villages with their gravel streets and deserted beaches, the beautiful countryside, the majestic mountains.

But mostly the reason I keep going back is the Mexican people. They are so warm and friendly and family orientated. It’s a common every day sight to see 3 or sometimes 4 generations of a family strolling together or sitting together; just being together and enjoying each other’s company. They are a happy people, always smiling and laughing. And once you get to know them, you have a friend for life. Their loving ways and simplistic lifestyle is something that has been lost in America.

Even though I live in a small town in the country, the America that I grew up in is gone. It feels shameful to feel it and even more so to say it, but today, in America, we live a shallow life of materialism and junk food. We’ve lost sight of thinking for ourselves; our knowledge, our information and how we see world is limited to 15 second bytes on the nightly news. We are a warrior nation who has become disconnected with the simple value of just how precious life is. I have to wonder, where are we going from here? Have we lost our way? Will we survive…find our way back to some semblance of values? I hope so.

So when I am asked “Why Mexico?” , I just smile, shrug my shoulders, and say “Why not?”… all the while I’m dreaming of sitting in a tree lined plaza, listening to Mariachi music and watching the simple lifestyle of the Mexican people play itself out.
Gypsy Girl

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pamper Yourself

Some days my yoga practice leaves me with a few aches and kinks here and there, especially if I’ve pushed a little harder than I should have.
I’ve just discovered a simple and enjoyable, self indulging “treatment”, that is great after a good yoga practice or just about anytime you want to pamper yourself.

It’s a hot salt and soda aromatherapy bath that I found in the book Ultra-Prevention by Mark Liponis, MD and Mark Hyman, MD

Add one half to one cup of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) and one half to one cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to a hot bath. Add 10 drops of essential oil such as lavender, sandalwood or vanilla.

I added a few bubbles and wallah…a heavenly way to relax for 20 minutes while having the added benefits of relaxing your muscles, reducing tension, detoxing your body and sleeping much better.

Magnesium is often called the relaxation or anti-stress mineral because of it’s calming effect. It’s soothing properties, along with the alkaline-balancing effects of the baking soda, induce restful sleep.

Magnesium is also known to combat acids, toxins, gases and impurities in the body. The hot water draws the toxins out of the body to the skin’s surface and the magnesium sulfate absorbs through the skin and helps draw the toxins from the body.

Aromatherapy can induce relaxation hormones in the brain. The bubbles...well...they just add a little luxury.

Add a glass of heart healthy red wine, a few candles and soft music for ambience and you’ve got yourself a mini retreat. (And one that costs only pennies at that!!!)

I wish you peace, love and laughter,

Gypsy Girl

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Skinny Bitch

My daughter passed this book on to me this week knowing that I read everything I can get my hands on about health and nutrition.

It is not a book I would have picked up myself to read, but I am sure glad that I read it.

It is written in a bit of an off the wall, unorthodox style for my taste, yet I found it very entertaining, as well as informative. They use a “bad girl, skinny bitch” approach and some very strong and expressive language to get their point across.

And they do get their point across. The book really hits the nail on the head when it comes to exposing the food industry in the good old U S of A. And it has no mercy on the government agencies that are suppose to be protecting us from all the crap that is put in our food.

A very quick read and well worth it. That is if you have the stomach for reading about the cruelty to animals that takes place (trust me, it is very graphic), the horrific harmful additives to our foods, and all the evil doing of our lovely government agencies and the food industry that they are in bed with. The authors even go as far as to name names on who is taking pay offs in the form of campaign contributions, jobs, perks…you name it…they stop at nothing.

The book is informative about life style changes and making healthy choices and gives good information about eating the right stuff. They touch upon nutrition, vitamins, fasting and exercise. But mostly they tell us to WAKE UP and take the initiative of being responsible for our own health and well being. And to OPEN OUR EYES and see for ourselves what is going on with what we call food.

They list several great websites and there is an extensive list of books on health, well being and nutrition.

But mainly both authors are vegans and do a wonderful number on how the American public is being duped by the meat and dairy industries that are poisoning us while our government sits back and enjoys the perks and pay-offs.

Even if you are not vegetarian and have no desire to give up meat, it is definitely worth reading just to be informed on what’s really going on out there.

Gypsy Girl

Friday, November 2, 2007

Day of The Dead

My soul is full of whispered song;
My blindness is my sight;
The shadows that I feared so long
Are all alive with light.

~Alice Cary, Dying Hymn

The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.


Today, November 2, is my birthday. On my Catholic calendar it is All Soul’s Day.

In Mexico it marks one of the most anticipated and lively celebrations of the year…. El Día De Los Muertos or the Day of The Dead.

People have likened it to our Halloween. But it is entirely different. Halloween is meant to be scary and spooky. Although the name "Day of The Dead" sounds morbid and somber, it's purpose is to celebrate and rejoice and honor departed loved ones. And all across Mexico it is celebrated by fireworks, altar building, native dance, religious processions and all night cemetery vigils.

The Day of the Dead observances began in pre-Hispanic Mexico, and stemmed from the indigenous beliefs shared by the Aztecs, Mayans, and other ancient cultures. According to their ancient beliefs the souls of the deceased return to earth annually to visit living relatives and eat and drink with them. These ancient cultures all celebrated the return of the departed with festivals and fanfare.

Unlike the Spaniards, who viewed death as the end of life, the natives viewed it as a continuation. They embraced death. Today the Day of The Dead represents a blending of ancient pre Hispanic indigenous and Roman Catholic traditions and beliefs.

Families make special altars in their homes, as well as decorate the graves to honor the deceased loved ones. The altars and graves are elaborately decorated with all manner of offerings including: fresh marigolds, photos of the deceased, statues of saints, favorite foods of the deceased, special Day of the Dead bread, candles, and belongings of the deceased.

November 1, is the day to honor the deceased children, whose altars and gravesites include gifts of candies and toys.

Then on November 2 families gather at gravesites for an all night candle light vigil. They sit on picnic blankets and eat the favorite foods of loved ones. Some play music, some dance and sing, some don wooden skull masks called “calacas”. All to call home and honor the loved ones.

I’ve read a great deal about this special holiday. And, although I have not yet had the opportunity to experience this beautiful tradition in person, I get the feeling that the Mexicans may possibly have lifted a corner of the veil of death and glimpsed eternity.

Peace and Love
Gypsy Girl

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Spanish Lessons

I didn’t start studying Spanish until I was in my 40’s. It took me that long to realize that the rest of the world speaks several languages, while we Americans are struggling with one.

I had to go to a third world country to find that out. As I sat by the pool in my lounge chair I watched a little 4 year old boy from Venezuela talk to his mother in Spanish, turn around and talk to me in English and talk to someone else in Papamiento (the language of Aruba). That same evening I met an Aruban teacher who told me that they start to teach their children foreign languages in the home long before they go to school. And then in school, as a natural part of the curriculum, some classes are taught in English, Dutch, Spanish, French or Papamiento.

I thought ..”What’s wrong with this picture????” Are we living in the dark ages in the states???? Not only do we struggle with one language, we arrogantly expect the rest of the world to speak English for our convenience, even when we are in their country.

I took a Conversational Spanish class at a local community college with my husband and daughter. They dropped out after the first semester and I was on my own. I kept going back to classes off and on for a few years.
Then I joined a conversation group for a while and went on to private lessons.
So started my love affair with the Spanish language and all things Spanish and Latin American.

Learning a language can be fun and interesting. And studies show that because we create new brain cells and a new area in our brains to store our new language that it is a good way to keep ourselves mentally sharp and young. Woohoo!!!…nice added bonus.

After years of studying, I am now just about fluent in Spanish. I no longer take classes, but I keep the language alive by reading daily in Spanish and emailing my penpals from all over the Spanish speaking world. Anyone learning Spanish can try Lingolex. It is a English/Spanish language exchange. You can find penpals that are learning English and email each other correcting each others mistakes. It is wonderful to have friends all over the world and I have personally met 7 of my penpals from Spain, Argentina, Chile. I still keep in touch with most of them.
And of course, my favorite way to keep the language alive is traveling through Spanish speaking countries.

Hasta Luego
Gypsy Girl

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Peace, Tranquility and Nature

We have just returned from a great vacation on the Sea of Cortez. No TV, no phones, no internet…just peace, tranquility and nature!!

The house we rented was right on the Sea of Cortez, just steps from the water. It is not the tourist season yet in that area, so we enjoyed having the beach pretty much to ourselves. My sister and I walked for miles each morning collecting sea shells and enjoying the deserted beach.

In the evenings we were gifted with beautiful sunsets.
We made some Mexicans happy. Knowing that we would be staying next to some of the poorest barrios (neighborhoods) in the area, we bought toys to hand out to the children. And we collected children’s clothing from family and friends to give to the Mexican families in the area. Pictured are just a few new friends from the barrio.

I made one special friend who has stolen my heart. He is holding a special teddy bear that was sent to him from my little friend Cam, a second grader from New Hampshire. I had picked up some children’s clothing from his mother and at the last minute when I was about to drive out, Cam donated one of his favorite toys. Thank you Cam!! Your teddy has a new home and you have a friend for life in Mexico.

Mexico is always one of my favorite destinations. I love the Mexican people. They are so loving and friendly.

Hasta Luego
Gypsy Girl

Friday, October 12, 2007

On The Road Again

Well it's that time again. Time to get out the old traveling shoes.

This time we are off to the Sea of Cortez. That wonderful fishing mecca between Baja California and the west coast of Mexico. I personally won't do any fishing, but I am sure the "boys" will enjoy it.

I think I'll just soak up the sun, try a little yoga on the beach, watch some magnificent sunsets and practice some Spanish.

This will be a very special vacation, as we are traveling with my sister and her husband and my nephew(my brother's son). I haven't traveled with my sister for quite some time and this is the first time with my nephew.

So today is packing day and we are off to a real early start tomorrow at 3:45AM... YIKES!!!


Gypsy Girl

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Practicing Contentment

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey." Fitzhugh Mullan

"As a result of contentment, one gains supreme happiness" Yoga Sutra

Due to several small injuries in various places on this aging body, I have not been able to enjoy my daily yoga practice. It is has become one of the joys to go off into my own little yoga sanctuary each morning for a full power vinyasa practice then sit and meditate.

Then wham not one, not two, but three injuries in less than a few weeks and no yoga. I have to say it set me back for a bit.

But it has given me the opportunity to reflect on all the ways I have incorporated yoga into my daily routine.

The physical practice of yoga asana (postures) did not “find” me until long after I had been practicing Dhyana
(meditation) and mindfulness (or present moment awareness).

So after I got over my initial “whoo is me”… feeling sorry for myself, I sat and contemplated.

Svadhyaya (self study) helped me realize that Sauca (health and fitness) have always been part of my daily routine. And that I am a person who can adapt to any situation.

I realized that adapting and changing my form of exercise was in order. My job to find new ways turned out to be looking at old ways (pre-yoga that is). I dug out some of my old workout tapes and since aerobic won't work right now with the injuries I have, I found two great AB workouts…great for strengthening the core. And I can always use a flatter stomach and a stronger core….who among us couldn't.

Another bonus is that we have been experiencing unusually warm and sunny weather for this time of year in New England. So communing with nature was in order. I can’t put my shoes on to do my usual 4 mile walk. But I can walk barefoot, so I was able to go to the beach and walk barefoot in the sand for hours!! How cool is that!!!

So I’m practicing Santosa (contentment) these days and enjoying a little break for my regular routine. Maybe my injuries are just a way of telling me to slow down, smell the roses and be content.

Gypsy Girl

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

"The Road to Hell...."

I've had a bad few weeks with injuries that have slowed me down, and just when I was trying to step up my efforts in yoga practice and other healthy habits. First I hurt my back for the first time in my life, so I"ve been nursing that. Then a few days ago during a weight training session and strained my arm from over lifting. As if that wasn't enough, yesterday I stubbed my toe so bad that it split open and today my foot is black and blue and swollen.
All of this caused me some stress and the result was this journal entry that I wrote last night:

I read somewhere once that "The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions" Well, I think it could have some meaning to it. What exactly that meaning is I'm not quite sure.
Maybe it came from some Puritan text that wanted us to know that we'd surely go to hell if we couldn't follow through on the good works and deeds of going about the business of living. Living "upright" that is. Living disciplined, orderly, "just" lives. With all those intentions lined up and fulfilled. Delivered as promised. Without flaws. DO NOT BEND FOLD OR MUTILATE
We'd go to hell and all the evidence would be lying there for everyone to see. A road strewn with pitiful, glaring wrecks. The skeletons of our failed dreams and goals. Our unfinished
intentions a testament to our inability to fulfil our destiny, to claim our prize, to stand tall and say "Here I am"...."Look at me"..."I made it!"
But alas, we couldn't make the grade.

So today, when I had this cute message in an email, it put a smile on my face and made me think of how connected we really are. It came from a dear friend who lives in Florida, whom I hadn't communicated with in a while. She has a sixth sense and has always had an uncanny way of knowing me so well. Here is her message:


What's so poignant about this picture? ?Well, it shows a line of little girls holding hands facing the immensity of ocean waves. Alone they might be washed away, but together they stand strong. Thank you each for holding my hand somewhere along the way when I was facing a wave of my own. I hope you will reach for my hand when your own wave threatens.

All of us girls.. Old and young... Near and far...
Hold special memories of good times we've shared.

We've had our share of hard times when our friends were there to make us feel better.
We've shared... our hearts our time our secrets our fears our hopes and our dreams.
Let us never break the chain of friends!

I am only as strong as the caffeine I drink, the hair spray I use and the girlfriends I have. Here's to you! Why do we only have parties for each other when one of us gets married, pregnant, has a birthday, or retires? What would most of us do without our sisters, confidants, and shopping, lunching and traveling girlfriends? Let's celebrate each other for each other's sake!
Someone will always be prettier.

Someone will always be smarter.

Their house will be bigger.

They will drive a better car.

Their children will do better in school.

And their husband will fix more things around the house.

So let it go,

Be Happy! And love yourself and your circumstances.
Think about it. The prettiest woman in the world can have trouble in her heart. And the most highly favored woman on your job may be unable to have children. And the richest woman you know, she's got the car, the house, the clothes....might be lonely.
And the word says "If I have not Love, I have nothing."
Love who you are.
Look in the mirror in the morning and smile and say "I am too blessed to be stressed!"...I like that!
"Winners make things happen. Losers let things happen"
Be Blessed ladies and pass this on to encourage another woman.
"To the world you might be one person, But to one person you just might be the world".


I am so blessed to have such a beautiful and thoughtful friend. Thank you Cheryl!!
Gypsy Girl

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Peace Day Los Angeles-Thich Nhat Hanh Mindfulness walk!!

Check out this awesome post over at The Tattler about the peace walk and about Julian's personal experience walking with Thich Nhat Hanh.... I really wish I was there!!

I've wanted to meet Thich Nhat Hanh, but every time he is in my area, I miss him for one reason or another. I am really a big fan of his. I've read many of his wonderful books on peace, Buddhism and mindfulness and meditation .

Gypsy Girl

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Break Out Blogger Award

Gartenfische at De Die In Diem has honored me with the Break Out Blogger Award
The award is meant to “cast a spotlight on bloggers who are just beginning to draw lotsa attention — the equivalent of a song with a bullet on Billboard’s Top 100 chart. Lotsa good posts. Lotsa good buzz. These bloggers are going places in a hurry.”

Thank you Gartenfische, for the BOB Award. Coming from you makes it special. I am inspired and moved by your deeply spiritual, thought provoking blog. Keep those great post coming!!

Now, I’ll pass it along a young woman whom I admire, respect and love a great deal.

Brittany Mae is a “baby blogger” who is definitely “going places in a hurry”, not just with her blogging but in her life as well.

A college Freshman, who is a study abroad student. She dares to live her dreams. She is finding her wings as she travels this beautiful world we live in and finding her “voice” in her new blog.

She is an inspiration to her family, especially her 3 younger sisters. I am proud to count her not only as my granddaughter, but as one of my very best friends.

Gypsy Girl

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Apple Pciking Time

In New England, we are very lucky to have such a beautiful fall season when colors turn vibrant, the sky is bright blue, the air is cool and crisp, and the harvest is abundant.

For my family, our annual apple picking day is a very special event that marks the beginning of this beautiful season.

We are fortunate to have Cider Hill Farm close by(in a neighboring town). Our first stop is to make a visit to the huge barn full of delightful things to buy from fresh fruits and vegetables to homemade jams and jellies, fresh bread and pies and our favorite….hot off the press…fresh cider donuts.
The kids love to watch them roll off the press into the cinnamon sugar.

We buy them hot and steamy by the bagful. An irresistible treat for both kids and adults.

Then we are off for our walk through the orchards. Picking apples of so many different varieties, it’s hard to count them all. We sample them all as we move along up the hill to our favorite picnic spot, in the shade, right next to the peach orchards.
On the way back the kids usually opt to take the hayride down to the barn while the adults walk.

The farm also has a play are for the kids along with animal pens with chickens, goats and sheep that keeps the kids entertained.

Each year it is different. Our group can be more than 20 family members and friends or sometimes like today just a handful. But no matter how many or how few of us are there it is always a delightful, satisfying day.
May all your days be so beautiful
Gypsy girl

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Meditation and Mindfulness for Well Being

I just read a wonderful article about meditation and mindfulness in the Huffington Post that is worth a read. The article pointed out many health benefits from practicing meditation and mindfulness that I was not aware of, along with some benefits that I have already experienced.

I have been practicing meditation and mindfulness as part of my daily yoga practice for quite some time.

After sitting and meditating for just 20 minutes after my regular yoga practice, I find myself enjoying an inner calmness and sense of well being. And the feeling lasts throughout the day.

I also practice mindfulness or present moment awareness throughout the day(as often as I can remember to do so). It can be an instant de-stresser in even the most tense moments.

But more than that, when I stay in the present moment I enjoy life NOW at it’s fullest. I see things that normally will pass me by unnoticed when I am going at a hurried pace or worrying about something in the past or future which I have no control over.

Meditation and mindfulness are the part of my inner journey whose rewards bring a joyful presence to every moment of my day.

Gypsy girl

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Gift of Travel

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than the ones you do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

I have a Gypsy soul that loves to wander and a never endless desire to explore every corner of this beautiful earth we live on.

My husband and I travel as often as we can, just the two of us and sometimes with our family.

But I think my favorite vacations are when we take each of our grandchildren on a one-on-one vacation when they complete the eighth grade and again when they graduate from High School.

We love to instill in them the joy of traveling, an appreciation for the wonders of the world and the beauty of all the world’s people.

Today I received a letter from my granddaughter who is in a study abroad program in Limerick Ireland. She thanked us for inspiring her to travel and said if it wasn’t for us and the trips to Mexico and Spain that we took her on that she probably wouldn’t be studying abroad right now.

It warms my heart to see that she is experiencing the world with a great sense of wonder and delight…. Exploring…Dreaming…Discovering.

Happy Travels
Gypsy Girl

Friday, September 14, 2007

New Arrival

Meet Helene. She is the newest member of our extended family. She was born August 22 to our friends Janna and Sven in a small village in central Germany.

It just so happened I was in Germany at the time, planning to meet with her grandparents while in port on my Baltic Capital Cruise. But Helene had her own agenda and our dear friends Harald and Gudrun were gifted with a much more satisfying meeting….their first precious grandchild.

We became friends with the Rohde family when their other daughter Grit was Au Pair to our twin granddaughters. We’ve enjoyed several years of vacations and many happy times together.

The twins, now 11 years old, wanted to do something special for the new arrival so we started months ago, making this baby afghan.

It’s a great project for children or beginning knitters/crocheters. It is so much easier for them to finish small squares than one large blanket. And the kids like the competition of seeing who finishes their square first, which helps the project move along.

So as a joint effort the twins (with a little help from their Mom) knitted all the colorful squares, then I crocheted them together and added a lacey border and it's ready to send to our new friend.

Gyspy Girl

Monday, September 10, 2007

University Life

My oldest granddaughter started her first day of college today. She is taking the first semester of her Freshman year at the University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland. Check out her blog

At Freshman orientation which I attended with her, I heard that less than 2% of students study abroad. I was amazed at such a very low figure, so I checked into it a bit and found that some studies (related article) say it is closer to 1%.

The speaker said that these young adults were part of a unique and special group of people. But I didn't need a college professor to tell me that. I knew from the minute I set eyes on her just 18 short years ago that she was very unique and special.

She just sent me this great photo of her "dorm". This University doesn't have dormitories as we know them here in the States. None of those little cramped "cells" with 2 or 3 students crammed in and bathrooms down the hall.

The students live on campus in apartments. Each apartment has 6 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and living room. 3 female and 3 male students share the apartment. The guys share one bathroom, the girls share the other, and they all share the kitchen and living room.

The apartments are shared by international students from all over the world.

Sounds like quite an independent and interesting college lifestyle to me. What a wonderful way to get a young adult off and running to be an adventurous, independent citizen of this beautiful global community that we live in.

Gypsy Girl

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Matryoshka Dolls

My favorite souvenir that I brought home from my recent trip is the Matryoshka Doll. I brought home arm loads of them for all the little girls in the family and also for the not so little girls including myself.

The Matryoshka doll, sometimes called nesting or stacking dolls or Babushka dolls, happens to be the most popular souvenir from Russia.

Variations of the name Matryoshka, Matryona and Matriosha was a very common female name in Russia. The name comes from the Latin root mater and means mother.

The image of a Matryoshka doll is that of a portly and robust “mother” of a big peasant family. It is considered to be a symbol of motherhood and fertility. Hence, the “mother” doll with numerous “children” perfectly expresses the oldest symbol of human culture, Mother and Child.

The brightly painted wooden dolls with progressively smaller dolls nested inside one another are not only a delight to look at, but are fun to play with for kids of all ages.

And I did enjoy spending time playing with all the Matryoshkas that I brought home, before passing them out to the other little girls in the family.

Gypsy Girl

Friday, September 7, 2007

"There's No Place Like Home"

I’ve just returned from another phenomenal trip.

I must have been a gypsy in another lifetime or lived some kind of a nomad life, because I love traveling. I am constantly either on vacation or planning for the next travel adventure.

I am ready to pack up and go at a moments notice. Someone once joked that I should carry my toothbrush and passport with me at all times, just in case I might be passing an airport and get the urge to take a trip.

I love the excitement of meeting new people and learning about different cultures. I can walk for miles and miles just soaking up the architecture, museums, churches and landscapes that surrounds me.

I love to venture off the beaten path, savoring areas that most travelers never see. And sampling the foods of the world is always a delight. I don’t mean those fancy touristy restaurants. I’d much rather eat with the locals.

But no matter how delightful and fulfilling traveling can be, there is something special about coming home.

In The Wizard of Oz Dorothy sure had it right, because when I get home, the first thing I do is drop my bags and say “There‘s no place like home”.

I love that feeling of peace and tranquility that envelopes me like a warm blanket as I enter my home. When I walk into my kitchen, I love the faint lingering smell of herbs that I don’t notice when I am here every day.

And God do I love my own bed. What a joy! I can’t wait for my first night’s sleep in my bed. I am in dreamland as soon as I hit the pillow…..dreaming and scheming for my next vacation.

Happy Travels
Gypsy Girl

Thursday, August 16, 2007

On the Road Again

Well it is time to put on my traveling shoes again.

My husband got a brochure from a cruise line in the mail a few days ago. There was a 12 day cruise to the Baltic Capitals that he thought looked interesting. And even though it would be very short notice; he thought we should look into it..…He should know better than to tempt me like that!!

I made a mad dash to the phone and spent several hours with travel agents and airlines to make arrangements and we are off!!! We leave Monday. I almost don’t have time to pack. I love being impulsive and spontaneous!! And thankfully I am able to do it.

I will miss my 2 daughters birthdays while I am away and I have a birthday party to go to tomorrow for my granddaughter.

So I will be running around like a chicken with my head cut off for the next few days trying to buy birthday presents to give to my 2 daughters before I leave, go to my granddaughters birthday party and pack my bags. (And, packing for a cruise is a lot different than packing for just any vacation.) While doing all this I have to find some time to spend at the bookstore and on the computer learning about my ports of call and planning how I will spend my days in port.

So, before putting on my traveling shoes, I probably should find a pair of roller skates to get around faster and these things done.

Life is grand
Gypsy Girl

Monday, August 13, 2007


“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out
And to whom I was like to give offense
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.”

Robert Frost

I read this excerpt from Robert Frost’s Mending Wall, and it got me to thinking about my own relationship with walls, emotional ones as well as physical ones. They make me feel hemmed in.

In every house I’ve owned I’ve had my husband tear down walls to create more open spaces. Not just interior walls, but I also have him open up exterior walls and add huge windows to capture the views and let my spirit run free. Thankfully my husband knows a good bit about construction and is a very patient man who doesn’t mind catering to my crazy whims.

My yoga room is nearly all glass. The are no walls, just floor to ceiling windows, and doors of full length glass panels. And since I live high on a hill with no neighbors, I have all around views of my gardens and natural landscapes while I practice yoga.

I am often graced with a glimpse of a fox or a deer meandering by, or a red tail hawk soaring past my vision in the sky. My favorite friend is a little chipmunk who sits on top of a stonewall in my garden and watches me practice.

Sometimes when I am practicing asanas I catch him sitting up on his hind legs, looking like he is quietly watching. And on other days when I am meditating, all of a sudden his chirping will seep into my consciousness. He can chirp non stop. Once, during meditation, I counted his chirps up to 350, then he must have found something more interesting to do.

The absence of walls allows me to expand, commune and become one with nature. The earth and the sky become an intimate part of my yoga practice. And I find inner peace in outer landscapes.

Gypsy Girl

Thursday, August 9, 2007

"Four Things" Meme

Well, Gartenfische tagged me with this Four Things Meme. I have seen it on many blogs but wasn’t too sure what exactly it was. So I did a Google search on it. WOW, there are lots and lots of people doing it. So, I guess I’ll play along

1. Dry cleaning & laundry, pressing clothes
2. Clothing manufacturer, stitcher
3. Electronics Company, circuit board assembler
4. Real Estate business, owner

1. Scent of A Woman
2. My Cousin Vinnie
3. The Great Escape
4. The Sting

1. Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga
2. The Wisdom of Yoga
3. The Kite Runner
4. Meditations from The Mat

1. San Rafael, CA
2. Malden, MA
3. Plaistow, NH
4. Simsbury, CT

Sorry, don’t watch TV…brain drain

1. South America, all over
2. Mexico, all over
3. Europe, all over
4. Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

1. Most Arabic food
2. Sushi
3. Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey dinner
4. Maine lobster and Ipswich steamed clams

1. Huffington Post
2. Digg
3. Lingolex
4. ProBlogger

1. Traveling with my husband
2. On the beach with my family
3. Kripalu Center for Yoga and health
4. In my garden

1. Babsblog

2. Playin'TheEdge
3. Total-Health-Yoga
4. Asia's Prana Blog

Monday, August 6, 2007

Bad Hair Day

I don’t have bad hair days…I just have plain old BAD HAIR. It’s baby fine, very thin, mousy and very uncooperative. There’s not much one can do with this kind of hair. I have almost always stuck to a bob which can look limp and plain. And it gets pretty boring after years of the same style. I search through hairstyle books to find something that will work, but did you ever notice that they always use models with great hair…thick and luscious….the kind I only dream of.

Lucky for me I have a niece that is a hairdresser. Not just any hairdresser. She is a miracle worker. I always try to limit her to the bob for fear that anything else will be a disaster, and she has always reluctantly complied to my wishes.

But this time when I had my hair appointment, she told me she had been looking at my hair and thought she wanted to do something a little different. So I let go of my fear and sat back and let her do the thing that she does so well.
She decided to deepen the color and put a few foils in front for highlights.

Then came the cut. She was training a new girl, so she explained and showed how to create a stacked cut in the back and just how to work it in to blend the line with the front.

I watched as she worked her magic and transformed my limp mousy hair into a trendy hairstyle. I love it and so does everyone else. They keep telling me I look 10 years younger.

So today I am very happy!! Not only because I have a trendy new cut, but also because I’ve had the privilege of watching my niece grow from a little girl chopping away at all her Barbie dolls hair into a beautiful career woman living her dream of having her own salon.

Gypsy Girl

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Yoga On The Beach

My daughter rents a house at the beach each year, and our whole family enjoys great beach days together. It’s only 20 minutes from our home town. So it is an easy ride to the beach each day for those of us who drive back and forth. This year the beach weather has been excellent.

Most of the time my daughter has the beach house filled with any combination of kids…cousins…friends. It is great for us all because generally the whole family shows up at some time during the day. It makes for memorable summer vacations for the kids. (and us too!)

Yesterday I did my early morning yoga practice on the beach to the sound of the surf. It was great. My 4 youngest granddaughters opted to sleep in, instead of practicing yoga with Gram, but I did get them to strike a pose for me!! I love that I have introduced my grandkids to yoga at an early age. I don’t push them, I just let them participate if they want to. One of their favorite things to do is to look at the photos in Yoga Journal and try to do the pose.

Last year we spent 2 weeks on Waikiki Beach with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. My sister-in-law and I practiced yoga on the beach each day at just about sunrise. It was an awesome experience. Sun salutations while the sun was rising. After yoga practice we would walk along the beach for a few miles, then jump in the ocean for a swim. What a way to start your day!!!

Tomorrow morning my sister-in-law and I will be practicing yoga on the beach in front of my daughter’s beach house. Then we will walk a few miles along the beach before going for a morning swim.

If only summer could last a little longer.

Gypsy Girl

Monday, July 30, 2007

My Yoga Sanctuary

I have often heard it said that people find it difficult to practice yoga at home. I had practiced for 2 years in classes ranging from 5 to 35 people with several teachers. During that time I learned a lot about different styles of yoga from my many teachers. But something was missing that I couldn’t put my finger on....until I started practicing at home.

Since I have created a yoga sanctuary in my home; a sacred place for just myself and a few favorite things; my yoga practice has taken on a whole new life.

Yoga is so much more than the asanas (the poses). And through being alone with myself in the stillness that surrounds me, I find focus. Without distraction I hear each breath, I feel each stretch and I concentrate on deepening each pose, and playing with my edge.

Observing my body and breath in the silence of my asana practice turns my focus inward. So that when I finish the asanas I find it natural to move right into meditation and breath work , which sets the pace for mindful living all day long. My practice has expanded beyond the physical asanas and has become a never ending spiritual journey of self discovery.

Also, at home, with the great DVD’s that are available, I can practice with the best of the best yoga teachers (my favorites being Bryan Kest, Baron Baptiste and Shiva Rea).

But mostly what I have learned is that I am my own best teacher. Reaching deep into the heart and soul of yoga I find myself.

Gypsy Girl

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sweet Treasures

Blueberry season is here and I am delighted. Picking blueberries always evokes nostalgic memories of my childhood. We lived near fields of wild blueberries and would go with our grandmother to pick buckets of the little gems. My brothers and I would be eating them as fast as we picked them, knowing that any second our grandma (who we knew had eyes in the back of her head) would be calling "Don't be eating all those berries!"

Our grandma would make us blueberry muffins. We would eat them hot out of the oven with heaps of butter, while she was busy preserving the rest in jars that she would tuck away on shelves along the cellar stairway. And on cold winter nights she would unearth a few precious jars and we would enjoy one of her delicious blueberry pies.

I still enjoy picking blueberries. And today when I popped a few berries in my mouth while picking, I could almost here the rustle of my grandma's apron and my brothers tumbling among the bushes in one of there usual fight.

Now I have my own blueberries patch in my backyard, that my husband and I planted many years ago. So, I not only get to pick buckets of luscious blueberries, but I also get to unearth a few precious moments reminiscing about times when life was a little simpler.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Being More Responsible

I read a great article in the Huffington Post today which reminded me of just how careless I am about the environment, when it comes to plastic bags.

When l travel to other countries I almost always see people carrying their own canvas or straw bags for shopping.
I have even bought a few canvas bags and when I am traveling I am very conscious of using my own bags while shopping.

But at home, for some reason it is different. I sometimes remember to ask for paper bags, but more often than not, I am in a hurry and by the time I think to ask for paper, they've already started bagging in plastic, so rather than rock the boat, I allow them to continue.

Why is it that we Americans are the last to practice green habits.? Are we that lazy? Isn't it about time we caught up with the rest of the world and start consciously making a habit of thinking of the environment?

One small way that we can start being more responsible is: When we shop, ask for paper, instead of plastic bags. Or even better, we can start carrying our own environmentally conscious bag. I already have a few that I use when traveling, so I guess I'll just go dig them out and start using them today!

Think Green, it will put a smile on your face

Gypsy Girl

Monday, July 16, 2007


Today is DAY ONE of my diet. I’ve had many DAY ONES on my diets, as well as other disciplines.
DAY ONE is always so promising, so full of determination, sureness, optimism and faith.
On DAY ONE you know to the core of your being…This is it!…This time I am going to do it!
Whether it be quit smoking, lose 10 pounds, make a daily routine of jogging, exercising or practicing yoga…We know we’ll do it!!!

Then reality sets in, life plays it’s games, we waver…just one chocolate…one puff…
Our discipline is weakened, our goal doesn’t look so sure…
We justify, we tell ourselves little things…We are only human….Who cares….What does it matter anyways….Just one bite won’t kill us….

Who is this person that lives inside my head? Who is this one that sabotages my goals…shoots me in the foot?
Doesn’t she know that I’m striving for perfection…better health….stronger will? Why would she want me to be fat?…less healthy?…less fit?….
Doesn’t she know that she is me…I am her…we are it?

What is this game we play with ourselves?
Where does the sure, determined person go to, when the weak one steps in?
Who takes the optimism away?
What happens to the faith I had on DAY ONE?
Well, today is DAY ONE of my diet. And I know this time I’ll do it….AGAIN!!!

Gypsy Girl

Friday, July 13, 2007

Nova Scotia...A Seafood Lover's Paradise

If you like driving along coastline with dramatic ocean scenery, visiting quaint fishing villages and eating sensational seafood, you'll love Nova Scotia. We spent 6 days sampling seafood delicacies such as world famous Digby scallops, sumptuous seafood chowders chuck full of lobster, haddock, clams, shrimp and sweet Digby scallops, and all manner of baked, broiled and fried seafood.

Living in New England, we are spoiled when it comes to seafood, as we have some of the world's best. But I have to admit that we have nothing over Nova Scotia. They sure do seafood up right!! Especially the chowders. New England chowder usually has either fish or clams. In Nova Scotia they throw the whole ocean in!!!

Six days certainly isn't enough time to enjoy all the wonderful experiences that Nova Scotia has to offer, so we are already talking about our next visit.

Happy Travels
Gypsy Girl

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

As Easy As 1, 2, 3...???

Google Blogger set up tells you that in 3 easy steps you can set up a blog. Although that is true (even a computer illiterate like me did it that simply), what Google doesn't take into consideration is that there are those of us who will have a difficult time going beyond that.

Like myself, early baby boomers come from the generation that remembers the first black and white TVs. And even some other things that are oddities today, like iceboxes and outhouses. The world of computer technology, which comes so easily to the young kids today, is still a mystery to a great portion of the older generation. When I got my first computer I was afraid to touch the keys because I thought if I did something wrong I would blow the thing up. Just the thought of installing software gave me nightmares. I thought things would get all jumbled up inside and nothing would function.

So for me it is quite an accomplishment to have set up a blog so quickly. But, here is where the problem comes in. I look at other blogs and websites and they have lots of photos, links and other cool stuff. And I want all those bells and whistles that I haven't figured out how to do yet and may never figure out.

Road Trip

Right now I am about to put on my traveling shoes and head for Nova Scotia. So learning new computer skills will have to wait till I return. Bear with me, maybe I will figure out how to add some cool stuff for when I tell about my Nova Scotia experience.

Happy Travels
Gypsy Girl

Monday, July 2, 2007

Traveling Shoes


My first passion in life is my family. They’re not just my family, they also happen to be my best friends and we spend lots of time together.

My second passion is traveling. I am always either dreaming or scheming about traveling, planning my next trip or I have my traveling shoes on and I am exploring some far off place.

It’s a joy to travel with my family. But, more often than not, it’s just me and my husband traveling together. Our grandchildren put on long faces when they hear we are leaving for a trip. It causes them some anxiety if we say that it’s more than a few days. Isn’t it great to be loved so much?!!!

I love to study Spanish and I have many pen-pals and friends from Spanish-speaking countries, that I write to on a regular basis. It’s a fun way to learn a language.


It’s not always easy to keep in touch while traveling.
Instant messaging with the grandkids is great, but we’re not always on-line at the same time. Answering e-mails can be overwhelming when you have so many waiting to hear from you. And telephones are not always readily available. Forget about snail mail!! I am always home before my postcards arrive, IF they ever do arrive.


So I have created this blog to serve as a way to keep in touch with family, friends and pen-pals. And for anybody else who is interested in reading it.

I hope you enjoy!!
Gypsy Girl