Tuesday, June 30, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

Donovan, detail (1)

This past weekend I found a list I wrote on my birthday containing some of my all-time favorite things! 

Small towns.  Tan toes.  Art in nature.  Gardening success.  Rainy weekends.  Hard work.  Flip flop and sweatshirt weather.  Chocolate croissants.  Craigslist finds.  Stones.  Fall.  Guster. Freckles.  Fun co-workers.  The favorite part of a song you love.  Brunch.  Great shower pressure.  Shoes that don't give you blisters.  Winging it in the kitchen. Flatbread lemonade. Finding a friend.  Waking up before the alarm goes off.  Outfits that just work.  Board games. Cucumbers.  A deal at Goodwill.  The bridges in Rock Creek Park.  Memorable art exhibits. Old beat up Volvos. Treehouses.  Simplicity. BLTs. Cleaning the house. Ocean time.  When Emily tap dances. Cheese and crackers. Weekends away with friends. Gratitude. Laughing so hard you cry. Friends who know you best. The smell of gardenias.  Smooth ferry rides.  Skirts.  A quiet Tote Road run. Our third floor hideaway.  Magazines that inspire. Fleetwood Mac.  Walking around cities.  Yellow curry tofu. Philadelphia.  Days off.  Lists.  Ardha-chandrasana (Half-moon pose). Pemaquid.  The calm after a good cry.  Old photos.  Imagining karma diagramed. Homemade spaghetti sauce. Clementines.  White noise. When Jani calls me Schnucks.  Silly text messages. Kids that you meet and instantly can envision as really cool adults.  Fresh sheets.  Coming home.  

Tara Donovan Untitled (Styrofoam Cups)

What about you?  What are some of your favorite things?

(flickr photo credits: redxdress and TPapi)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hop on the bus!

Friday afternoon the forecast was ominous and we were back and forth about if we were going to bop out to Chebeague Island to visit Em and Stew for the night or stay in Portland for the night before heading into weekend plans.  We were back and forth on email.  Going.  Staying. Raining. Maybe. Maybe not.  Then we decided to go.  I think it was the mention of Dark and Stormies on the deck at the Inn that had O sold.  

We zipped out of work right a 5, to run home and pack, before parking the car in Yarmouth and catching the 6 o'clock bus that takes you to the ferry bound for "the rock".  

By 6:45 we were sitting on the deck, the rain had never come, the sky was dark in the distance, and the sun peeked through.  

After catching up and kicking back, we went inside for a delicious dinner, and were serenaded by a man playing piano/air trombone.  We drove home along the bumpy roads, Em and I in the back talking and laughing.  

We caught the 10am ferry on Saturday morning.  It was a quick trip, but so nice to be with our buddies and a great way to kick off the weekend.  

Friday, June 26, 2009


Yesterday was the first sunny day we'd seen in a while. After work, I had the chance to experiment with my new camera and photograph Bouba (my first moving, bouncing, babbling, crawling subject). Here are a few of this little guy.

Many thanks to this guy's parents for letting me snap some pics of their amazing kiddo! Happy weekend. May it be as relaxed as Bouba was on his mom's shoulders!

Celebrating 11,315 days on Earth...

Today is the birthday of someone super special in my life. Wishing this lovely lady a fantastic birthday.
Pretty soon she'll be heading west for Boulder. I get so sad when I think about it and overwhelmingly excited for her at the same time.

For years I lived directly below her in an apartment in Brookline. I miss those days of being so close, but thankfully we didn't take that time together for granted--it was the simple things that I loved so much: nightly tea, grocery shopping, weekend laundry, relaxing on the roof deck, and sitting in her room while she cleaned up or folded clothes. When I moved to Maine we made a deal that we would call each other whenever we wanted to...even if we only had a few minutes to talk. It's been a great part of this past year. The other day on the phone, I told her I was so sad that I hadn't thought of the theme "13 going on 30" last year for her birthday (and used the photo of her from her Bat Mitzvah in her custom made black velvet and pink satin dress with slouch socks). It would have been so appropriate...Jani's favorite show as a child was thirtysomething. Anyways...

Happy Birthday, Jani! Holding you deep in my heart on this--the day thirty-one years ago that you entered the world.

Here's to many (many!) more...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fair winds and following seas...

Last year O and I entered the "Your Piece of Maine" contest sponsored by the Maine Association of Realtors for a chance to win $20,000. We were one of the 8 videos that came in 3rd place and we won $1,000. Woot-woot!

Check out the video here...

We were just tallying up our bills from the home projects we've done so far...

building a retaining wall...

and fixing up our back yard (including laying a brick patio, setting up a compost pile, planting gardens, and jazzing up our back entryway)

Poof...our $1,000 is already gone! Oh, but we had such fun filming last Memorial Day and now we own tools I never thought possible. In the credits you'll notice we suggested Jedd move next...and he did. Hooray! Em and Stew..what do you think? You could be this happy!

Have you ever seen someone this happy south of the Pis-ca-ta-qua?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Flat tops and bananas

While walking to work the other day I had a thought.  How amazing would it be if this former barber shop, located in Portland's East End, became something really cool?

Only one thing came to mind...the Bluth Family could relocate and open a frozen banana stand! 

Could Portland handle it?  Just imagine...

What do you think?

If you aren't sold, keep brainstorming as to what this little hexagon could become.  Whatever it becomes, O and I would like first dibs on the Flat Tops $7.00 sign.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Twists and Turns

Lately I've been drawn to the twists and turns I find in nature. They are everywhere! It started on a walk through my favorite trail near our house with Emily. There are so many trees that have vines and bittersweet climbing up their trunks. Some of the trees have grown over the vines. Others have grown outward overtime, breaking free!

I love watching the sweet peas in our garden, as they used their tendrils to climb upward. It reminded me of rock climbing, securing your foot and then pushing off that grounded place, arms reaching up for a hand hold.

I love when the tendrils and vines curl around and around, like a telephone cord.

And check these guys out...holding on for dear life to whatever they can find and each other.

The morning glories in our backyard are unbelievable, growing so fast each day and twisting their way up the strings. They are so determined. Check out this incredible video. It gives a little hope for if and when things seem to be spinning out of control, that there might be something to grab on to.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday Salutations

Happy Summer! Sunday was the Summer Solstice. Jeopardy moment: Did you know solstice comes from the Latin words sun and to stand still? I just learned that on Sunday! Anyways, the Summer Solstice is a bittersweet day for me--it marks the longest day and shortest night of the year (hooray!), but it also means we've reached the peak of daylight and the days will start to get shorter again (ughhh). Every year in the depths of December I wonder if it ever got this dark this early in past years...it always seems to catch me off guard. I think it may be the beauty of being a Mainer...an innate winter amnesia when it comes to freezing cold days, shoveling snow, treacherous driving, and the darkness of winter. Ah, but with the right jacket, shovel, snow tires and attitude all is well and as it should be.

To celebrate summer and keep myself focused on being right here and not letting my mind wander off down chilly roads, I figured some yoga would do the trick. On the spring equinox I did 108 sun salutations and decided I was ready for another round to celebrate the first day of summer. To keep count, I used 36 colored pencils at the top of my yoga mat. They started in a pile on the left and each time I dove down into a forward fold I pushed one to the right. I went through the pile of pencils 3 times.

I found the summer series much harder than the spring series, especially in my arms when lowering down to knees, chest and chin. During the halfway point I kept thinking of my friend Tobi when she exclaims she's tired in French: Je suis fatigue!

I sensed my arms and legs differently than I usually do during the rest of the day...a sweet exhaustion and grateful fatigue! I went out for a walk around 4 and it was so refreshing, windy, warm, and the faintest bit of mist.

Here is my playlist from today.
Shambala by Beastie Boys
Irene by Caribou
Nomad by Niraj Chag
Clear Cut by Lali Puna
Un Simple Historie by Thievery Corporation
Namah Shivaya by Krishna Das
Dream Machine by Mark Farina
Soul Meets Body by Death Cab for Cutie
Postales by Federico Aubele
Inside by Moby
Midnight Feast by Mr. Scruff
En Focus by Quantic
Awake by Mungal & Nitin Sahwney
Exilio by Thievery Corporation
Window by Guster
Bliss by Phish

Followed by one heck of a savasana, which rolled right on into summer...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It makes my day...


It usually only happens after 3pm, which is coincidentally when I need it most. I'm lucky enough to sit within earshot of a co-worker with what may be the world's best laugh. I can't help but smile when I hear it. A few weeks ago she was traveling for work. It was quiet in the afternoon and it wasn't the same.

What keeps you going at work in the afternoon?

(photo credit: HandMaid Liset)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday never looked so good...

This winter we spent our Tuesday evenings on a bowling league with a bunch of friends. When the season ended we decided to keep the Tuesday fun rolling, so we started a summer Leisure Sports League. Each week we pick a place, an activity, a suggested outfit, and a Sportarian of the Week.

Past activities have included: bocce, donut golf, croquet, bowling, and Big Buck Hunter (on a rainy Tuesday). However, this week was our most impressive week. A quick trip to Wal-mart and we were ready to play horseshoes, granted they were plastic, in Portland's most underrated park. Courtney, League Commissioner, encouraged Western wear.

Last spring O and I attended a wedding in Tulsa, OK. The rehearsal dinner required some authentic garb, which made for some sweet photo ops on the mechanical bull. Additionally, I acquired some cowgirl boots this past fall in Nashville, so we were in luck and ready to ride.

Exhibit A:

Ah, but we were outwitted, outplayed and outdressed by The Todd...Exhibit B:

If you have to lose to someone, there couldn't be a nicer person. We tip our hats to you and eagerly await next Tuesday. Activity suggestions always accepted.

A writing challenge

Last August, upon moving to Portland, I had a month off before I started my new job.  I did a lot of writing about the the past six years living in Boston.  I typed around 30 pages and upon rereading it, I realized it sounded less like a journal entry and more like a novel. I have come back to the piece over the past nine months and now I have 63 pages.

A few weeks ago I read the first 25 pages to Jani. It was an experience to put it out there into the world and to hear my voice reading my words. It is a very rough draft that needs many more reads, but I am excited for that process. I gave myself the challenge of completing page 100 by August 31st.

A few years ago, I took a great writing class with the brilliant and ever-loving Kathryn Deputat, called Just Write. The class was based on Natalie Goldberg’s method of putting pen to paper and truly just writing. I found the class very valuable and I would highly recommend Kathryn as a teacher, if you have the chance. My favorite part of the class was the recall that would happen in the minutes after someone shared a piece of writing. It was simply people repeating back phrases that they remembered. There was no “I liked this part” or “I got confused when you said...”, rather it was hearing peers recall what you’d written and it was very powerful.

In reading aloud to Jani, I found myself simultaneously reading and recalling...Oh I recently used that word or that doesn’t read in the way that I’d hoped it would. I am working to find the balance of something that sounds equally as good when read out loud as when read silently in one’s head, which is something I hadn’t thought about much before.

My plan for my August 31st goal is to just write and get to 100 pages by the end of July/beginning of August.  Then I want to spend a few weeks working on sequencing, editing, and further plot and character development, before I push forward into the next chunk of writing.  

Some simple math says that’s less than a page a day (double spaced). Sounds doable! I’ll keep you posted.

(flickr photo credit: pensans)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Yoga Inspiration

I simply adore this video of Elena Brower before the yoga class she taught this spring at the MoMA.  The video was shot by Michael Rothman and the music is by The Cinematic Orchestra.

I had the pleasure of attending a workshop last year at Elena's studio, Virayoga. Words that come to mind are compassionate, humble, beautiful, peaceful, funny, and graceful.  If you enjoy yoga and find yourself in New York, you should treat yourself to one of her classes!  

Jani and I used to do yoga in my living room in the wee hours of the morning to the sound of Elena's voice.  I wish we lived close enough to still do that.  

I'm amazed that my yoga teacher training was almost a year ago.  My month in Philly was so special and a perfect transition between my life in Boston and my move to Maine.  The sweetest part of that month was my friend Caitlin, who graciously opened her home, baked delicious pies with me, and let me practice the things I'd learned each day on her...making her my first student.  

Lastly, I'm grateful to my Tuesday and Thursday yogis for challenging and inspiring me in our tight quarters.  Last week I experimented and played this during savasana.  The response was a unanimous thumbs up.  Well worth the $0.99 on iTunes.

To each of the people mentioned above, with deepest gratitude, I thank you for being my yoga inspirations. 

I hope it is sunny, breezy, and clear wherever you are in the world today!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

House Swap

This past weekend O and I did a house swap with his parents. They came down and lived the city life, while we got in touch with our inner lobsterman. Less than 10 minutes after we arrived we were ready to cash it in for the retired life on the coast. When we walked out on the patio we saw this weed-wacked into the lawn. A small gift from O's dad to his mom.

It was so nice to see throughout the weekend as a reminder of just how lucky we are--to both have parents that are still married, to be in one another's life, and to truly love where we were in that exact moment.

A trip to Pemaquid means one thing...a little dory! We enjoyed Saturday afternoon on the end of a pier with ginger ale, cranberry juice, lime juice and a mason jar.

I spent a better part of Saturday afternoon right here with a magazine, I had a chance to talk to Jani on the phone, and then I took the while to slow down and rest in the sun.

Just before sunset we took the dinghy out and about and left a little piece of love for T+D to find when they got home.

Sunday brought the kind of rain you could listen to for hours. We curled up in the living room with the Boston Globe, I with my tea and O with his coffee. I was still in my comfy clothes at 2 when his parents arrived back home!

When is the next swap? We're ready!

Here is to the start of something good...

To celebrate the blog launch, I made a vanilla Stoli & ginger ale with dinner, which reminds me of this day...

One of my favorite days here on earth.  If you haven't had a vanilla & ginger, I highly recommend it.  Best shared with lady friends!


Hello and welcome to my blog! There were months of going back and forth with trying to find just the right name.  With the help of many friends, we found a lot of great blog names...it's just that others found and claimed the names first.  And so it goes.  

This name was born from something I never even knew I say to O all the time.  I'll tell him about a great thing I read on "this blog I follow."  The other night he pointed this out to me and it stuck.  I like the various meanings.  The name gives credit to the blogs that inspire me and got me to this point.  It's hard to describe, but I also love way the name makes me think of following something and not knowing exactly where it will go.  We'll see!

I owe thanks to many people (some whom I've never met) who helped this blog come into being: O, Emily, Lauren, Jeanne, Jana, Abby, Naturally Nina, and SouleMama.  Thanks for your inspiration, patience, and ideas.

With gratitude,
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