BE STILL...and SEE Photography

Reflecting on who I am...what is important to me...and the gifts I offer the world, I have reorganized this PhotoSchmoozer blog into separate pages for your viewing. I am about so much...people - relationships - drums and rhythms and especially photography...and I realize that although separate, they are all so INTEGRATED into the Whole of who I am!! It's a very peaceful thought and I am thankful for the intuitive gift to see the connections and the relationships. Enjoy the journey through the blog...and WELCOME.
Contemplative photography is about being totally present and seeing exactly what is before you, without filters or judgment. It is about seeing with your heart.Doesn't everyone see what is before them? Not really. You may see a candle on a table. Do you also see the shadows it creates? Or the reflections that the light casts on it? Or it's underlying shape and form?

DRUMS, Rhythms and Relationships

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year 2011...Coming in Living Color!!

Here it comes in all of its glory!  Rather than waiting for 'the day' to arrive, I feel compelled to wish all of my friends and family a very special year to come!  We have been spending a lot of time visiting.  Now I think of the days when I lamented that I didn't know many people.  Now I am actually wishing for a quiet night/day HOME!  I know - be happy with whatever you have.  I am learning that.  While we are out and about, it offers me lots of time to think about the people we are with - to see who they are - both their strengths and their foibles AND to learn to ACCEPT them for who they are.  Last night we watched a movie - Four Last Songs - I would actually recommend it for a 'feel good' movie.  My interpretation?  It was all about a bunch of unhappy people filled with anger who learn again to love and forgive!!  This caused me to reflect on my life and to realize that I have been filled with bunches of anger/frustration about things in life - people who rejected me and the fact that we are not millionaires (I am not alone with that I am sure!!).  I think of all I have read over the years and wonder if the anger I feel is generational!?!?  OK ladies - TIME TO LET IT GO!!  2011 is to be a special year and if I enter it compelled to keep the protection on my body so I won't be hurt and vulnerable and continue to hold the anger there, well, will it really be a special year??  I am NOT going to make any specific resolutions here BUT to let go of the anger at self and others that has lasted waaaaaaaaaaaay too many years.  If people choose not to connect with me - it's sad for them to not be a part of the light and energy that I bring to the world - but the sadness is for them...NOT ME!!  Oh joy for the on with the challenges!  Enjoy each and every moment of every single day friends!!  YOU deserve it!!
PS: The glasses were at the Winterfest in Ocean City, MD when Annee and I went for our photo op with Santa!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bountiful Gifts...People, Places & Things!!

No doubt, my friends, it is all about GRATITUDE.  There are so many people, places and things to be grateful for - sometimes we think of the big things and forget the teeny tiny ones BUT somehow they all fit together to make the whole that is our precious life!!  A while back, one of my family members talked about my 'crappy mushy gushy stuff' and I just looked at her!?!  What kind of response did that judgmental statement really ask for?  Nothing but silence (and a few hurt feelings).  But putting those words aside, as I know myself more and more, I do know that I am emotional and sensitive and caring and compassionate.  If someone is uncomfortable with those ways about me, well, maybe it is sad for them.  I am striving to accepting them for the way they are - though it is so diametrically opposed to who I am!  It all goes back to the Suzy Toronto box I got for my birthday - same blood - different planets.  But I certainly do sound defensive and I truly want to share my gratitudes because they make my heart feel so much better.  We can start with the 'stuff' - the snow blower - grateful that we have it and that Jon bought it for Dad!!  Then the places - going out and about and being fortunate enough to appreciate the fluffy white snow (it will be gone by April to be sure!!).  A special gift was the sunset at the end of the day.  It was once again, Mother Nature at her finest.  What I am most grateful for though is the guy/s in my life!  I have two of them and they are rather wonderful - they strive to accept my emotionality and offer me love and caring that warms my heart to its core.  I just wish I had them in the same place to take a snowy day picture of them together!!  Someday...some way...until then - I am thankful for all that they bring to my life.  Sentimental?  Maybe so, but why not!?!  Love to everyone in my life and anticipation of the joy of the meetings that PhotoSchmoozer is yet to have with those not yet in her life.  A New Year is coming and doesn't that mean so many more adventures?!?   YEAH!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Anticipation Turns to Reality!!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear...NOT a little old driver so lively and quick but a gift from Mother Nature - falling snow and blustery winds that created amazing snowdrifts!!   Yes, I have to use the term gift, because in reality, though this storm is a liability for many who have to be out and about in it, when we stop to pause a minute and see the beauty, it is also a gift.  I understand that people are stranded.  We feel lucky that Rebecca's flight made it to Philadelphia before the storm the nex day closed the runways.  We feel sad that Allison and Joe and hundreds or thousands of others will not fly out to their anticipated destinations when they want to BUT we have to consider that they are warm and safe...even though disappointed or angry or whatever other emotions come to them.
Sometimes I worry with anticipation and in this case, I didn't worry about the blizzard to come ( I still drove to meet Mimi and deliver her drums and made it home before much accumulation) but knew that we would have to deal with the reality that we were given.  Now my challenge is to find something to fit the feet so I can help with the shoveling and digging us out.  Yeah for the new snowblower and the 4 wheel drive.  Be warm and safe my friends - and take a minute to reflect on the beauty of the scene.  Let's continue the Anticipation and think of the wonders that can come to us in 2011 - if we are awake and aware and filled with gratitude!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


It's almost 11 on the day after Christmas and the anticipation of snow and a white day after Christmas has been creating a tizzy in some people's minds.  I've stopped to think about how I am responding and it is with a sense of adventure that I am waiting to go out and see what Mother Nature brings us! 
What ran through my head as I was refecting on all of this activity was Carly Simon's song ANTICIPATION.  Here is a You Tube version for your enjoyment.  Yes, I do realize that the words are not totally appropriate to the weather situation, but the tune is one I like and the title is appropriate. 
Whatever you do, however you react and/or respond, just remember to be safe and comfortable and not take any additional risks beyond the ones that we live with daily just by waking up and venturing out.
I had a friend say this morning (as she cancelled our plans - I have to understand where she is coming from) that up until about the age of 32, she lived the life of Mary Poppins and travelled out and about.  Then reality set in and she had to settle for life in the responsible lane!  She's still had a lot of adventures though and impacted many people's lives!!  You can bet on that.
Screenshot of Julie Andrews from the trailer f...
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Then I stopped some more to think about myself...and my own sense of adventure.  Hmmm...I have been cross country twice - once in my car with three friends (1968) and then in an RV with Bill in 2001.  Oh it soooooooooo feels like time to go again, but maybe we will consider some train travel - across Canada to Vancouver?  Sounds like a plan in the making!!  I go out there and talk to whomever and PhotoSchmoozer discovers some fascinating stories from real people and that makes my life so much more special.  There are bunches of friends around that I wouldn't be lucky enough to have had I not taken the time to chat them up. So Mom, in answer to your judgmental question..."Why do you have to ask so many questions?  Why do you need to know so much?  Why do you always talk to people?"  It is the beauty of who I am!!  I have definitely learned to CELEBRATE ME!!   I am learning to celebrate all of you for who you are and your comfort levels and I totally appreciate all of you who allow me to be my AUTHENTIC SELF!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas to All...And to All a Good Night!!

The times have been of friends, family, fun and food - everything seems to be connected and now it is time for the peace of the evening after it is all over!!  Many years ago, I used to lament that we had no friends and no social activities.  Now, I am heard to lament, why don't we have any quiet time at home?  Gosh, can't a girl ever be satisfied?  There are tradeoffs and there is BALANCE and for it all we are grateful.

Every year in Pitman, the Hagerty family, takes their time, energy and caring to create a light show in their neighborhood right near Pitman Grove for people from towns around to come and see.  It is in the true spirit of the day.  The one display that was most fun for me and I want to share is Shrek, Fionna, Donkey and friends singing their version of the 12 days of Christmas.  I posted this on You Tube for all of you to enjoy as much as we did!  What else was there?  Well, I created a photo album on Facebook and that is where the Christmas pictures will stay.

Tonight Rebecca came home from England and we had a family celebration at a Chinese restaurant.  Jon (our son) is the food blogger so I would let him write the review if he were here and I will abstain, except to say that it was 'mighty mediocre' - dishes with lots of sauces/glop as I call it and totally NOT what my healthy eating/macrobiotic books say to indulge in.  That is over and it was a family timei and that is what it was all about - hugs, kisses, stories to create and others to share and just time together. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Compassion...Concern...and COLLABORATION

The title of the sculpture is not as important as its impact and message.(saw this at the  Copeland Sculpture Garden at the Delaware Art Museum.)  It had a personal impact on me because I have been working in the Early Childhood Field for more than 40 years and have always know that it is our responsibility to work together with a purpose of true collaboration to enhance the quality of services for children, families and the staff who serve them.  In the states where I live and work (and my guess is that they are not unique), the prevailing view is not always present but supplanted by selfish interests often driven by competition for dollars.  My question:  In these difficult economic times, wouldn't you think that true collaboration would be an imperative?  Wouldn't you think that talking to one another around the same table would be the norm?  It makes me sad to hear someone say, "I am not involved in ECE planning anymore and I wonder what happened?"  I have been seeing the few taking the power and believing that they know what is right for the masses WITHOUT TALKING TO THE PEOPLE!!   I am on the Board of the DAEYC - Delaware's state early childhood professional organization.  The system is in need of leadership and massive collaborative efforts.  Instead, I see a group of people who have started another ECE organization - a consortium as they call it - that to me (in my humble opinion) is divisive and won't bring people together for the common good.  What is the common good?  The photo I took the other day represents what I mean:  It is our RESPONSIBILITY to protect and advocate for our children, to respect one another and the families who bring us the children and to be unified in our voice for quality!  My husband often says that I am 'childlike" and I like that designation.  It doesn't mean that I act like a child, but it does mean that I still have the naive, innocent belief that everyone can play together well in the sandbox without throwing sand in each other's eyes.  Our children need us so that they can grow strong and confident and be the leaders that are there for us in our aging years!  What do you say folks...How about more conversation and collaboration - truly living the intent of the word?!?  It's a New Year coming and isn't that a time for real promises and follow through!?!?!  Think about it please...and peace to you!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Life is wonderful BUT sometimes technology can be challenging so, as I tried to get both sunset and sunrise in the same blog, alas, I felt challenged and decided that the sunrise, what greeted our day at the beach, had to get its own separate presentation.  It came first on this day...but the sunset came first on the journey of adventure the preceding afternoon, so go figure!!  Now, as I write this blog, I am looking out the window at full circle because here comes the sunset...again.  I love to think about Rhythms and Relationships and isn't our life a giant rhythm - patterns of repitition that bring us the peace of consistency!!

Sunrise...Sunset...Quickly Flow the Days

It's a rhythm of relationships and I could ask, which comes first the sunrise or the sunset?!?  Ponder that but don't go too deeply!!  For me the sunset was the magnificent gift that came first in this adventure.  I had been to the neurologist for what I will consider the final visit to doctors after so many months of seeing what is happening within.  Now I is the aging process at work in my body.  There is some wear and tear, some neuropathy that comes with weight and lack of exercise, but aside from that, I am HEALTHY and intend to be around for many years to come.  I have too much to see and do and life is worth living!!  So why the sunset first?  This is the gift I received on the drive down to Ocean City to visit with Annee and Santa.  I kept watching out the window as the sun did its thing - and the clouds were right there surrounding it.  Finally, I could wait no longer and I had to stop!!  Here is what I saw and for that, well, I can't say often enough how thankful I am for it!!  Then after wonderful conversations, perfect silences and some good food and drink, a great rest and the gift of the morning - sunrise over the ocean!!  I am thinking once again about the Relationship Recipe ingredients and this 24 hours brings me right to GRATITUDE: a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation; the state of being grateful.  Today I woke up remembering the feelings of the visit and felt a sense of peace for who I am and what is in my world.  I asked for this gift...and now that I have been still, I am able to receive it!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Savoring Traditions with a Special Friend

My special friend, Annee was gifted on her 40th birthday with an ocean front condo in Ocean City, MD.  I am gifted to have her as my friend and to get to spend time there with her to be at peace with one another and our very special friend the ocean!  Time does not matter when we are at the BareFoot condo - clocks don't exits.  Go to sleep when you are ready, wake up with the sunrise...or later...or earlier and just relax into life.  Not sure I could do it on a permanent basis, but for a few days, it is Heaven on Earth!!
Years back we went to see the lights at Ocean City's Winterfest and created a tradition- sitting on Santa's lap and riding the tram to see the light exhibit.   For a few years, Bill and I had surgeries that kept us close to home in December and unable to go see the lights and sit for our time with Santa. This year, we are back on the tradition setting trend and had out visit with Santa. Can you imagine doing his work for 11 years now from mid November until after Christmas?  Can you imagine sitting there night after night and talking to children while engaging them for photo ops?  For me, it is more about the joy and excitement on the children's faces as they are excited with Holiday Joy!!  Peace to the World!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Life is Really a Bunch of Berries!!!

The other night friend, Ann Marie, challenged me to look at my life as a lovely vacation -having the time to do what I wanted when I wanted it?!  Now, is that something that I am used to?  Relaxing, flowing, laughing and playing?  Well...those who know me most likely can answer that they see snippets of that BUT for this responsible individual, being purposeful is what it's all about!  The first thing she wondered - and I said I would try it - was how long we might sleep IF we did not set the alarm to wake up at 7 every day?  I accepted the challenge and actually slept 'til 7:45.  Since it felt like a nice thing to do - and I had no where to be early am, I tried it again today!  Today I pushed the bar and didn't wake up 'til 7:48!! 
Looking for some joy in my photography - and choosing to eat in a healthy way, I had berries with almond butter on a solid piece of sunflower bread.  My presentation and the choice of plate definitely went along with the relaxing playful frame of mind!!
Then Bill and I decided to play this way of life to the limit and went off to the DE Art Museum to see an exhibit by Marc Sijan .  He does the most incredible life life sculptures.  I took a video and here it is on You Tube!!  What fun!!
We have decided that there are definite pros to this life style, but we have to combine the flowing life with some more purposeful goals/activities as well.  Put on more drum heads yesterday and now have 7 to finish off.  Does this count as purposeful??  Or writing a curriculum to submit for approval for presentation at a Read Aloud conference in March? or???  Who knows and that is a big part of what the freedom of mind and PLAY can bring about.  BALANCE!!  Give it a go.  You too might like it!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Place of Belonging in Small Town USA

Meet Vic Martinson, all around ball of energy and the spark that got it all started!  As I sat and thought about the next Relationship Recipe Ingredient, I reflected back on yesterday...especially last night.  It was a cold and blustery day and I had a curriculum to write so I hunkered down and stayed in all day!  Late in the afternoon, I signed on to Facebook just to check out what was going on in that world and saw a post from the Bus Stop Music Cafe in Pitman, NJ, " since it was cold they had soups to warm you through and through. " What excited me about that?  The Hungarian mushroom soup - the split pea would have been a second!  I had been wanting that for my birthday party, but no luck, so why not go out and brave the weather for soup!!  Yes...and a favorite hot dog too!!  Am I digressing?  Of course not IF you can free associate and follow my chain of thought.  I immediately texted Ann Marie to see if she would be there.  A quick response, "Absolutely!!"  Off we went.  We walked in and it was warm and wonderful to be there...lots of people, music about to begin (it was open mike night) and well, just the right place for a cold Tuesday night.
So Martie/PhotoSchmoozer, get to the point.  What is the Ingredient connected here?? It is BELONGING.  I sometimes lament that I have lived in this town for more than 40 years and 'don't have friends'.  As I sat there last night, I had to reevaluate the word friend and the sense of belonging.  I commented to Bill that if someone wrote a play or maybe a short story about the Bus Stop, we would be 'regulars' there!  We do have friends and we do belong!  I searched my photo files to create a collage of the regulars - I won't name them now lest I leave some out.  You can be sure that next time I go back there, I will have the camera with me and I will bring home bunches of pictures of our friends.  Not next week though because it is full moon/winter solstice drumming at maryi's farm...and the opportunity to reflect on the friends there too.  Take the camera??  Of course!
So if I think about alll of this and you follow the Relationship Ingredients that I have been sharing, aside from belonging, which is important, we have already talked about communication, authenticity, laughter, patience and the biggie ACCEPTANCE.  I am learning to slow down and accept all of the people in my life for the unique individuals that they are and for the joy they can bring into my life...IF I allow them to!!  A heaert felt thanks to everyone who contributes to making each day special!!  Vic started the Bus Stop and the music...we all contribute to giving it life to continue!~!  YEAH US!!
PS - the next day was cold and blustery and different friends were waiting with warmth and more mushroom soup at the Bus Stop.  A perfect place for warm welcomes...again!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Memories...Treasured Past and Precious Present

Years ago I saw this wall hanging in Groff's Nursery in their Christmas House.  Early on I came to realize that fabric, color and texture interested me.  I thought about weaving, tried batik and silk painting, some crazy quilting and now ordered supplies for doing batik again. I just know that fabric of my own creation will look super cool on the drums we are making!! What does this picture have to do with any of that?!?  The connection is the cleaning and purging that Bill and I are doing to make the house more Wabi Sabi (Japanese term) and discovering what is most important to us.
The Japanese view of life embraced a simple aesthetic
that grew stronger as inessentials were
eliminated and trimmed away.
It is about making our surroundings more simple and truly being at peace learning to live with less.  Of course, I have to admit that this was not always the truth.   Now I think about the Relationship Recipe Ingregient of Understanding and know that I make my decisions based on understanding who I am and what works best for me.  The simplicity clears my mind and allows me to focus on what might be rather than on what I have!!  Nice.
Back to 1975 and Groff's Mill House at Christmas.  I went shopping for holiday gifts and saw this wall hanging.  It was more than we would spend on something, should I say impractical?  I took Bill back and showed it to him, and then, even though I WANTED it, it was not to be.  Imagine my total joy and surprise on Christmas morning (very early because Bill had to be at work on the early shift at WKBS where he was engineering for the TV station), when I came downstairs and there was the wall hanging just waiting for me. I was joyous and it has stayed with us for close to 40 years.  Hey could we take it on Antiques RoadShow??  They would talk about some wear from age.  As the years passed and the colors did not 'match' or something took its place, it got put in a safe place.  Today, while Bill was cleaning the cubby space at the top of the stairs to make a home for some of the drums we are making, there was the wall hanging.  Now it has been brought back to life and is hanging for us to see...and remember.  How sweet life can be when we can go back and think about all of the things we have done that have brought us joy and carry them forward into the present with a peaceful spirit!! 

Laughter...the Best Medicine!!

Today I woke up thinking about the next Relationship Recipe Ingredient to be shared.  It's LAUGHTERI decided to look in the PhotoSchmoozer archives and find something that would make me laugh!!  This you say?  Yes, I have a collection of Isiah's Magic Garden on South Street in Philadelphia and this made me laugh.  I could have shared dozens of others, but hey, this is it for today!!  Thanks you say for bringing a smile to your face.  No problem.  When we began the Key Ingredients training, we didn't even have laughter on the list but were quickly brought to task by a lively group who laughed about everything we did and asked why we had not included it!  Being concensus builders who can listen and make changes, we looked at one another and said, "WHY NOT?"  So laughtere it is.  Last month we did a training in Atlantic City and when we asked people to rank the ingredients, every single person independently chose Laughter as their first ingredient in their Relationship Recipe.
Now you ask, what is this banjo picking guy doing in this story about Laughter??  Ya know Kevin Bacon talks about 6 degrees of separation.  This guy has maybe less than that to make our connections.  In our town, Pitman, NJ,  is the Bus Stop Music Cafe.  One Saturday a month, there is a bluegrass jam and "Banjo Paul" is a picker in the group.  Nice guy - interesting- good conversation.  NOT all of the story and no direct connection to Laughter/humor...yet.  A few months later, Bill goes to one of his obligatory company 'fun' breakfasts - and who is the keynote speaker??  You guessed it - Banjo Paul.  For today though he is without the banjo and is introduced as Dr. Paul McGhee - expert on Laughter and Humor.  Oh my the coincidences are all around us in life.  Paul is know internationally for his research and writing on humor.  In fact, I told Allison about this synchronicity and she said that he had been the keynote speaker at the DAEYC conference a few years back!! 
Paul, in his book HUMOR: The Lighter Path to Resilience and Health, (c) 2010 Author House, writes about the connections between humor and resilience, humor and physical health and humor and the brain! 
He quotes Bertrand Russell:   "Laughter is the most inexpensive and most effective wonder drug.  Laughter is a universal medicine."
He tells us that Groucho Marx said; "A clown is like an aspirin, only he works twice as fast."
Remember Norman Cousins years ago - he wrote the book Laughter the Best Medicine.  When diagnozed with cancer, he checked himself out of the hospital and into a hotel and watched comedy movies that provided great belly laughs for days and days ...and he steadily improved!!  Shame on me for laughing at Bill when he likes this kind of stuff?!?!
I am sharing this because "THE HOLIDAYS" are upon us and I ask you to STOP and BE STILL and consider the stress that you are laying upon yourselves...spending $ you don't have to buy presents for people you don't even like??  Eating and drinking yourself into a stupor so you can beat yourself up for what you should have not done? 
Why not try stopping and looking around to see what you have to be grateful for??  I am cleaning and purging and sorting.  I have too much - many of us do - and still at times want something more because it is bright or pretty or we don't have it and it might be the perfect thing to make us happy.  The time feels right to gift friends and family with my treasures.  Sharing is caring.
If you think about it, we all wake up every day, put our feet on the ground and have the capacity to breeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeathe!!  Wonder of Wonders.  CELEBRATE LIFE!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

CELEBRATE the Artist and the Hippie and the Friend!

Today is December 12, 2010 and the anniversary of the birth of Susan Joy Fox Hirschman.  Let's celebrate this day of joy with her and wish her safe travels as she soon prepares to go to the sun in the Carribean to celebrate.  We first met when we started Sunday school when we werer 5 - you know how old I am...and Susan is 21 days younger, so the years are more than you can count on all of your fingers and toes. 
My gift for my friend - many Relationship Recipes that WORK!!  Over the years we have learned and grown from one another- our living learning laboratories for working on relationship issues - learning to listen and to value what is truly important in life - love, compassion a nd caring.  We have learned to be more listener than reactor and can only hope that our lessons learned can be passed on to those with whom we relate!!  We can be role models and have gentle conversations - whether or not we are heard has to do with the listener.  Whether or not there are changes also has to do with the perceptions and wishes of the listener.  Sometimes this is a challenging lesson.
You are doing well Susan Joy - let the relationship recipes continue!!
These are my birthday gifts and wishes for you today my friend!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Be Gracious and ACCEPT the Gifts of Life!!

Years ago, Bill and I set off for one of our adventures in our Cocoon, though a bigger version of the first 18' hi-lo we journeyed in for 90 days all over the US a few years before.  This time we decided on the Canadian Maritime provinces - New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI. How is this factoid related to a collage of shoes??  Look at the next to last row and the third picture in.  We were walking at the Lobster Festival in Sheddiac, New Brunswick and I saw a young girl walking toward me with MISMATCHED SHOELACES.  As my dream is always to go out into the world mismatched (still a challenge, even as an evolving free spirit), I stopped her and asked if I could take a picture of her shoes.  She gave me an amused and amazed look but said, "Sure".  There it all began.  In my collection now, I have over 1000 pictures of people and their shoes.  WHY?  and what does this have to do with ACCEPTANCE??  Everything on several levels.  First, when sister, Lisa, and I were in New England a few years back, I was taking pictures of shoes and bare feet and she started thinking how they represented diversity.  Then I got to the thought of Unity...and Diversity.  I realized that most everyone wore shoe coverings of some sort (or bare skin, sometimes adorned with gems and bangles) and that made us all the same in some way.  The differences came in what we wear and why we choose what we do.  Sometimes it is for comfort - sometimes for appearance - and maybe because they are the only ones we have?!?  So we must accept each person for his/her unique individuality of expression.
   Now take it a step further in my story about acceptance.  My feet were hurting - bunions and hammer toes and I decided to have surgery. (If I had it to do over again, maybe I would have opted for larger wider shoes and stopped at that!)  I found a surgeon, had the surgery and the resulting screws in my feet and then lived the healing process.  Two years later - the doctor said that everyone healed at individual rates - there is still numbness and lack of healing.  I am wondering now if there are severed tendons as a result of the operation.  A neurologist is helping me see where the neuropathy is coming from.  Might be the operation and might just be something with the nerves in the lower back.  Next week will offer more puzzle pieces in place as we review the results of the MRI on the lower back.  OK Martie - get to the point!!  ACCEPTANCE.  I have to learn that the doctor did the best he could, though not a perfect operation and IF the numbness comes from the surgery, maybe, just maybe, I will have to accept it and live with it.  Time will tell - and yes, it is all connected.  Fancy shoes for some...numb toes and wide plain shoes for others.  Gratitude that I have my feet and can walk - maybe slower, but I can do it and for this I am thankful!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Morning Motivator

How could I doubt the Extrinsic Motivation in my life when every morning in my mailbox arrives "The Morning Motivator" from Patty Savage in Montgomery County , Maryland!!

The quote today is so apropro of our latest conversations here at PhotoSchmoozer

My comment...
Just relax into it and Dance with Life!!

Easily Motivated...or Not?!?

Motivation - The definition of motivation is to give reason, incentive, enthusiasm, or interest that causes a specific action or certain behavior. Motivation is present in every life function. (I had to take a minute to stop and reflect on this!!)  Simple acts such as eating are motivated by hunger. Education is motivated by desire for knowledge. Motivators can be anything from reward to coercion.
There are two main kinds of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is internal. It occurs when people are compelled to do something out of pleasure, importance, or desire. Extrinsic motivation occurs when external factors compel the person to do something
I am still on the theme of making decisions and then being still to see what comes next?!?  I made my 'big decision' on Monday NOT to be externally motivated to be a part of a consulting project.  I know, the Relationship ingredient necessary for this choice is PATIENCE!!  Ask those closest to me and they will tell you that has not often been my strong suit, yet I am putting it in my internal motivation factor as a learning guide.
I woke up this morning with this collage picture in my head and had to share it - I thought of it as a representation of motivation - and I thought about it in terms of living life to the fulleset and creating whatever...Thanks Bob Reid for that reminder of choices. 
Go to the beach and you see a world ahead of you - sand, ocean, water and possibilities - like looking out to the horizon and not being able to see where it ends.  Then there are the possibilities of tools that can be used - in this case, buckets and shovels and shape makers my case - my creative thinking abilities, my ability to write, music and rhythm, love of people, and the belief that the world ia a 'perfect' place to be IF we just allow ourselves to stop and see what it is all about.  Today is another Internal motivation day as will be many, but I have my buddy close by and we travel life's path together.  Internal...external...what matters is that I am motivated to see what possibilities will come forth today...and everyday...and am grateful that I have the ability to stop and pay attention to the synchronicities!!
Another related thought - later...I decided today NOT to dress in the sweatshirt but to put on one of my colorful turtlenecks and a bright print scarf.  Today it offers a different feeling of optimism!!  YEAH for us.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What We Say...and How We Say it...Effective Communications

Today I made a decision that will have an impact on my life and I made it for the right reasons!!  What a freeing experience to go within, understand my strengths and what makes my spirit sing and then take action on what I know to be true.  I have turned down an opportunity BUT I know it is the right decision and as I close this door, others will open.  As I continue on the path of talking about Ingredients for Relationship Recipes, I know that the first relationship begins with SELF - if I don't understand myself, who I am and what matters to me, how can I possibly have relationships with all of these beautiful people in this collage? Can't do it effectively!  I won't begin to share who everyone is - maybe you know some of them - maybe some of them are in your life or your own family but they are all my friends and I value them.  Everyday I learn to value and affirm them in different ways.  Every day I have connections with some of them and while they may be challenging, we learn and grow from one another.
      Last week, I received my Shambala Sun magazine and inside the wrapper was a special treat - a free, yes FREE magazine called Mindful.  (write to them for your free copy - I did - or call Robin at 1-877-422-8404 x.16.  I mention this because one of the articles gave me pause and has guided my thinking toward my decision making and how I choose to communicate respectfully with those in my life.

     It's called STOP, WAIT, go.  I'll just share some opening points: "The hardest part of communicating well is knowing when to speak, when to be quiet, and when to wait and see."  The author, Susan Chapman, talks about practicing mindful communication and relates it to traffic signals:
    Red light:  notice when you've become defensive and close off.  Be careful.  Communicating in this zone can lead to difficult and painful reactions.
    Yellow light:  Pay atention to the limbo between open and closed (with babies we call this watch, ask and adapt)  Relax with the uncertainty.  Pause, reflect and linger there and let possibilities emerge.
   Green light:  when your state of mind is open, feel free to explore your connection with others.
It's never simple folks.  You know that.  Sometimes someone pisses you off and you want to be hurtful in return - to get in the last word and be right.  I am learning to say WHY and what will it really get me?  It will wound our relationship and possibly make another person feel less than ok.  Is that what relationships are all about?  I don't think so!!
   This is all about what matters to me and how I am choosing to live my life as a Free Spirit - it is an evolving process and gets a bit better every day as I find myself more in balance.  Join me and learn to Stop, Wait and then Go as the time is right.  You just might feel so much better!!
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Traffic light in Spain

Sunday, December 5, 2010

BEING AUTHENTIC...The Eyes Have it!!

Today I add to the ingredients list AUTHENTICITY.  I have chosen to add a collage I created during a photography workshop.  We were to do portraits of the individuals in the group and my idea of their portrait was to take a close up of their eye!!  To me, the eye is the entrance to the person's being.  In her book, LIFE LESSONS,  Elisabeth Kubler Ross, shared her thoughts on many subjects - authenticity being the first.  "Deep inside all of us, we know there is someone we were meant to be.  And we can feel when we're becoming that person."  She writes about 'finding richness and meaning in those things they already have and are, to dig deeper into the possibilities that are already there.  They have found the 'richness of every today for they have learned to listen to their heart.'  That can be true for each and every one of us.  At a recent training I attended, I was sharing my concern that I would go into a program as a consultant but NOT as ME!  I felt that I would have to give up my special something to be as I was expected to be.  WRONG!!  Who I am is what I bring to the experiences.  This led the group to a discussion about our need to be an authentic person in life and in our work because only then would we be effective in building relationships in the programs - the work we would be doing
Ponder authenticity and stop for a moment to reflect on the message that the "Bard" shared with us hundreds of years ago.
"This above all to thine own self be true
And it must follow as the night to the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man!"    LESSON LEARNED!!  AUTHENTICITY!!

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Saturday, December 4, 2010


Every recipe - every food we eat - whether basic with only one or two fresh veggies - or processed with way too much stuff added - has ingredients.  Then there are recipes and ingredients of a different kind.  "Sometimes we are fed not by food but by the energy in our lives .  These moments and feelings demonstrate that everything is food." J. Rosenthal (2008) Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health and Happiness.  Joshua calls this our Primary Food!!  He goes on to share this information with us, "The quality of relationships explains a lot about the quality of a person's life and his or her health.  Just as no one diet is right for everyone, no one way of relating works for everyone." (p. 145)
We have been training for DARE to AFFIRM: The Dance of Relationships (tm) and asking people what Nurturing Relationships look like for them.  We have developed, from multiple brainstorming sessions, a list of what we call the 16 Key Ingredients.  Gradually I am going to put each one of them - with a brief definition - up on the right column of this blog.  Then I will ask people to combine the ones that are important to them and create a Relationship Recipe.  Soon I will share some that we have gathered.  It's a different way to think about what matters most to each of us in building relationships - and also to realize that there is uniqueness in the ingredients in each relationship recipe - there is never a one size fits all.  We are all totally unique individuals and isn't that just totally special?!?!? 

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Building Relationships...Being a Friend...

Sometimes the challenge of having a friend...or being a the challenge of being still and nothingness.  When I talk about the key ingredients for relationship, I go right to TRUST, RESPECT and COMMUNICATION.  I have been reflecting on this a lot lately - the friend thing, I mean, and realize that it's also about acceptance and patience and allowing the other person to be who she is at any point in time.  For me, the most difficult challenge is expectations.  When a friend says, "I will call you tomorrow" and then never does...disappointment sets in and then I feel friendless - right - not a one in the world!!  I wonder, as we age, if the definition of friends changes and our needs for connection also change?!?  For a few years I have worked from home and have come to the realization that this is NOT for everyone.  How to remedy this?  Want to find someone to play with who has like interests and wants to explore and experiment along with me.  Want to find someone who will call me and say, "Hey let's go out and explore!"  Don't want to be that person most of the time - listening to people say, "Oh but you are such a busy person!?!"  How do they know this if they don't pick up the phone and try.  Maybe it is a fear of rejection on their part...Martie is so busy, she won't have time for me?  Maybe...don't we all go there at times?  It's cold and windy and cloudy and I am once again striving to stay away from the sugar - so all of that combined leads to too much thought.  Now it is time to take some action and move on!!  Maybe some drumming.  We completed four more this morning so I'll go and give them a try!  Stay warm!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Artists and Hippies...the Real US!!! Happy Birthday Girls!!

Sixty five years ago - 3 weeks apart - and unbeknownst to them, these two spirited individuals were born in parallel Universes that five years later brought them together when they began Sunday School.  They were Barbara Martie Wogan and Susan Joy Fox. Tah dah!!  In the early years, they played with friends and loved to ride their bikes around and about and build castles in the sand next to their beloved ocean in Wildwood, NJ.  Life's circumstances changed and somewhere in high school, they grew in different directions.  Barbara went off to Philadelphia to become an early childhood educator (and later became Martie) and Susan went off to Washington, D.C. to study Political science and march on the Mall - later becoming a clay artist.  Years ago, at a craft show in Philadelphia's Memorial Hall they remet and just sat on the floor and shared and talked.  Now many years later, they spent the day in Alexandria, VA visiting and catching up!  As they sat in the Fireside coffee shop, they met two 'girlfriends' from Harrisburg, PA who had know one another since third grade!  Cool.  Martie and Susan asked them to take their picture and spontaneously they said, "You two look like artists and hippies!"  Hey, that is an ultimate compliment and one to remembered for many more birthdays to come!! It brought joy to Martie and Susan's heart and will create a glow for many birthdays to come.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Spectacular Celebrations!! Martie turns 65!!

Spectacular Birthday Celebration with so many wonderful friends!!   My birthday was on a Sunday and full moon to boot so what better time to decide to throw myself a birthday celebration complete with the bestest friends (except for the ones who couldn't make it!) .  We gathered at the Bus Stop Music Cafe in beautiful Uptown Pitman, NJ for fun, food, hugs and just time together  the greatest gift that anyone can give to another - time and listening.  Mimi facilitated a drum and chanting circle and we all treid out the newly made drums.  Most everyone shared our connections and told stories of how we might have met.  Except for the sisters who have the longevity history, there are many long time keepers in the group as well as some short time friends who are also keepers!!  Everyone brought a flower stem and we created a magnificent Friendship Bouquet - for all of this I am grateful and say, without a doubt THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU!!!   

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ron is a Wonder and a Giving Spirit

For a few years now, Ron, the owner of Venice Eatery in Pitman, NJ, has been serving FREE Thanksgiving meals to those who need them.  This year is no different and well...let the preparations begin!!  We simply asked, "How can we help?"  Well Ron said that last year there were only a few of them to prep and they worked til after 1 am.  So we said we would come and help and bring along our friend Bernadette.  There were about 10 of us, including some young girls who were there to cut the pies and cakes into pieces, ready to be served.  Desiree, a wonder in herself, organizes the event and was working last night to get the delivery slips ready - see they are taking over 300 meals out to people as well!!  Although we came home totally sore and tired and realized that a career in the restaurant business is NOT for us, we also felt gratified at the small part we could play to make this work for people.  For this we are grateful and want to take a minute and wish everyone HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!  We so value all of you in our lives!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

And the Perfect Fall day...tah dah!!!

This is the last post for today because as I sit her and create these, I realize that it is almost two in the afternoon and the perfect Fall day that I am talking about is right outside my window and if I stay here, I will miss it totally - and now wouldn't that be a shame (since the rain is due to come for the next few days.)  I just wanted to take the time and show you a few pictures from Morris Arboretum - the giant Japanese bell, and the entrance to the giant bird's next with the blue robin's eggs, the suspended bridge and lots more wonderful parents and children out with us encouraging and FUN for the day.  OK...enjoy the glory and I am going to go and revel in same!!  PS: the woman in the upper left is Connie - the perfect person to be at the welcome wagon and share the facility and events with the public.  She is just gentle and charming and I know that I felt honored to have her focused time talking with me.  She is definitely a DARE to AFFIRM person!!  She makes everyone feel as if they are special!!

Fantastic Dad Encourages Exploration!!

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It was a perfect Fall day and we decided that outdoors would be the perfect place to spend it!!  We decided to go to Morris Arboretum in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia.  There is so much to share about the displays but first I want to focus on what matters bunches to PhotoSchmoozer - parents who are so involved and engaged with their children that it makes my heart sing and just about brings tears of joy to my eyes.  It happened so much this day, I was gratified.  I especially think about it because a few days before, I was in a clinic and sat as I watched a mother telling her not quite 2 year old NO NO NO to everything he said and/or wanted to do and if he did not stop, she was going to ground him!!  Today was totally different.  Every parent/child dyad was talking, teaching and learning from one another - really enjoying their time together.  I thought about the Hart and Risley study where they spent time over several years in different home/family environments watching and recording the language that children and their parents used.  By the time the child reached 3, there were vast differences - some of the children had a larger vocabulary than some of the parents in the study.  As I watched Chloe playing with the little stones, totally fascinated by them, I also watched her father who was fascinated by her exploration and even encouraged it!!  I engaged in conversation with him and made sure to affirm what a totally cool dad he was.  He didn't understand why because he said that is the way it is supposed to be!  I still thanked him and then asked her if I could take a picture of her hands with the stones.  Lovely...just as the world should be and I continue to stop, watch and affirm what I see that is working well.  Do you do the same?  It's the best way to encourage and/or impact interactions!!

Building a Better Mousetrap!!

mousetrapImage via Wikipedia
Remember the olden days when we could buy those wooden mousetraps with the metal piece that you set to catch the mouse.  It said to put in a bit of cheese, but we often found out that peanut butter and puffed wheat worked best, but no matter we got so many of the cute little critters (UGH) who came in from the cold to seek food!  Gosh we found droppings everywhere - in closets and even on the top of the refrigerator!!  Last week the adventure began anew as we went downstairs in the morning and saw signs that we had had some visitors on the kitchen counter, in the sink!! and even in a closet.  Since we have a new refrigerator that is a bit taller, there were none there.  We needed to put out a trap for this year.  Bill went off to his new favorite store, Lowes and came home with this amazing contraption.  Of course, peanut butter was still to be the food of choice!!  He put some in and set it down on the floor in a corner - within a few minutes, tally Bill 1; mouse 0!  Within an hour the score had risen to a score of 2 for Bill and you guessed it - another mouse that did not make it!!  Since then we have risen to a total of 4 - it's early in the season and Bill had filled in many cracks...this trap snaps hard and fast and I think the little bugger wouldn't have a chance to get the peanut feast out before he was no longer with us.  Hmmm I often say "he" but I wonder if it is the family so there are some females in the bunch too!!    I am thankful that there are traps and Bill is cool about disposing of the mice!!
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Watermelon crisp and sweet

I headed to Princeton to meet my super friend Lois - nutritionist, hypnotherapist and special all around person to plan a HealthRHYTHMS training at her offices right on the main street in downtown Princeton.  Being somewhat of an adventurer, I didn't bother with getting directions, but headed north.  I saw a few roads that looked like they led into the town and decided to go past them and see what was next.  I found a street called Harrison, I think.  I made one of the famous NJ jughandles and went off to see where I would end up.  I came to Nassau Street!!  Being directionally challenged, I decided to turn right and although it was a mistake to get me where I needed to go, as my buddy Jim, my synchronicity friend, would say, It was NOT by accident.  There on my left was a Natural Food/Health Store and it was amazing!  Sorry I can't remember the name better but Nassau and Harrison will get you in the neighborhood.  I saw so many things I had never seen before.  The one that fascinated me was the watermelon radish.  The clerk said it looked like a watermelon inside, but being a bit of a skeptic I had a tad bit of doubt.  So I bought some and it came home and sat on our kitchen table for a few days, until salad maker Bill cut it and put in on our salad.  AMAZING.  So crunchy and sweet too.  I checked out where we could get seeds, and even amazon sells them.  Maybe they are not so uncommon.  I was telling Jon about them (son in Tokyo) and as synchronicity would have it, he was out to lunch just the previous day and there they were on his salad!  Don't I love when all of these unplanned events just seem to happen!?  Keep your eyes open for them and you will be astounded!!

Monday, November 8, 2010


It was a cold and blustery day in early November and we decided to get in the car and go!! We had been talking about Punkin' Chunkin' for years and today was the day!!  I was fascinated by the people and their hats and how they dressed for the weather.  If you want to see lots more about it, go to YouTube and see the chunkin' machines to your heart's delight!!  Without a doubt it is a once in a life time experience!!  We are glad we took the jaunt to Bridgeville and the Wheatley Farm.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Reflections: Forward and Upward

Reflections are some of my favorite photo ops.  Walking around the the Independence Hall area in Philadelphia we saw this statue and the buildings refelcted in the window.  This got me to thinking about life...I thought about looking forward and looking upward. It's been challenging of late to consider letting go of the trapeze bar and just hanging out in the space, almost free falling until another bar comes along to latch on to!  HELP!!  It's about trust and belief and the wonder of life too.  I have been floating for a bit over a month now.  Yesterday a possible opportunity came to continue with the ECE field and well, I just don't know.  I did the interview and sent in the work plans and conflict resolution but as I said, I just don't know.  Today I was reading a new book by Marianne Williamson.  It is about Spirituality and weight loss.  What I took from it and then appliled to my current, 'just don't know' situation is this.  Dear God, I have done all that I need to do to move forward with this situation.  Now, I must let go and turn this over to you and believe that the right solution will be determined!!  It's all about reflecting and trusting and respecting my own values and what I want/need to work to bring joy to my spirit!!  Watch out world!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Exploring the City...Met a New Friend

Meet my new friend...what could we call him??  Senor Guillermo?!?  We walked into the Bourse building in Philadelphia on our adventure to discover and there he was to greet us, right after the security guard at the desk!  No, I don't think I noticed any similarities!  He was part of a display from the Mexican Cultural Center.  The Mexican consulate is located in the building

  The Mexican Cultural Center is honored to announce its annual "Ofrenda" (Spanish for offering) to commemorate the Day of the Dead. This year, Priscila Noemi Hernandez, an art student at Camden College is creating the Ofrenda at the Bourse Building on Friday, October 31. You can see the ofrenda from October 30th to November 3nd.
Reading the description on Wikipedia or other sites on the web will tell you much more about the celebrations than I ever could write here - so go for it!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Bill and I have decided that we will take advantage of these times together and head out to explore.  Today we went to the Philadelphia Visitor's Center right by Independence Hall.  We came home with oodles of brochures and places to check out.  Every week will be something new.  Now, when we were in the Bourse building, we stopped for a snack.  Cookies always suit!!  The cute thing I have always noticed about my guy (hey it is 40 years) is how he uses both hands to eat his food. Today was no different.  In one hand, a mediocre chocolate chip cookie; in the other hand a vegan healthy apricot/oatmeal snack.  He takes a bite from one, then the other and the dance goes on!!  And the winner is ???  He won't ever tell but I bet you can guess!!

Monday, November 1, 2010


A wireless walky talky thingy dingy.
ALMOST OBSOLETE!!               AND NOT!!!
Well everyday there are lessons to be learned!  Remember, I am always saying that?  It is TRUE and I have a story to tell you the makes it very real.  I have a cell phone - not a Blackberry or a Droid or anything fancy - just a plain old LG cell phone and I miss it!  What you say?  I just said I have a cell phone.  The challenge is that I often keep it in my pocket because I often keep it on vibrate.  That I did last Thursday when I was at a conference. As we were driving on Connecticut Avenue in DC to get to the Beltway, I decided it was a good time to call  Bill to tell him we were headed home.  Uh Oh?!?  Where is my cell phone?!?  NOT in my pocket and not on the floor of the car.  Meg asked if I wanted to go back to the hotel and look for it.  Nah, I won't find it and I can get another and recover my phone numbers now - NOT like the time I put the phone through a full washing machine cycle!!  So onward we go and I use her fancy one to call home.  No problem!  We got home in pretty good time and unpacked my bags (or so I thought!!)  After Meg drove off into the sunset, I asked Bill where he thought my suitcase might be.  It was NOT here!!  Turns out it was buried in the back of Meg's gigunda trunk!  And of course I didn't have my cell phone to call her cell phone to ask her to STOP so we could come and get it.  Gradually I called the hotel and the cell phone was there (it is still making its way back to NJ).  Then I had to go to Toms River,NJ to get the suitcase.  Not a simple ride and no cell phone.  I felt naked and lost.  I wanted to call Bill and share some things with way.  Now the real tragedy is that I found ONE pay phone booth in all of the travel distance between there and here.  I survived - stopped service for the cell phone and realized that I could access my phone list from the Internet.  See LESSONS LEARNED!!  
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Swiftly Swirling and Stupendous!

Usually I am the first to share that to really appreciate life in its infinite beauty, we have to take the time to stop and be still and totally be guided to take in what is all about us.
NOT TODAY!  Here's why!?!  Since I no longer work for ZTT and had to give up the phone with the unlimited long distance, well, it has been less than satisfying.  So I called Verizon to see what it would cost to add and finally, I talked to someone who made sense to me and offered me a package to install FIOS in the house (no, we have not opted for cable TV, but the phone and Internet) and I don't think there will be a day that we will regret having made this decision.  Besides that fact that the deal we got is terrific!  It's way less than our phone/Internet bill was and is basically close to locked in for two years.  So folks, though PhotoSchmoozer really does truly appreciate the value of being still and seeing, really seeing the beauty and gifts of the world around us, today I feel more like the ocean in this picture - churning and resting and just bubbly with excitement!  Then I sent a power point and it was done in seconds rather than minutes.  Now, isn't it time to consider uploading some stuff to You Tube?  Your bet.  Check out Photoschmoozer on You Tube.  I should be able to share a few really good music videos!!