Sunday, January 18, 2015

Movie night at the Ruiters...

Art...has a fundamental role to play in the evolution of community since artistic form is not simply the ornament of society but is an important measurement of the progress made in reaching the ideal. The creation of models of profound beauty have, by their very order, educative effect; art becomes in time a common experience of unity in the culture of a whole population. Otto Donald Rogers

Fifth Element
Life of Brian
Malcolm X
Good Night Good Luck
Julie & Julia

Introducing our kids to films that we love, been impacted by and helped shape our understanding our the community at large is SO FUN. To watch their reactions, their laughter, their understanding of the jokes, and to come away with a new view of the world is such an experience. As my kids get older (now 10 and 13) I am struck by their view of the world. And even though they see much of it based on our world view, they are more buoyant- energetic and full of MORE potential that we ever had.

For example, my daughter sees the world through LeLu's eyes (reference to 5th element) and wants to make a change so her world can be safe than it is now, and more environmentally sound. She is dedicating her life to planet earth and aims to be a scientist/engineer to do something about it. Likewise, understanding the civil rights movement from the past shows her the origins of the breakdown of the issues facing the 21st century. It is a history that repeats itself but for hearts that want to change the world for the better.

My son notices the music behind the stories, and wants to tell his own. He is moved by the energy of the films, the impact of laughter, the development of the arc and how music in particular plays a significant part of the plot building and emotion that cannot be replicated without it. He also is convinced that the red pill is the only way to go... (reference to Matrix for those of you who haven't seen it, and fyi see it!!) He finally also realized that cooking art is a joy that can be built upon even the most mundane of meals into something beautiful, creative and fun.

We all laughed out loud with Life of Brian - which was a film I never saw. How can I refuse after my kids had the patience to see a film from 1979 without any complaints and with rapt attention. Despite not having CGI, effects, or sci fi story lines, the movie makes a great statement of group behavior rendering the lessons learned about individual critical thinking lasting and effective.

The family's impact is price less. I look forward to more.

Monday, December 22, 2014

10 years is a long time....

10 years ago I needed a change. I was in between jobs temporarily providing legal services at Bear Sterns as legal counsel in the IP department while seeking a new place of employment. During my quest, I was diligent, finding jobs on the Internet, posting a letter plus resume and sending them regularly at least once a week for a few months. I was trying to 'find' that right opportunity but often waited for a reply to see which one would seem to 'pick' me.

One day as I was reflecting on my process, I decided to give meditation a try and came to a very interesting conclusion. During my quiet moments, I came to a lake side neighborhood that I used to live in where my father and I would often walk around the lakes after dinner and talk while he would smoke his cigar. He died during my 1st year of law school and I miss him all the time. But at this moment, I could feel his presence and kind eyes asking him a question and really just clarifying the dilemma I was facing.

"What do you want? Name 5 things that are important to YOU in a job. Don't let one pick you, let the right one come to you"

I'm not sure what happens during meditation except time and logic seem to fall away. At that moment I thought really hard to find out what were the essential keys that I was looking for? The next few ideas that landed shaped my requirements for the job that I was looking for.

Culture - because working in a place that was 'un' progressive, stagnant and too slow was not aligned to my type of energy and I realized I needed something that made sense on an everyday level.

Flexibility - I had two young children, a baby and a 4 year old I was not going to leave them and be away 15 hours a day. At the time Bear Sterns was requiring me to do this and it was really untenable. I felt like I was in Boot camp in NY living with crazy early hours and not getting home until late. I was NOT interested in this type of work cycle.

Well Paid - this was important because for a few years I took a big pay cut to justify a calmer work life balance and realized that the ultimate job that I knew I could do would be more high paced, exciting and passionate in every way, so I set my sights on something better.

Challenging Work- legal is my passion, it is not a job. I cannot be in a work environment where my 9-5 is clocking in and out working through the legal side of things and going home. I crave excitement, newness and love to exercise my creativity in my work. I know that not being challenging would dry my energy right up.

Objectivity- forming legal judgment requires honesty, accuracy and well analyzed though process that cleanly identifies the issues. Once you form a view point, there should be no 'pulling back' or 'changing up' the view simply because "they" are in the room. I experienced a job where I had to be very careful who I said what to, and without reason or justification my approach would need to change because of a political gain. I cannot be a face for hire that changes on whims of political or personal gain. I promise my best work in a well reasoned way and through time one learns how to use wisdom and tact to carry the information forward to the audience but it should not be pushed nor reshaped for personal gain.

These were the 5 for me...and they still hold true 10 years later. As I reflect on these ares, I find maybe one or two of them could be at risk and it makes me realize that being true to myself is as important now as it was then. No matter how far I have come in last 10 years in my current role and company, it is still essential to reflect again see what

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Another year

Happy 2012! As my daughter Isabella described it, the planet went around the sun for the 2012 year...that made me smile somehow. I am ready- refreshed and excited to welcome this year's adventures, challenges and path. I find it very calming that this year - as the eve passed, and Pieter and I spent a great dinner with friends talking and catching up- we took some time late from 1AM till about 3AM talking and catching up on where we are on our path, and it was pretty cool.

You see, back in 1994 when I first met Pieter, it was the beginning of an honest, open all-in friendship which began by the questions of 'why are we here' and more importantly, 'why do we do what we do' - though this is a very short version of the discussions we had when we first met, it basically captures the gist. That is to say, we both separately before we met went through some experiences in life that made us think hard about what we should do with our lives. This was interesting to find out- separately since we didn't know each other and found later when we did meet, that these thoughts of conceptual 'why' questions were hard to discuss with our peers at the time. Not very many law students were really interested in those questions; nor was I able to connect with people who understood that asking questions was in fact relevant.

In retrospect, I believe that both of us were faced with tough circumstances at a young age, and that perhaps our notion of 'truth' and understanding 'reality' was really important. Otherwise, why continue in the face of great difficulty? Perhaps it is easy to ignore big questions, or to avoid them, because of what we are afraid will result. But at the time, at least for myself, the fear was in not knowing.

As it happened, both of us- independently but in parallel found that the Baha'i Faith presented answers to many of our questions- and after research (2 years by me, and intensely for 6 months for Pieter) we realized that the path best suited for our lives was a journey of learning and of service- no matter the challenge or the difficulties that beset us. Moreover, on that path, laden within the Writings and guidelines and explanations, lies the core underlying structure of how to be. The Baha'i Faith presented a new paradigm of understanding humanity- For the first time, the unfolding of a greater story became relevant, one that required a new understanding of people, the purpose of religion and the steps to get us towards our best selves.

I met Pieter and there I found most unexpectedly- a person who could not only understand me, but someone who knew why I was inspired to do what I could do, and someone who respected that path for himself as much as I had for myself- if not more. At the same time, I found a companion who enjoyed 80's music, gourmet food, and exploring cities endlessly through the wee hours...what an unlikely but delightful discovery!

We were married 9 months later, and have been for the past 17 years and in the middle of it all, we have had a wonderful experience on our journey, were blessed with 2 kids, learned a great deal about service, friendships, challenges in legal/corporate worlds, the endless learnings of parenthood, love, and companionship. Its been a journey though not easy, that I constantly feel thankful for...

So this past new year's eve, after our friends departed, we had another great talk about where we were, how it all fits and where we plan on going. It was a re calibration and steady balance that we know where we need to be and will take the journey together- but also independently side by side.

To another year- an adventure, and to life ; )

Friday, December 16, 2011

The greatest moments of the week

Its been a very crazy couple of weeks- traveling to Long Island, Manhattan, Boston and TX over the last month plus long working hours can keep my schedule running beyond my control. However, its really good to keep in mind a few special moments that make 30 minutes the best moment of my day. Today for example was a delightful morning where i assisted Alec in the construction of his Gingerbread (okay, graham cracker) house with the rest of the 1st graders at his school this morning.

I was ready to be 'hands off" and only helped where he needed me to, i.e. cutting up the crackers, the candy canes and sticking frosting on the marshmallows. It was fun- a collaboration made in Candy Land and it was cool to be there. (Not sure how good it will taste, but the eating is not in this case the objective I think)

This leads me to reflect on what makes us really happy inside, I've had amazing experiences at work over the past several months while our company is in the process of a culture change and has stimulated everyone to try to think outside the box. I am inspired by these changes and believe there are some very good outcomes that can and will come from it, but only if we stay focused and keep our visions in tact. So- overall when i think of work, I am on a positive and learning journey.

What makes me happiest however are moments with the family and where I personally can just be Mom and hang out with my kids. I may have a crazy schedule at work that makes me think across solutions and complex issues, but standing by the bus and waiting with my son before he goes to school, or reading to my daughter a novel at night that is more compelling than a John Grisham read are clearly the best moments that feed my heart & soul ; ) Looking forward to more...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Getting ready for ski time this winter

Skiing- the ultimate active family, expensive prep, but incredibly satisfying sport...

After going on our 1st true ski vacation this January in Stowe, Vermont our family was hooked to make this a normal part of our winter routine going forward. Though I remain the most timid- I am learning to love a sport that requires you to truly let go in the moment and just enjoy. This remains a sport that is still a little scary for me personally, but when I can let go and feel the snow pass under me, and speed down the mountain, its exhilarating. ; )

So in order to prepare for this coming winter, we have checked out various options to ski 'locally' i.e. 90 minutes or less away from our house to ski during the weekends this winter.

We traveled to Camelback area yesterday to check out the base camp and took about 60 minutes to discuss various coupon options with the kind helper behind the desk. We also booked a locker...which is a long story but suffice it to say, having a private locker where you can sit and properly change into your ski boots without being pushed aside or squeezed into a tiny bench while your kids take turns sitting is essential for a comfortable ski experience. Other issues or topics? Making sure we have as many decent beginner and intermediate trails as possible; AND verifying that ski lessons are well instructed, organized and flexible. Each of these thus far were confirmed so we expect at least 5-6 trips to Camelback (or more) this winter.

My only wish that seems to be hard to satisfy- is having a ski on ski off lodge area near by that is very comfortable, and a place where snow boarders are few and far between. My only concern on this issue is that they can go very fast and while enjoying the skiing down hill, it can be quite disconcerting to have a snow boarder run right past you at high speeds. I am hoping this season has more nice snow and less of the boards!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Back in 2011

Hi there bloggers- its been a while, but I have again thought and believe that I should write once more. It is a Saturday afternoon and I am about to cook some spaghetti sauce for the family- we are waiting for a potential car buyer and our pool has been recently installed in our backyard (20x40)...

Through all this, and while working a job that takes me way more hours than I'd like to admit, I find less & less time to write more than my typical Facebook entry.

But now I am making a goal to write once a week on life's path- so I can track the days as time goes so fast on love-kids-family-work and the things we learn along the way.

Looking forward to it!

Friday, September 03, 2010

its been a long time

Hi blogger world- its been a long time since I have written on this Mystic Logic. I find that life has swept me up in experiences that are hard to describe especially in the Facebook world we live in. It all comes down to 3-4 sentences. Thats it. Random quotes, suggested poems, ideas and wishes are what I write now-

I wonder.

Maybe its time to write again. My life has changed a bit since last year. We came back from France and my job changed twice- in the same company but different responsibilities. I have learned so much about challenges at work- but the best thing that happened this year only happened a few months ago.


Thanks to my insightful husband, who has tried to urge me to get back into singing over the past 2 years, it finally worked. I never knew that music and singing meant so much to me- but now I do. It hard to describe how the creative side can overwhelm every other side of our mind, physicality and intellect. My spirit becomes alive- and music just happens. I sing now at least 2-3 times a week in our new 'music studio' which Pieter and I created and retrofitted our guest room (though we made a new guest room upstairs)

So whether its Dee Lite, Sarah, Alphawezen, Sade or Norah Jones- I sing and my voice and everything else gets real happy. Who knew? Oh yeah, Pieter did. : )

There is in souls a sympathy with sounds:
And as the mind is pitch'd the ear is pleased
With melting airs, or martial, brisk or grave;
Some chord in unison with what we hear
Is touch'd within us, and the heart replies.
~William Cowper

Friday, September 25, 2009

Transported to Once.

I am sitting here on a Friday night, working on legal analysis for work, and have finished with a feeling that I need to hear music. Typically when I am home, i will work out (which I have done straight for the last 8 days and really needed a break); or catch some TV to chill and wind down my hectic thoughts. Tonight, I was inspired to watch the movie Once (again) and just listen to the music and to sing, in a mesmerized way connecting with the notes, the feelings and the sound. Somehow this inspires me to a place where dancing or singing out loud is expected; -where the spirit soars and music helps me get there. It is in these times where I feel I was made to sing and should do so.
I will just stay in this moment for a while, just this Once.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Remembering how to say I love you in Montmartre

On Saturday, we headed to Montmartre, with Mary-Ellen the same nice woman who had taken us on the Chocolate tour on Wednesday. She was very kind to actually plan a little respite in a playground especially for the kids in the middle of our tour as well as bringing some biscuits with chocolate as a treat for them. Very thoughtful--
As soon as I walked along the stony paths-through cafes, art galleries and lovely patisseries, I felt at home. This was a place where part of the Bohemian Paris was born- a place where Toulouse Lautrec immortalized the ladies of the cabarets and where writers, singers and artists alike spent their time creating future historical spots all through the neighborhood (Van Gogh and his brother Theo, Salvatore Dali, the Egyptian Italian singer Dalida who led a famous life but ended tragically etc.) This was also the place of the lovely film Amelie--could I say more?

Of course, to top it off, our 1st site was the wall of love, a wall that had I love you written in hundreds of languages-- a welcome sign that I think is perfect! (thats the picture above!)

Upon walking through these corridors, both Pieter and I knew that of the places in Paris, this had a sense of home-calm-and spirit that we hadn’t felt as much of in any other part. Much of Paris is so stunning-light everywhere, pretty homes, gorgeous views from almost every angle, and yet the sense of home and warmth is not always present. This was a place that we could come again to- and maybe next time spend some more nights just being in the lovely part of Paris…

Following Montmartre and a salad for lunch (I tried and savor many goat cheese salads while here), we headed over to Bon Marche, the oldest department store in Paris while Carla headed on out on her own for the day back to the Salvatore Dali museum and Notre Dame.

By this time the kids were really tired and truly needed a break. So upon arriving at Bon Marche, we searched for a respite. Under a beautiful Moroccan style tent, we sipped tea and chilled for an hour, while the kids sat across from us watching Mulan on Pieter’s iPHONE (the best creation yet). That was relaxing, and probably one of the other nicest moments in Paris.

We didn’t have time to browse or shop- but for this trip, that’s okay. This was discovery for the kids’ time…and the discovery of this town was almost to an end. All that was left was 1 more day ahead, and this time, we would finally get to the Eiffel Tower.

Monday, July 20, 2009

D’Orsay and Pompidou

Rather than heading to VERSAILLES due to impending rain (only a few drops came actually), we changed our tour to Musee D'orsay. Luckily, our special "context travel" tour guide Robyn knew tons of information about this place. She had studied art history, Dutch and was from the US. She was perfect, friendly, warm and really knowledgeable about the sculptures-paintings and even the building itself. It was really a joy...we had some fun notes to compare while she had mentioned she had a Dutch boyfriend once--

The highlights of the visit of the museum had to be seeing the Degas Ballet Dancer sculpture, which Bella had read about for the past 2 years in a lovely book about Degas and a story how he sculpted the ballerina-and as a special gift, she gave him the ribbon she wore. Well, the ribbon was on site, as well as many other paintings from Van Gogh, Monet, and more. I know that art can be simplistic as viewing pretty pictures but when you hear about the "why" a painting was painted, or how someone broke the 'mold' of the academics and pushed the artistic envelope- that's what is inspiring.

Alec was mostly bored during this museum visit, but Pieter and I decided that it was just fine for Alec and Bella to get bored too. Part of this trip was learning how much of Paris that we loved, could be loved by a 5 and 8 year old. The other part was learning how to deal with the comments like "I'm tired" "I'm bored" "When will we be home?" or "Can I have ice cream again?" as well as the great ones like "this is the best day of my life" or "WOWWWWWW, look at that!" and "This is the best crepe!" or "I can't wait to see our tour guide again!"

Anyway, in order to switch it up a bit, we did try to mix the cultural visits with a playground, running around activity to get them into their active happy mode too. But this day, we figured we could try to skip it and head maybe to a 2nd museum that night. We kind of learned our lesson. After crepes and a little rest, we headed towards George Pompidou, the cool museum with the escalators that go really high. At least to our kids, that was the highlight. We were hoping that since there was a Calder exhibit who specialized in performance art and creating circus animals, that the viewing would be fun for all of us.

Well, the circus was kind of cool- when you enter his exhibit, there was a 60 minute film on the artist which was a kind of documentary of Calder performing his ART. He created circus acts made of wire, cloth, springs and leather each of them performing tricks. We saw Calder himself display a wire lion jump through a hoop-a trapeze wire act—a dog riding a bike and so on. It was clear that his art combined science, math, engineering, physics and pure ingenuity. The kids were riveted, at least I thought. How did I know that at the end of the viewing of the actual wire circus acts shown in the film- they would ask for the “Real Circus” and then comment on how boring it was??

It was maybe boring to them at the time- but when you glanced at their faces when they spotted the exact wire circus pieces that they had just seen in the documentary on display--they were wowed. They are learning hundreds of things and watching new images through out every day- tasting the Paris they never knew existed. I never realized they would endure walking everyday for 5 hours without complaining- how to eat and drink not upon convenience but whenever we can- and that different art, parks and places exists and can be appreciated.

It just has not all sink in just yet...