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I have not really taken much time for myself in the last 10 months. I think I need to start doing that more. We're at a point where it's easier logistically. And I think I'm a more patient mommy when I've had some "me time". Also, as the mother of a little girl, I think it's important to model taking some time for oneself. The idea that the ideal wife and mother puts everyone else ahead of herself is still fairly strong in our culture. To some extent, I have drunk that kool aid. And I think it's not entirely healthy.

Yesterday I took two and a half hours for myself. It was lovely.

There is a meditation class every Saturday morning in the Japanese gallery at the art museum. I had read about it a while back but once upon a time 10:15 on a weekend morning seemed early to me. (Hah!) Yesterday I went to the class. I've done mini meditation sessions in my yoga class and guided meditations via my iPod. But I believe the longest meditation I had previously attempted was 12 minutes. The class was 45 minutes. We sat on our museum-provided cushions on the floor. There were six of us. The instructor asked me and another newcomer about our prior experience and then explained briefly that the idea was to focus on our breath and that she would ring the bell four times to start and once to end. There followed 40 minutes of silence. It was great. I sat. I focused on my breath. Inhaling. Exhaling. Thoughts wandered in and I tried not to follow them and to go back to my breath. Inhaling. Exhaling. I had a mental imagine of my brain as a monkey jumping up and down and waving its arms. Monkey mind. Hee. Inhaling. Exhaling. I had the occasional doubt about whether I could make it to 40 minutes. No way to know how long we'd been going. Probably we weren't even halfway there yet. Inhaling. Exhaling. *DING*

I made it the whole 40 minutes! And it didn't seem like nearly that long. And I felt very relaxed afterwards. It was excellent. When the class was over I went downstairs to see The Missing Peace, an exhibit of art inspired by the Dalai Lama and his work. Some nifty stuff in there. I liked the portraits of the Dalai Lama and the Buddhist-related art the best. I ended my morning out with a lovely piece of mushroom and brie quiche and a cup of coffee on the terrace of the museum cafe, overlooking the river.

I likely won't do that every week, but I definitely do want to do it again sometime.
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I am warm and toasty in front of our fireplace with a napping husband next to me and a sleeping baby in my arms. :) Our first Christmas tree of our own is brightly lit and there are presents underneath it. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care. (C's and F's are new, courtesy of Etsy. C's has an adorable penguin on it.) Dinner was mighty tasty, if I do say so myself - Cuban black beans & rice and squash with mojo. There's cake and ice cream to have when F wakes up. Life is good. Happy Holidays!
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F. and I decided, pretty much on the spur of the moment, to go up to Austin for ArmadilloCon this past weekend. It was a lot of fun, in a low key kinda way. One of the highlights for me was Steven Brust, who was on a number of panels and was always entertaining (as well as informative). At his reading on Sunday he did a piece from Tiassa, the new Vlad book coming out next year. I can't recall the exact details, but he said it's a departure from the previous books in that it's a collection of two (?) novellas, an interlude, and I think a prologue and an epilogue and that there are four different narrators, including a section from Paarfi. The bit he read had a hint to Devera's father, who I believe had never been mentioned before in the books. After a little research online, it appears that my guess from the hint matches with what Brust outright said elsewhere in an interview. I hadn't known about the interview, so it was a surprise to me.

Other highlights:

The Broad Universe reading, where I won a copy of Phoebe Kitanidis's Whisper in a drawing. They had six books to give away and my name was picked second, so I had a choice of nearly everything and Whisper was the piece that had been read of which I most wanted more. Read it cover to cover that night. It's young adult, so it was a quick read. It's definitely a junior high/high school sort of book, focusing on issues of fitting in and self identity, but I enjoyed it.

Having the winning bid on a signed print by Jeff Ward at the art show. The one I got isn't on that web site. It's a forest scene with a tree trunk that has a doorway in it that is glowing with light. I think I know where I'm going to hang it. But first it needs framing.
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* seeing many friends
* lots of hiking
* popovers at Jordan Pond House
* the ocean, the waves
* picking & eating wild blueberries
* whale watching - we saw a group of ~20+ pilot whales
* playing bridge for the first time in a long time
* a hilarious name game
* dinner at Cafe This Way
* wonderful (vegan) chocolate orange mousse cake at a cafe in Portland
* as much sleep as I wanted
* having many people to cook for who seemed to enjoy the food
* having someone to cook with (hi, carpenter!)
* birthday pie! (not often I get birthday pie!)
* hand-made art as souvenirs (mugs and a bowl in the 'black birch' pattern here)
* beautiful Tiffany stained glass windows at St. Saviour's

Thanks to those who organized! I'm grateful for your efforts.
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* mashed potatoes and gravy and chick pea cutlets and asparagus and roasted beets for dinner tonight with a start made on dal and raita for tomorrow night

* the orchid plant I got for my birthday 1.5 years ago is blooming and has 5 beautiful purple and white flowers

* the grocery store had spray roses for cheap, so there are even more flowers
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A table laid for two with a nice tablecloth, some candles, a little Miles Davis on the stereo, some wine, a baguette, some asparagus pate, a veggie melange with chickpeas and artichoke hearts and saffron aioli ... life is good.

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