stand still in time

glimmers of whispers

in the back of my mind



clouds of thought

bubbling, rising




found poetry from one of my other blogs circa 2015


Wednesday Wellness: Planning to Plan

Good Afternoon, Friends! I started writing on wellness topics on Wednesdays as I noted so many of my creative friends struggle with balance, as do I.  Join me on my journey of mishaps, happy mistakes, and discovery.

You’ve heard the lyric “A dream is a wish your heart makes…” from Disney’s Cinderella, right?  Well here’s the thing.

A dream is a wish your heart makes, but a goal is a plan your mind makes.

Are you with me?

I love dreaming, but I have not always loved planning.   I’ve sort of just figured it out.  There’s a certain magic in writing things down. Lists, steps, contacts, appointments, plans. Call it the Law of Attraction, or whatever you like.  Writing it MAKES IT HAPPEN. you’ll see.


I’m planning to start my son doing his own bullet journaling.  He’s got lists and a phone, but I think the writing in his own bullet journal is going to be key.  I already bought him special micron pens.  You gotta have the tools.

I think my young daughter is also ready for her own planning journal.  She’s got a collage journal and a story-writing journal already, but the listing of dreams and goals could also be good for her.  Right now my favorite Leonie Dawson Shining Year planner is 50% off. Again, tools.

Another way to get things done is by finding support.  It’s free to find likeminded souls in groups on the internet.  Just following inspiring instagram and pinterest users can jumpstart or reignite your own creative ambition. There are an infinite amount of webinars and podcasts available for you.


“Someone is staring at you in Personal Growth.” – Carrie Fisher, When Harry Met Sally, 1989.

It wasn’t too long ago that I was a night owl and a late sleeper.  And now, thanks to Zero Period, I’m allergic to sleeping in. Thanks to planning, I’m more productive.

In addition to mapping out all the family’s activities, I am planning my reading and writing time.

What are you doing this summer? Are you planning to have fun?



Wednesday Wellness: Happy New Year!

My friends, Happy New Year!   Have you survived the Darkness of Winter and are you rejoicing in the return of the Light?

Something about the turn of the calendar and I am inclined to reflect.  Does this happen to you?

This year I am beginning with my Shining Year planner by Leonie Dawson.  I happened  to discover it last year after I had already purchased a planner. But I finally bought one mid-year, as her followers were just so enthusiastic about how the workbooks helped them lead happier lives, reaching their goals. Even now, I wonder if I should have purchased one of the bigger planners, as the workbook enthusiasts are posting their success stories and swear by the planners.

My kids are still on Winter Break, so we have been able to enjoy doing things together just a bit longer, it seems.  Although it is the same number of days off as they usually get, somehow returning on the 9th of January just seems more relaxing, doesn’t it?  We are enjoying watching movies and going to bookstores and redeeming our giftcards and reading and playing music. My crafty daughter and I are starting a keepsake quilt made from her favorite tee shirts.  Hmm maybe we will make a video  tutorial!

It’s been a year since my Manifesting Money post, and I’m happy to report that even after all those DVDs I traded in for cash last year, I STILL HAVE MORE.  And the stack I kept in case the kids wanted to watch them sometime, well seeing as they haven’t in A YEAR, I’m trading them in! CD’s, too, as I kept a ton just in case, but my new car doesn’t even have a cd player in it, so. Bye, Bye, Bye, BYE BYE!

The best thing I did for myself last year was find like-minded friends in groups.  Two of my online friends have started groups this week, and that made me think maybe I could do the same.  Stay tuned.

After the shocking deaths of George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, I decided to schedule a routine physical with my doctor.  My heart and blood pressure are fine. My new doctor gave me some reading on relaxation techniques.  And I found that the maker of one of my favorite supplements also makes a blended product containing something new I wanted to try.  #PracticingHealth

And the most exciting news: I finished writing my book!  I am so excited to share it with the world! We have finished editing, and it is now with the formatter.  I would expect to launch in about two weeks.

Dee’s Dishes is a collection of stories, reflections, and recipes.  Have you ever had Pepsi thrown on you?  For me, more than once.  Wouldn’t you like to find out more about that?  And then there’s my recipe for Pepsi Brownies.  Sounds good, right?

Stay tuned, my friends!

What are you doing in this New Year?






Wednesday Wellness: Prepare Ye

Happy #WellnessWednesday! (Or is it Wednesday Wellness? I can never remember.) I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays, as I notice many of my friends who are creative types struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my humble journey to wellness.
Having just survived that family ordeal which we call Thanksgiving, we are now entering my birth month, otherwise known as that month which always has me running around like a chicken with my head cut off, run over by a train. (Writing run-on sentences and mixing metaphors, apparently, too.)

Let’s just all take a moment to acknowledge the winter holiday struggle and invisible illnesses, shall we?  Here’s “Unwell” by Matchbox 20.

Sing it, Rob

Here are a few things I am doing this year to help me find the light and keep the darkness at bay.

Honor Advent.
Many world religions celebrate the winter solstice. Read this. I have a book of meditations that I like to read at this time of year- part Christian, part Zen. I am also singing at church on the second and fourth Sundays.

Practice Self-Care.
I listen to guided visualizations on my phone before bed. After some basic yoga and maybe the plank challenge.
I am near done purchasing my holiday gifts, and just have to wrap them. Thanks to my handy dandy historical gift-giving spreadsheet, which I have kept up since 2004. I also search online for lists of books containing characters with my children’s and nieces’ and nephew’s names.

Tis the Season of giving. Many social justice organizations need your help now more than ever. Feels good to donate even just a little. If you are a homeowner, your charitable donation may have tax benefits, as well. There are many ways to give, starting with collecting unneeded clothes, books and toys in your home to donate to a local charity, many which swing by your neighborhood on a regular basis. Your old glasses could give someone the gift of sight. You can also donate your time. Sign up to volunteer with a local food bank or charity organization to sort or distribute donations. Sign up with a friend or family member and share the experience.

I do want to journal and blog more. Right now I am working on self-editing my new book, so hopefully I can return to regular writing in just a bit.

Maintaining the family calendar of all our events. We have orthodontist appointments, church, religious instruction, pageants, school, band practices, band performance, the Nutcracker, recitals, and three family birthdays. Still it’s all manageable with clever calendaring. I’m so excited that my 2017 Diary Planner has already arrived!

Say No.
Even though singing with a volunteer choir sounds fun, I don’t have time for all the rehearsals. So, Ive learned to say “No, Thank you. Maybe next year.” Try it.

Read my other posts on Advent here.

Advent Calendar


Wednesday Wellness: Cruisin’ 101

Happy Wednesday!  Today I am going to do something a little different for Wednesday Wellness- I am going to talk about how to cruise.  I had never been on a cruise until last year, now I’ve sailed on three.  There’s always a bit of stress when planning and packing and travelling- but with a little preparation,  you can manage the challenges and even practice self-care. Here are some tips I’ve found. 

Cruising 101– choose your destination and your cruise line wisely.  There’s nothing wrong with Princess, but they don’t have a surf simulator like Royal Caribbean, for instance. If you are travelling with kids and multi-generations, make sure there is something for everybody.

The staterooms are small. NO, really.  Even if you have researched and studied Pinterest, as I did, you will not pre prepared for the minuteness of the bathroom and the army barracks of  bunkbeds.  If you pack light and smart, you can deal.  We pack for 4 days, wearing our bulkiest jeans and tennis shoes on the plane.  Plan to do a load of laundry on the ship.  There is not a self-service laundry in every ship- so do your research.  Otherwise you may be spending $30-45 a bag for wash & fold service, but it is a 48 hour turnaround, and what are you going to wear while you are waiting for your laundry?  You can also bring detergent and hand-wash in the tub.  If you have a bathtub, that is.

Hanging Shoe Organizer is a necessity.  Hang this over your bathroom door to increase counter space for your toiletries.  I got mine at Walmart for $3.  Such a space saver.

Travel Surge Protector is another must-have item.  There’s only two plugs in the stateroom, and so this little gizmo increases your ability to charge all your family’s devices.  This one has two usb ports in addition to three American plugs.  If you are travelling internationally, bring a converter, as well.

LED Tea light(s) are important as the rooms get pitch dark.  You don’t want to waste a plug for your kid’s favorite nightlight.  Just bring these.

Hand Wipes my family is never without these.  Cruise ships don’t have toilet seat covers.  Use a wipe to clean the toilet seat before use.

Sticky Notes are great for leaving notes for each other, or for your stateroom attendant.

Trial and Travel size toiletries.  Save money by not paying extra to stow your baggage on the plane. You won’t have too much room in the cabin for all your big bottles of your favorite shampoos, etc., anyway.   These little gems will fit nicely in your shoe organizer.  In addition to shampoo and conditioner (which ships may not provide)remember sunblock, lotion, Clearasil, medications, etc.  If you have curly/ frizzy hair like me, you’ll like this  gem I picked up in Vegas: Frizz-Ease touch up crème.  Though in a pinch, a little hand lotion will also help calm the frizzies. Don’t forget you will be in stale air on the boat for hours at a time.  I recommend eye drops, hand lotion, hair serum, and collagen under-eye treatments.

Now we get to the fun part.  I love travel clothing.  Multi-purpose clothing, skirts with pockets, sundresses that can be worn on formal night, reversible jewelry, mary janes which are great for casual and formal.  Today I am wearing my Essential Dress (2014)from Royal Robbin- works great for casual or even more formal with some sparkly jewelry.  I brought this awesome dress for my recent cruise and wore it for both formal nights- once with my hair down and the green necklace, once with my hair up and the reverse side of the necklace showing.  All clothing should be able to be rolled, for packing.  There are no irons in your room.  But who wants to be ironing anyway?  I brought a wrinkle release spray, but we never used it. My husband and son wore khaki’s and polo shirts to dinner for formal night.  No sweat.  My young daughter wanted to bring 7 dresses,  I let her bring 4 (one of which was reversible).  Pack a maximum of 3 pairs of shoes per person: sneakers (wear on plane and excursions), crocs (for swimming and late night snack breaks), and flats (mary janes for formal and casual dinners).  There is no reason to bring heels when you are on a boat which may be rocking in 100 nautical mile winds. (My son has black tennis shoes, so those also worked for formal night.)  You just need a light sweater/jacket for being on deck, and something water resistant for your excursions.


Backpacks and totes:  I didn’t bring a purse. I carried a backpack on the plane, as did each of my kids.  I packed collapsible daypacks (drawstring backpacks) for our excursions. At night, I wore a phone purse which also held my cruise card,  lip gloss, and a pack of wipes. My daughter carried her own little purse which also held our Mio (water flavoring)  I also had a passport holder that hangs from one’s neck, and this waterproof phone lanyard which has come in handy while zip-lining on Guam last year!

Kid stuff: my kids pack their own backbacks with activities and books and headphones.  My daughter also brings art supplies. Journals and pens are essential.  I also brought lanyards for each of them for their cruise cards.   A mobile phone/ tablet comes in handy for “down times” but also the cruise selfie scavenger hunt challenge activity.  For excursions in crowded cities last summer, I had them wear brightly colored neon clothing.

Save Money: We didn’t pay extra for beverage plans.  Rather, I paid for a couple of coffee drinks or sodas at random.  I did prepay for the surf-only internet plan for one device.  I would log off and share the code with my husband when he needed to log on for work.  That’s all you need and it was pretty reasonable.  We never dined in the specialty restaurants, which have a $25-40 cover charge (last summer my young daughter proudly ordered alphabet soup at the fancy shi-shi cruise restaurant).  I did order a filet mignon in the main dining room for $16.95 (9 oz.)  (The filet mignon was actually more expensive and only 6 oz in the specialty restaurant.)

Wellness practice There is a gym on board, and we often took the stairs over the elevator.  I had saved money beforehand for a Swedish Massage, which would be my little treat.  I listened to music and meditations if I wanted to tune out.  I brought along books and ebooks. Watercoloring with my daughter was also a highlight of the trip for me.  It is a wonderful way to connect (we honor my dear friend who passed away by continuing her tradition) and preserve memories of the astonishingly beauteous sea- and landscapes.  There are glaciers and whales just off your balcony, and this glorious view from the top. It’s not too hard to be grateful. ❤


How do you stay well when travelling?

Stay tuned for my travel journal from this Alaskan cruise!





My Guam Journals, The Return

What can I say about our very last day. We manage to sleep in til a reasonable hour, pack and decide to check one suitcase after all- since one of my cousins has given us TEN bags of Chamorro Chip macadamia nut cookies, I kid you not. My parents take the kids to McDonald’s for breakfast as Hubby and I pack everything into our carry-on’s. The sun is shining, and we wish we could stay longer. Some things is didn’t get to doing, but all in all, I really can’t complain. We enjoyed a very special, wonderful time on an island paradise with my dear parents. They will remain on Guam for another few days before heading home.

Our flight home is by way of Japan. We fly west to Tokyo for three hours, have a two hour layover in Narita, before the long 9+ hour flight home. These flights will show movies on a large screen, and serve meals. My gluten-free meals are served first, about ten minutes before the rest of the family’s. They are mostly fish entrees, and they are delicious! (Except the GF “muffin,” that was like a hockey puck.) We watched Theory of Everything on the way to Japan.

In Japan, we had to be processed for security again. Removing shoes and everything. A little annoying, as it took up some time. We consider getting Sushi, but settle for a free taste of something sweet covered in Mochi. I wait at the gate and watch our charging devices and carry-on’s as hubby takes the kids for a walk to the McDonald’s. They pay in US dollars and receive Japanese Yen coins in change. (I ask the boy to share some of the coins with his sister. He relinquishes all of ONE YEN- the flimsy plastic feeling coin.) Hubby says he pointed to pictures and the lady rang him up. He had no idea if his order was right, however. It was! Dear Daughter enjoys her Chicken McNuggets – since she hadn’t enjoyed what was offered on the plane. They also stopped at a gift shop for her to admire some Hello Kitty stationery.

On the way home, the crew starts the Movie, and it’s the same one! Ugh. Well, no matter, there’s the handy United app for streaming movies. Hubby is borrowing my tablet and his movie freezes up. He doesn’t know what to do. Our 6 year old helps him. She’s so cute. We are all four of us sitting in a row this time, with a good view of the movie screen. We get another meal. This is “dinner.” I’m currently tracking two time zones in order to manage hubby’s medication, as well as dear son’s antibiotics. The crew starts showing the new Annie movie, which is so disappointing, Dear Daughter falls asleep. I wish I had fallen asleep, as well, alas, I found myself watching the train wreck. Only the girl manages to sleep a significant amount of time. Nine hours is a long flight. We seem to be making good time, however, and should arrive home in closer to eight hours. Finally, they are serving breakfast. We awake the girl to see if she wants breakfast. Bad idea. She’s suddenly all Boo-Boo Face Grumpy Cat, and I am digging into my own backpack for the super-secret emergency calming device I’d packed in case we had such a situation. Dear Son sees me go for it and says simply, “I agree.” Fist bump.

And I bring out: a cute little stuffed animal of Grumpy Cat. The girl giggles and smiles, and the world is right again. Grumpy Cat will be her boon companion for the last hour of flight. Thank goodness it was only one more hour!

We arrive in San Francisco at 9:30 am, Saturday, although we had left Guam at Noon on Saturday. Wrap your mind around that one. And yet we had been up for like thirty hours, traveling for 17. Traveling over the international date line, we had skipped a day on the way there, and celebrate Groundhog Day all the way back. Guam is 17 hours Ahead of Pacific Daylight Time: to calculate this I always subtract 7 hours and add a day. After all, Guam is Where America’s Day Begins.

I cannot wait to get home, shower, and take a nap! We will have hours of fun reality television shows to watch on the DVR. I can’t wait to share my experiences with our friends and family. I am bursting with Chamorro Pride.

The rest of the day is kind of a blur. I think after we gave Aunt Betty some Chamorro Chip Cookies, we headed to Starbucks for lunch. Hubby dropped us off at home to get clean, while he went to the grocery store to pick up milk and stuff for dinner. I manage a 2 hour nap before dinner. I have no idea what I cooked for dinner for the family that night. I only remember that my twelve year old son fell asleep sitting up on the couch, something I hadn’t seen him do in forever. So we sent everyone to bed at like 8:00pm, Saturday night. Even after a full Sunday of recovery, it sure was hard to pretend to be normal at work on Monday afternoon. Happily the kids returned to their school schedule and had no problem. I suppose that last time I had made the long trek, I was fourteen years younger and had not birthed two children yet. This whole first week of being back, I’d find myself wide awake at three o’clock in the morning. Because, in Guam it would be 8pm TOMORROW. On Tuesday, my sister mentioned asking our mother to bring home more Chamorro Chip cookies. Alas, on our Tuesday, it would already by Wednesday Guam Time, which meant our parents were already on their plane.

My reflections continue as I process the whole of this journey. It was my intention to visit the island, show her to my children, and spend quality time with my parents. We did all of this and more. Visiting the island was meaningful on so many levels. There was such beauty on this little green island on the other side of the ocean. So much history: communal and personal. Sure, some of the history is tragic, but the Island Spirit remained, was reclaimed, and lives in resurrection. I’m delighted to have had the honor and privilege of sharing this journey with my multigenerational family: my parents, my husband and our children. They are the right ages where they will remember this vacation, as I recall my own vacation to Guam and Japan when I was nine years old.

Please feel free to ask me any questions about our trip by leaving a comment below.

Si Yu’us Ma’ase
(Thank You.)

Puntan Dos Amantes

Puntan Dos Amantes

My Guam Journals, Part 5.2

Day 5, Afternoon

After the beauteous Two Lovers Point, we head to Hagatna/ Agana to pick up my Auntie Nit for lunch. She suggests that we go to the Fiesta for lunch. The Fiesta is a hotel with a buffet. The buffet is closing in thirty minutes when we arrive. So we hurry. (You should know that we often go to the buffet at the Paris hotel in Las Vegas, timing out arrival to be thirty minutes before “lunch time” so that we can enjoy both meal types.). Most of the fare is not to my family’s liking, however. The kids and my father happily find the Mexican station, and, of course, the desserts. My husband and I find the Korean Barbeque station, which is a nice treat. Auntie Nit is a hoot. On the way back to her house, we drive around randomly looking for mangoes. As you do.

Now we head to the statue of the three generations of Chamorritas. This statue stands near the beach off the coast of Hagatna. I was drawn to this statue as I started planning for our trip. I asked my sweet mother if she would pose with my daughter and I in the same way. I was delighted that she even offered to bring her mestiza, a sheer blouse worn over a regular top. The boys helped us get into the exact positions of the three. This was especially meaningful to me, as it has been such a special trip and I’m so proud of my mother and her culture, here was an opportunity for her to show the island to my daughter. And here was an opportunity for us to memorialize the moment. The photo is below. My dear father also entered the photo into the Monochrome Madness weekly challenge here.

Three Chamorritas

Dear Son noticed a storefront sign with the Daok Oil that I was looking for. We maneuvered back and knocked in vain. The store appeared abandoned, and the neighbors didn’t know anything about them. Alas. Sometimes the quest is not about the treasure, but the adventure.

After returning to the hotel to change, we head to Tu Re Cafe to meet Shana one last time. We enjoy some more special time together, and a rainbow appears. I catch both sides of the rainbow, but as I take the panoramic photo, the clouds move over the right side. Typing this today, I just realized it was a double rainbow. Amazing.

Dos Isas

Now we head to Cappriciosa again for dinner with my mother’s childhood friend, Senator Tom Ada. We are meeting early at a different location, in order to beat the tourists. We have a back room which is more like an enclosure, and it’s only semi-private. The Senator and his wife are delightful, as are his sister and her husband. We are enjoying the same entrees we selected on Monday. The restaurant is in a shopping mall, and everybody seems to know Senator Ada.

We make one last stop at the worlds’s largest K-Mart for snacks for the plane ride tomorrow. My parents are going to meet the others at The Outrigger hotel for some music and wine. We get the kids in bed, and my husband and I enjoy a rare date, we enjoy a nice walk to the Outrigger and some last minute souvenir shopping at the ABC stores. I snap a pic of a funny human-sized shark stuffed animal dressed in a floral print sarong at Underwater World. As you do.

The trip is over too soon, and yet it was also perfect. Just perfect.

Please check back for the conclusion of our journey: the Return Home.

Family with Shana