Saturday, December 5, 2009

Reentry into the real world

I thought the real world would be too much to take, and then my reentry was delayed by a really horrible case of the flu. Feeling awful, and not being able to return to work was so difficult. I wanted to get back to my life. I missed a friend's birthday, a retirement lunch, and just the chance to start to reclaim my life.

Now I'm feeling fine, actually great because when you feel better it's so lovely. I think my body decided the only way to make it was to force me to stop. So I did. Now I've spent the last couple days spending time with favorite friends that I had missed so much. It is good to be back and see everyone who means so much.

I spent quality time with my family. My mom took care of me when I was sick. So nice. And now I can catch up with my friends, and just remember why I love living here. Okay all I need is a beach!

Tomorrow I head to Washington, DC for a conference for the new federal grant received by The Eagle River Youth Coalition. I look forward to meeting new people, and visiting the national's capital. I have only been there once since the summer of 1996 when I interned there. It will be good to be back.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Where to begin?

I just got back from an experience of a lifetime. I went on a Group Study Exchange to Australia thanks to Rotary International. This trip was inspiring, exhausting, and definitely worth it. There were moments when I didn't feel that way, but then I just pushed through it and embraced what was offered so freely.

I have never had so many strangers now friends open their homes, their hearts, and more to me. It made me appreciate the kindness of Rotarians, but also made me reexamine things and change my perspective. I feel a shift has occurred or is occurring. I feel more alive, more passionate, and less prone to overreaction.

I guess with this trip adults and kids reminded me of the precious humanity that exists that sometimes we forget on a day-to-day basis. It made me stop and listen to what's important to me and to strive for those things.

There were so many moments to savor, which I will share soon.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Six days later

So it's been six days since my last post and declaration. I did buy a book. It was 40% off at The Bookworm. Since I often set meetings there it's a temptation, however, I got two more books for free, by turning in books that I've already read at Book Grove in Glenwood. So three books for $9. Not too bad, really.

Also, I have to confess that I bought a pink cardigan (I needed it for the GSE trip) and a pair of khaki pants that can be worn three ways, cuffed, capris, and straight leg. These purchases were made for my trip. This may be more difficult than it looks. So bear with me as I figure this out. I did resist buying shoes that weren't practical. So maybe I am making some progress!

The biggest progress made on my level of consumption is that I am becoming aware of what I'm purchasing. Today I focused on getting more organized at home, which feels much better. I can start the week with a clean space.

Another important note: I walked on Friday, Sunday and Monday for a total of approximately eight miles. So I'm working on making walking a daily priority. Saturday I relaxed, slept in, and read a book in bed. Heaven, really. I didn't even feel guilty! It was needed after a very busy August.

I'll keep you posted on the rest of the week. Make it a good one, don't you just love the three-day weekends?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Month of Focus

So it's a month away from when I will be leaving for Australia, on my six-week adventure. In this month I have a lot to accomplish. No one seems to feel sorry for me. Regardless, I'm also starting a new phase in that I don't want to buy anything new this month. I want to focus on getting ready for the trip. Wrapping up work as much as possible, throwing Kendra's baby shower, and continuing to work on my new venture.

The exceptions to what I can buy? Food and the necessary items such as shampoo and other tolietries. No clothes, no shoes, and no books. Though I can trade books in at the secondhand bookshop in Glenwood Springs. Trading is acceptable. So far so good in the first two days of the month. I'll keep you posted.

Part of this is about saving for my trip, and the other part is about getting really clear about where my money goes. I don't always pay enough attention, and it shows. So I'm going to turn that around. And as my roommate said today, everyone deserves a second chance. So instead of berating all the choices I've made that haven't been great I'm going to move forward starting today and this month.

Wish me luck. Bonne Chance!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A good book

A good book is like a fine glass of wine to be savored. Amy recently let me borrow "Loving Frank". This book is a fictionalized account of a true love affair. The book is about a modern woman living in the 19th century, though you may not identify with all the choices she makes you can identify with her belief in being authentic to yourself. Read it. I couldn't put it down. It kept me up nights. Enjoy!

A trip away

So right now I'm sitting in my friend Ruth's kitchen. I just caught up on a month of blog entries on her wonderful blog site She inspires me to want to write on my blog on a more regular basis, and she makes me laugh on her blog and in general. Spending time with friends is truly a blessing.

Soon we are heading to Sonoma to wine country, which is one of my favorite activities. Truly, having to taste wines, how will we survive? I have finally made it to Sacramento to see where she lives. Getting a chance to hang out with someone in their natural habitat gives you a much better sense of their life, and then you can talk about your common frame of reference.

I noticed on my last blog entry (last month) that I was talking about suffering from allergies. I'm happy to report that after the misery I am feeling much better. It turns out it wasn't just allergies, it was also anemia and some thyroid issues. I went to a Naturopath, because the traditional medicine route just wasn't helping.

It turns out that my inability to wake up had a medical reason. I just put too much expectation on myself. Even with this blog I feel like once a month is not enough. It does make the bar manageable. If I can get to twice per month then I've made a major advance!

Which brings me back to spending time with friends, and how wonderful it is for creating the best life. Last weekend Mary Beth came to Denver and Boulder and we spent some great hours people watching...priceless. And this weekend I get to spend some quality time with Ruth. So life is good. I will keep you posted, maybe twice or more this month!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One blog per month I can do better than that

So the past couple months have posed some difficulties with a truly tough allergy season. I haven't felt like myself, run down. I've woke up extremely congested, and I've had many contact issues with several days of wearing just one contact. Who knew that vision was so important?

I know that one option is signing up for years of shots, and I hope to bypass it. So instead I started going to a naturopath doctor, and guess what? I'm feeling much better. I am hoping that this foray into alternative medicine will put me back on the path to feeling like myself again. I want to feel great when I head to Australia in October.

The realization and awareness that I'm having is showing me that sometimes we need help. This was one of those times for me, and often I want to figure it out on my own. But instead I just need to find the right help.

I'm really good at seeking at help for professional growth, however, I'm not as good at getting the assistance I need for self-care. One day I wasn't sure I could even wear one contact. I made it home, barely, however, that may have been the time to ask someone to drive me home. It's just so darn hard to admit when you can't do it on your own.

Reminds me of this song...'miss independent, miss self-sufficientm, miss keep your distance, mmmm.' Time to bloom. I think so!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Heading back to Australia

I realized that I hadn't told you that I'm officially going back to Australia. That's right I've been selected as a team member of the Rotary International Group Study Exchange to visit southern Australia. I admit that my travels have been a bit excessive lately. The truth is that traveling is such a key component of who I am. So I keep traveling.

And now I get to make a dream happen. I always wanted to study abroad, but I convinced myself that it cost too much. So I didn't. And now at 23, oh I mean 33, I get to travel abroad for an extended period. Life sure does surprise you sometimes!

What about life surprises you? I'm really surprised that I just wrote two blog entries in one day. A Guiness world record for me.

One hour at a time

I am realizing that I often expect change to happen instantly. Maybe I watched too many fairy tales where a magic wand was waved, and poof everything happened instantly. The truth is that our lives aren't like a Polaroid picture. We don't wave them, and then the image or the way forward appears instantly. Alcoholics often talk about having a moment of clarity. Meanwhile, I'm lucky if I remember to walk out the door with my cell phone.

So now I'm taking it one hour at a time, per my friend's suggestion. That seems to work better. So this hour I'm taking the time to write on my blog. Wonders never cease, and I'm enjoying the moment.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Blog Intervention

So at this point I'm at a post a month. I obviously need a blog intervention. Or maybe just an intervention from watching that show. Yes, I've become addicted to watching Intervention on A&E. I don't know what it is exactly, but it has something to do with the fact that I can watch someone potentially take the opportunity to save their own life. Though the sad truth is that many of them do okay for awhile, and only a few of them make it.

That being said finding a way to make changes in your life even of the non-addicted variety takes a lot of courage, a lot of patience and a ton of perseverance. I have taken many steps in the past year to make some changes, and some have actually materialized. Other changes I am making continue to be more difficult to truly implement.

But I keep trying and staying the course, because I believe in myself, and I know that work and consistency eventually pays off. I just have to remember that I need to put as much stock in the changes I want in my life as my work. I often put myself last on the list, and I'm truly trying to embrace a new mindset. I come first, so I can then offer more to the world. And this month I'm going to work on one post per week. Wish me luck!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Finding Happiness or Bliss

I've been thinking a lot about the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Read the full test at
The point that I've been pondering is whether the pursuit of Happiness is an unalienable right. I have lived my life with the thought it is, but again it depends on your definition of happiness.

I just finished reading "The Geography of Bliss," by Eric Weiner. This book was not only a travelogue, but also a book that made you stop and think. The premise is that Mr. Weiner travels to several countries to find out why these places and the people who live there are the happiest or in a couple cases the least happy places to live. What it really does is make you start asking what does make for a blissful existence? Is it the pursuit of happiness as Jefferson obviously believed, or is it in the recognition of what have (not what we don't) and the gratitude that we can all employ?

This book discusses countries like Bhutan, which has a Gross Domestic Happiness policy instead of Gross Domestic Product policy. This made me think with GDP all profit is good whether its from war, violence, or etc. In Bhutan, the happiness of each citizen is considered before enacting any policies or legislation. It's a really great thought when you think about it. I know some of you are saying, well how the heck do you measure that? To be honest...the way to measure it is still being discovered, but maybe a compromise of the two would make sense. GDP doesn't tell all of the story. And Albert Einstein had a sign hanging in his office in Princeton that sums it up nicely. "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts."

So read this book and tell me about your happy place. Mine was on a beach in Barbados. As it snows in Colorado, that beach sounds so lovely. The sun was setting, and I felt more at peace then I had felt in a long time. My friend and I were enjoying the light and its interplay on the water. Suddenly, we saw masses of tiny turtles struggling through the sand trying to get to the ocean to begin their life's journey to pursue their happiness. Some would make it and most would not, but they would all die trying. That is my happy place. Please share yours, and I will share your thoughts on a future blog entry.
Have a blissfully happy weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pursuing Art

It has been almost two months since I've taken the time to write in my blog. Why is it that I let what's important to me go so often? This isn't the first time I've asked myself this question. Sometimes I let my life run me instead of the other way around. Awareness is the first step to moving forward.

In my own defense I haven't let all my creativity and thoughtfulness go out the window. I am participating in an art show. The truth is I didn't understand what a big deal it would be to me, and how this would make me feel. We had an art reception at our first gallery site at The Avon Library on March 8th. Suddenly, I was interacting with the other artists, and I realized I am one of them. People were talking about my work. It really made me think and realize that if you don't consider yourself an artist, a writer, or whatever, how is anyone else going to put you in that category?

So now for my many readers...I'm going to have to start advertising my blog on Facebook. I've got tons of friends who should be reading my blog. If you want to see my art and wonderful art from other women celebrating Women's History Month then go to to see my creations as an artist. There I said it. I feel better already. Also, if you happen to be around the Boulder area, come to our art reception at The Boulder Valley Women's Health Center on Thursday, May 7th, 5:30pm. (2855 Valmont Road, Boulder; P: 303-442-5160) I hope to see you there! And send me a note if it ever takes me so long to write in my blog again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sunshine day

Sorry I've been MIA, however, life got busy. I'm back! Today I had my first ski race at Beaver Creek. I was completely nervous about racing today. But I once again conquered my fear, and it went well. Basically, I didn't fall and I completed the race course twice. Success! Granted I was one of the slower racers, but the fact I'm even racing is enough.

Yes I get to race for work. It's The ERYC ski team. At times I do truly love my life. It isn't perfect, but it sure has some amazing moments. It also makes Monday seem much less blah. Feeling the sunshine on my face as I went down another run was wonderful. There is something amazing about the mountains...especially when you have early spring happening in February.

It seems like this year is going to bring some unexpected twists and turns. And being able to navigate those turns is what it's all about. I feel really good, and I'm ready to do just that. What metaphor describes your life at the moment?

Friday, January 16, 2009


Fridays are wonderful aren't they! Fridays bring the weekend and a whole slew of possibilities. Tonight a bunch of girls are coming over for dinner for homemade pizza, salad and some TGIF drinks. I'm ready to let go of all the work stress and just enjoy.

I told my friend Sondra that I needed to clone myself. My clone can work all the time, and I can be. I really am starting to think it is ethical. Can you imagine? What a great world it would create some balance.

So I'm going to stop complaining and get ready for my impromptu party. Have a fab weekend. Cross your fingers that it stays sunny and beautiful all weekend. My friend Jen is coming up and we're going snowshoeing, and weather like today would be heavenly.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


So one of my guilty pleasures is reading my horoscope. When it's good I embrace it when it isn't as good I ignore it. Sometimes it's completely off-base, and once in awhile it is as if someone is reading my mind and feeding back what I want to hear.

For example, two of my horoscopes in January have said that I need to travel the world and embrace adventures in my path. This was my horoscope today:

Don't just talk about grand trips around the world; start planning them, Cristina. If you don't start saving your resources and reserving blocks of time for your dreams, they may never come to fruition. Today is a terrific time to get these things in motion. Your attitude is likely to be much more flexible in general, and you will find that this way of thinking will bring you directly to the people and places that will help you the most.

Then in a serendiptious moment tonight I was watching TV with my housemate Cheryl, doing some work on the laptop, and reading. As always multitasking. Anyway, Cheryl said do you want to go back to Australia with Rotary? That got my interest. It turns out the Rotary offers a Study Exchange Program for young professionals. I already sent an email, and now I'm going to call the contact tomorrow to get the application. What an opportunity. So sometimes horoscopes rock! I'll keep you posted on this amazing development. 2009 is shaping up!

Writing is fun when it's not a grant

I am a writer. I feel most alive and energized when I am writing and creating. Right now I need to work on a grant and instead I'm getting a post ready for tomorrow. Because writing isn't as much fun when it's a grant. Want to know why?

The top five reasons that writing a grant isn't fun.

Reason 5: You have to write to meet a omnious deadline...which looms and looms.

Reason 4: You can't have a lot of fun and you have to answer the prescribed questions.

Reason 3: If you don't do it well, you get nothing, that's right zero...

Reason 2: You have to use techno-speak and be in the "know".

The No. 1 reason that grant writing isn't fun: You often have to create a logic model. Truly it is as annoying as it sounds. Trust me.

The other funny thing about writing is that suddenly I feel an urge to clean, again this is not really who I am. Anyway, I better sign off and get to work on writing that grant.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What I didn't miss today

Believe it or not I left my house this morning at 7:10 a.m. Many of you think I'm totally lying about this, because you know that I am not a morning person. Yes, I know that is an understatement. I often cite an article in The New York Times to justify my owl existence. It seems the early bird does not always get the worm. Read these articles to find out more. It turns out there are a lot of people who think about this stuff besides me, which is exciting.

But today owl forced into being a lark with droppy red eyes did get to see the most amazing shades of pink, clouds and purple mountain majesty sunrise this morning. It looked like a really good movie set. I didn't miss this moment, because I finally wasn't running late; I had just wrote last night's blog about what are we missing, so I took the time to look around, and notice my mountain backdrop for its wonder.

So I will concede that once in awhile it is worth getting up early. Not every day, but sometimes, because the light is different in the morning. Now I understand why Monet got up early to paint, and why he painted a series of paintings of the same scene at different times of the day to capture the changing light.

Read this article in Time magazine about this unique collaboration from afar:,9171,1573943-2,00.html

"Perhaps the greatest gift Japan gave Monet, and Impressionism, was an incandescent obsession with getting the play of light and shadow, the balance of colors and the curve of a line, just right — not the way it is in reality, but the way it looks in the artist's imagination. "I have slowly learned about the pattern of the grass, the trees, the structure of birds and other animals like insects and fish, so that when I am 80, I hope to be better," Hokusai wrote 16 years before his death at age 89. "At 90, I hope to have caught the very essence of things, so that at 100 I will have reached heavenly mysteries. At 110, every point and line will be living." Monet spent the last decades of his life painting his water lilies, and then painting them again, until he lost his sight in quest of an elusive, transcendent perfection that might best be called Japanese."

I learned this fact on my trip to Australia, instead of bypassing the tour I actually took it, and I learned a few things. For instance, Monet was greatly influenced by the great Japanese wood block print artists Utagawa Hiroshige, Katsushika Hokusai and Kitagawa Utamaro.

You know the famous lilies paintings...they wouldn't exist without the influence of Japanese art. Finding out Monet put in a Japanese lily garden on his property opened my eyes. It gave me a more expansive feeling for Monet and his work. Again, this fact wouldn't be in my cache if I hadn't stopped to listen to the tour guide.

So today and tomorrow, notice the sunrise (if you're awake), the sunset (more likely for me), and take the time to stop and just be in the moment. The truth is you never know what each moment can bring.

And today I want to congratulate my hero, my friend MB, who is full of courage and is about to unfold her own myth and embark on a life adventure. In the words of Rumi:

"...But don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth without complicated explanation, so everyone will understand the passage we have opened you."

Monday, January 12, 2009

What else do we miss?

In our modern and complex world why do we spend so much time rushing and worrying about our level of productivity? It is almost that we're missing the point. We don't take the time to truly connect with someone else. I almost didn't take the five minutes required to read this article, which made me think about 'What else are we missing?'

In one section of this article, it quotes a famous poem:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
-- from "Leisure," by W.H. Davies

In short, a world famous musician dresses as a street musician and masterfully plays in a busy train station. Few notice, and even less stop to listen or donate a few dollars. Interesting to note, children always notice and hear the violinist, but their parents in a frenzy to be "on-time" drag them away and never allow them to stop to see and to really hear.

The article goes on to state, "We're busy. Americans have been busy, as a people, since at least 1831, when a young French sociologist named Alexis de Tocqueville visited the States and found himself impressed, bemused and slightly dismayed at the degree to which people were driven, to the exclusion of everything else, by hard work and the accumulation of wealth.

If we can't take the time out of our lives to stay a moment and listen to one of the best musicians on Earth play some of the best music ever written; if the surge of modern life so overpowers us that we are deaf and blind to something like that -- then what else are we missing?

That's what the Welsh poet W.H. Davies meant in 1911 when he published those two lines that begin this section. They made him famous. The thought was simple, even primitive, but somehow no one had put it quite that way before.

Of course, Davies had an advantage -- an advantage of perception. He wasn't a tradesman or a laborer or a bureaucrat or a consultant or a policy analyst or a labor lawyer or a program manager. He was a hobo."

What this illustrates to me is that we have to become aware and start noticing what matters. Today I had a lot going on, but I took the time to connect with someone at breakfast and with a dear friend at lunch. I then had to stay late at work, but it was worth the time to truly connect with people who matter to me. In our rush to stay ahead and to accumulate more stuff. We often miss the point.

I went to Denver this weekend to see my grandma in the hospital. My family came out in force, so we had to leave the hospital room and go to the waiting room. It was a moment to truly see that my family showed up when it mattered. We all had other plans, but we canceled them to be present and show how much we care.

So next time when you're life is out of control. Start with taking a breath. Connect with someone you love, and notice what's happening around you. You might witness beauty or help someone else who's down on their luck. And small gestures truly do make a difference.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ensuring successes

This week started out with a bang. I've already got one comment on my overloaded calendar. I knew that January was going to be a busy month at work, however, despite the crazy month I met with my mentor and revamped my Life Plan for 2009.

It's a lot of work to make a plan, but it's worth the effort. When you set a goal it's just that much easier to meet. I still need to take my plan down a notch, so that I can have small successes that will lead to even bigger ones, per my mentor's suggestion.

I'm trying to make small changes that will lead to results. For example, I'm working on only going out two nights per week, which saves me money, gives me more personal time, as well as makes me really prioritize my time.

In December, during the height of holidays I spent a lot on eating out and enjoying holiday cheer. Now I'm thinking about any purchase that isn't a necessity. This month I'm really cutting back on spending (no clothes-retail); eating out for lunch/dinner (1 time each per week).

I am spending money on items that are part of my plan, such as yoga. As the calendar flips, you can take another look at your decisions and choices. Taking it one day at a time.