Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Weeding through bad to find good.

I started this night off on the wrong foot. Literally.

My ankle started bruising from a shin injury I got two weeks ago and in a moment of concern I headed over to see my Dr. Turns out there are broken blood vessels and blood is draining into my foot - like I thought and like I was told by many others. But I know only one way to ease a worried mind in my world and that is my doctor.

That issue settled I hurried home and got dressed for the gym - the thing I really wanted and needed to be doing with my night in the first place. I'm leaving for the beach and am down to the wire on time to get into shape.

Pulling out of my drive I noticed a little orange note on my door. I grabbed it. City ordinance violation - I had till tomorrow to cut all of the weeds behind my garage down or I was subject to a fine.

Now I knew why the city had come by...earlier in the week my female neighbor who does not speak to me on any regular occasion let me know that she wanted them cut. I say okay...but as life and time does...it got away from me.

It's not that I don't see the value in keeping a nice yard...it's just that I'm so far behind everywhere that something's gotta give - and a mess of weeds I can't see wins.

So she called on me.

I drove to the gym angry at her for doing so. I walked in and bought my water. Then in a defeated huff I marched back out without my workout. I had to drive home and cut the weeds and I knew it.

I had clipping shears in my hands and angrily I started chopping. There were fallen vines. There were fallen branches. The area was two years overgrown and relentless in proving the strength of roots to me.

20 minutes in the boyfriend of the woman who called on me came out and asked if he could help. And, of course i said yes. I'm not too stubborn to let help in - even if help might have been the one to call the city on me.

So we worked. And we talked. And all my anger was displaced by the feeling of productivity. And we made friends. And I'm actually happy that it happened how it did.

Truth is had they not called on me I probably would have continued to ignore the mess back there. And that's not right...I should pay more attention to upkeep.

And now in a moment that could have turned into a volley of revenge from one side of the fence to the next (while driving I was mentally making a list of ways i could get them back for inconveniencing me) we all got something that we needed.

They got a yard that looks nicer from over the fence...the yard work was a workout in itself...AND we got the chance to talk with a neighbor who has a lot more in common with us than we would have ever known.

Instead of anger we were filled with a sense of love.

So, cheers to city ordinance and finding the good in every situation. It's there. Sometimes you just have to cut through the weeds to see it. (And then be open to it when it shows its face.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Apple. Peanut Butter. Discology.

My entire apple-eating existence just changed - here and now.

I eat an apple with peanut butter every day. A Granny Smith with Crunchy Reduced Fat Jif to be specific.

And every day I wage a battle of balance and sticky fingers. It's been a losing battle, trying to get the peanut butter evenly spread over the triangular shaped wedges that I've been cutting. Trying to not eat all the peanut butter in one bite, leaving the rest of the apple bare and unbalanced. Tasting more tart than nut in most bites.

Then today in a moment of discological genius I realized that I was going about it all wrong. I began to cut my apple, this time into discs. Thin little rounds perfect for sandwiching peanut butter, keeping it off my fingers and in perfect flavor balance for every bite.

Really it's amazing what a difference this is making.

I taste peanut better AND apple every time I bite. And I only have to spread the PB once.

Meow to Monday's.

Up and At Em

My sinuses are exploding. I had one of those nights where you lay in bed concentrating deeply on breathing through your mouth because neither nostril is enabling airflow. It’s funny how much time you can spending thinking your are suffocating without actually suffocating.

I got up after two hours of this to use my neti pot and for the first time ever water would not go through. That makes for a tired, swollen me.

So, for motivation on this slow starting Monday morning, I’ll share my Yogi Teabag quote, “KEEP UP!”…(which I fear I’m just not doing in so many regards. It is pointed out to me on a daily basis.)

…And, this picture of a license plate my brother shared with me (I think it was actually sent to him from his roommate’s boss, which rocks. Participation is always welcomed and encouraged here.)

I guess this license plate was on a car driven by "a couple who had to be at least in their 80's"! - I hope I still have the Up and At Em mindset in my 80's. cheers to the owners of this car.

This license plate watch is kind of catching on!!!

For my own personal motivation here are the list of things that I have to get done on this Monday, regardless of how I feel.

1. Clean out my car completely.
2. Begin to organize my clothing - My goal is to leave for vacation this Friday with a clean bedroom.
3. Find a bathing suit.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Shoot-Out

I decided to participate in a blog group Friday Shoot-Out. There's a weekly topic...then you just photograph it how you want and Ta-Da you are in.

This week's theme - Colors of the Rainbow.

Here's my lil contribution.

Barking Spider Photos:

West Side Market:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sad & Pretty

Do you know anyone so emotionally powerful that their presence can actually bring you to tears – overwhelming, wonderful, positive tears?

People like this are a rare find, but you’ll know when you’ve encountered one because some part of you will feel like it’s bursting out of it’s seams uncontrollably.

And that’s how my morning went. I saw an old friend who is amongst a handful of people that make me feel about myself what I want to feel and see.

My little life failures get set aside for a moment and my world spins full of the best of me. It’s not that they are gone or sugar coated – they just aren’t important. They aren’t the focus. The connection goes far beyond the day-to-day. It gets into what counts.

My friend, she nurtures my soul. I see the better parts of me around her. I laugh, and hard. It’s such a release to have moments of pure self acceptance – especially in the presence of someone else. Caring eyes. Understanding eyes. Forgiving eyes. Encouraging eyes. It’s huge and empowering. And I appreciate it so much when it comes along in my life.

I didn't even realize how much I had missed my friend. And as I drove away I felt overwhelmingly happy and slightly depressed all at once. A departure that was sad & pretty.

Thank God for layovers in Cleveland!

Find the people that set your soul free and hang on tight. True happiness exists in the presence of connections that go as deep and span as wide as the soul.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This one, This one

There’s this scent that I want to purchase. It’s magnetizing, deep, fresh, and $46 per 1/8 of an ounce. I’ve been debating the purchase for almost a week now. I’ve been to the boutique where I found it twice now to try it on, let it mingle with my body chemistry. And we've got it, me and Moonstone, that thing that makes the air tingle pleasantly and dance right up to the nose.

For some reason the price doesn’t seem to be enough to deter me from my longing.

Yet, for such a relatively small purchase, I’m putting more time into debating than I did my car.

A friend suggested that I buy the scent and only wear it on “special occasions.”

I got to thinking about the meaning of that. To me every day seems like a special occasion in some ways. I’ve had plenty of things that I’ve stored away waiting for the “right time” the “special occasion”. Years later I dig them out of the box and can hardly remember what I was waiting for. I can't figure out what would have jumped out at me and said "hey I'm here, the good enough reason you were waiting for." And time passed. And little treasures were buried for nothing.

The truth is that every day can be an occasion if you make that your frame of mind. There is always something to celebrate. It’s always the right time to be good to yourself. It is always the right time to cherish the people around you.

If you save everything for an occasion that someone else denotes as special you’ll be doing a lot of waiting – and a lot of missing out on the reality that life is pretty darn special as is.

There are days that I wake up and go to breakfast nearly in my Pjs that feel more special than a big dress up dinner. It’s all perspective.

“What opportunities did we allow to flow by Feeling like the timing wasn't quite right? What kind of magic might have worked if we had stayed calm,
Couldn't I have given you a better life?

Did you ever take me in your arms, Look me in the eye, tell me that you do?
Did I ever open up my heart, Let you look inside?

If I never did it, I was only waiting For a better moment that didn't come.
There never could be a better moment than this one, this one.”
Paul McCartney, This One

Make this one your special moment. The time is only what you make of it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quiet Thoughts

I've been MIA since Friday - but all for good reason.

Celebrated our One Year Anniversary and went on a camping trip that was blessed with the most beautiful sunshine ever! I changed my blogger photo to a shot taken on the trip.

So I'm feeling good and enjoying life, just not thinking or articulating as much as it takes for me to come up with a well thought out entry.

Here's an old blog to fulfill my need for making regular and meaningful posts!

Sit Shivering (Written: Wednesday, September 12, 2007)
It was so cold in that room. But that was my purpose. I would open the windows in the dead of winter, shut the door and then leave to take a cool shower. When I returned, without drying off, I would dress in only a tank top and shorts which became damp quickly from my body. I still never dry off before putting clothes on.

I'd pour a glass of wine retrieve my sketch book and a pen and sit shivering, each individual finger so uncomfortably cold it would hardly move.

I wanted to be this uncomfortable on the outside, to match or maybe numb what I was feeling inside. Help the burning make its way to the surface. Ease the way I was feeling. It was my fight for a release.

I would cross-hatch each line of your silhouette into the paper, giving the burn inside of me somewhere to go. Fast strokes that used my entire arm to propel them because my fingertips were stiff and bigger movements meant some sense of warmth. I gave to each line the things I thought I needed to say. The places I wanted to be. The discontent I wanted to purge.

My talent for drawing doesn't exist, but on those few occasions I created something I could stand to look at. I still have them with me, hanging on the wall of my office. Reminding me of the places I had been before now. Reminding me how I got to where I am. They are small pieces of a big whole that I can't entirely remember because I worked very hard to numb everything that made me feel.

Friday, June 19, 2009

An Old Blog - Sentiments that might need to be heard again!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Post(er child) Apologies

I was the poster child for emotional confusion when I was a teenager. I hadn't really developed my self image because the understanding of what I was feeling inside wasn't even an option at that point. It didn't exist in the world I knew. There wasn't someone to talk to, because there wasn't something that I knew to talk about. I believed I was alone…and at the time I was.

Feeling isolated in this way could have set me off in many negative directions. But my way was to disconnect from any confusion, put on my clown suit, complete with a permanently smiling mask, and trudge through. Unfortunately this costume, my shield, meant that I was hurting the people around me instead carrying the weight of the pain alone.

I was mean to people. I bullied. I made life hard for other people who were going through their own struggles. I sought confidence and strength through other people's weaknesses. I projected attention off of myself with ill-willed jokes and onto those around me. I made people laugh, but it wasn't anything they should have been laughing at. I knew in my heart that if I let anyone close enough, if I shut up, they'd then be laughing at me. I wasn't about to let that happen.

The people I wasn't poking fun off of I was leaching emotional guidance and security from. I would separate from my core group of friends and those I was seeking to entertain, and I would come crawling with desperate need to the individuals I felt I could make a connection with, people who might force me to drop the costume and face my demons. People who might want to find the truth in me… people I desperately wanted to give my truth to. People who might understand without laughing, without judging.

All of the people who were dealing with me at that time deserve a form of apology. Believe it or not many of them I sought out years later and said my too little too late "I'm sorry" to, or "thank you for putting up with me at that time."

It was me who was being mean, but it was a me who was scared of silence, scared of the truth, scared of what it all meant. I didn't want to hear anything mean about myself. I didn't want to know that I might be different. I felt fragile inside, even though I was laughing on the outside. It was my farce. It was me who had to make noise to shut out pain. Me who needed to figure things out.

I've faced myself. And, I'm sorry. For those who knew me before I knew myself – I never meant to hurt them. In the end the shield that reflected my pain and shielded my confusion hurt me too, because I waited too long and I do feel bad.

Karma Karma C'mon

I feel like I'm in need of some sort of karmic balancing. Things are a bit topsy turvy this week - and not in my favor (at least not at first glance.)

At the beginning of the week I went to the ATM and left my card in the slot to be eaten up by the machine. That very same day I lost my keys and was stuck searching every inch of the falls for an hour before they were located again. Yesterday I left my keys in Old Navy and got pegged in the shin during my softball game. That's a lot of haphazardness for one week.

The first time I lost my keys in CVS it was definitely a payback for my laziness. I walked into the store, grabbed a basket to put my stuff in. Threw my keys in the basket and then choose some cereal bars, which I then threw in the basket on top of the keys. After walking around I decided the CVS prices were too high for the things I needed and I was being lazy not making my way to Marcs. So I ditched the basket in the aisle, keys and all (though I didn't know it at the time), and went back to work.

Come five there were no keys and I had no clue. I went into CVS one time and the girl at the counter couldn't be bothered to leave her soup to look around - so she said they were not there. I went to giant eagle...back to the office...called the police station to see if they had been turned in...then followed a hunch and went back to CVS. I looked on every shelf and then went back to the counter where, right in front of Soup Girl, I asked the man at the counter about the keys. He turned around and found them. So that was karma. I was too lazy to put the cereal bars back on the shelf and return the basket to where it belonged...Soup Girl was too lazy to look for my keys for me. I get that.

As far as the long list of other mishaps...I really need to figure out where I've shifted my karma negative...and right my wrong.

Of course I could think to msyelf...I lost my keys to avoid a car accident. Got hit in the leg so I would get out of the game in time to save myself a head injury or something worse. So, I guess it's all perspective.

But right now I'm feeling a little beat up. Still smiling, but beat up.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I'm going to stick with the topic of inspiration here, because it has been a good week for me.

Before I even posted my desire to begin communicating on a more intimate level via the USPS - my friend Amy (Amleru) had already written and sent me a postcard from the very book I referenced in my post Electronicspondance. That's a psychic connection we've had since the beginning of our friendship.

I always find myself retelling stories of our early days...these huge coincidences that just seemed to fall into place...turning perfect strangers into friends. One day I want her to retell the story to me to make sure I'm remembering everything right. Either way we've got a bit of a funky mind link that has served us well over the years.

I also received my first complete letter in the mail and managed to get one out as well. So, right now the effort is where the inspiration is. I love mail!!

My brother has been an amazing resource for great plate messages. He's finding one or two post worthy ones a day - I have to write stories behind them, but you'll see them popping up here and there.

I'm also looking to start take a few college courses to keep my brain stimulated and challenged. Finding the right courses to take is a bigger challenge than I expected...but I'm working on it.

It's all just feeling really good right now.

I hope that inspiration an action are lining up in your lives.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Travel and Music - Good Times

I've been getting some divine inspiration from the road lately. I think I mentioned that I kind of look to the plates for lil messages. How seriously or not I take them is up for debate...however it's fun.

This week has been personalized on the plate. My initials are JB and so far by license I should be more open to travel and music.

Keep your eye on license plate messages - let me know what you see!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It just needs to be said!

My brother Nick @ Onward Bound sent me this plate for my collection. Besides the fact that I love him dearly, this plate needs to be here because it's true. My blog brings me a lot of happiness. And for all that take the time to read it - well......

Monday, June 15, 2009

Too late? Never.

Someone was telling me a story about a person they heard about that was looking back over their life in their later years.

I’m retelling this story to you per my understanding of it and not in exact quotation of what was said to me, but it went something like this.

There was a person in their senior years of life that was recounting their past. They mentioned how at “middle age” they had considered taking up an instrument, but didn’t because they thought they were “too old”. Well at 80 or 90 or however old they were on the program, they said this of their realization, “wow, I could have been playing that instrument beautifully for 40 years already.”

Now, that’s perspective.

It’s easy to think that it’s too late to start doing something if we are looking backwards at life. Looking backwards means we are paying too much attention to years gone by.

If we keep our focus forward – the reality is that it’s never too late.

Do the things you want to do in life. Explore what you are curious about. Pursue your interests however flighty they may seem. And never say that a chance has gone by.

The only way to truly miss a chance is to pass it up in the moment you are in. The only moment that counts right now is right now.

What are you going to do to change or improve your life starting right now?
"See yourself as changing all the time. Encourage change in others. When you hear yourself uttering a fixed opinion, stop." - Deepak Chopra

Doodle the Day Away

I've been really creatively inspired lately. Wanting to use my hands. Wanting to make things. Wanting to think of new things to do and spend time on. It's exciting.

Whenever I'm in this stage of change I find myself doodling lots. Here's my new little friend from the weekend.

He needs a name. Any ideas?

Friday, June 12, 2009

To everyone I know (and don't)

I've gotten back into cherishing and sometimes photographing my Yogi teabags.

I go all weak in the knees over meaninful daily inspirations. In fact, at times I drink tea just to read the quotes.

Words are my temptation. And words that are surrounded by steam and and taste like tea - well, even better.

Today's message is really important and too easily overlooked.

In life it's so easy to focus on the things we do wrong. Our litte failures. People are eager to point them out to us...and if not careful we could make the mistake of giving them more weight than they are worth.

Plus, if we start focusing so closely on the things we do wrong we might even forget that there are enormous list of things we do right.

I myself know that I go to battle with my personal downfalls at least once a day. Throwing myself around in the rink. Weakening my worth mentally. Clouding my reality by exhausting energy on negatives.

Coincidentally, my dad said something to me this morning that really made sense.

I'm paraphrasing here, but he said - "We all have things about us that I bet we would change if we could. But that's not how it works. We are who we are."

And it's true. We are all good at some things and weak at others. There are some things we can try and try at and never improve (like me with organization).

They can be defeating for sure, but they are certainly not reason to beat ourselves up. Especially if we aren't hurting other people.

Be the best "you" you can be...but accept that you can't be perfect at everything.

You've got to "Appreciate yourself and honor your soul."

The world can be lonely and effort can truly be discouraging if we forget to appreciate who it is that we are. And that appreciation has to include an "okayness" with our little failures - because they aren't big deals. And most of the time there will be someone nearby that shines where we are a little rusty. We just have to be okay enough with ourselves to ask for help.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I am currently in the middle of reading a few books, however The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is my current page turner.

It has made me realize how much I truly love reading written correspondence. Letters back and forth between people are so intimate and telling - even if they are fictional.

The last book I had like this was Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock - it was given to me years ago by a dear friend I'll call Amleru. It is magic. You can pull the letters from envelopes inside the book and go through the entire tactile experience of reading their correspondence. It's a dream book for me and still one of my most cherished presents of all time.

All this letter reading has made me want to acquire a non-electronic pen pal. I love writing letters, but I'm one of only a few people I know that actually sends them out anymore. It's much more rewarding when there is a somewhat even exchange. Well that and something to talk about since we get all this instant information here online.

Still, I'm going to get back to putting pen to paper.

I think it is somewhat a shame that I now journal electronically, talk to all of my friends electronically, and even work electronically.

It's all missing the personal experience that makes connections so meaningful. I want to see people's handwriting and paper choices. I want to hold something someone else has held in their hands.

We have moved so far away from that kind of intimate. (And I say all this while typing to you on my blog. Oh, the irony.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Yogi teabag quote of the day - "Act, Don't React."

I feel like when confronted with things it is human nature to spend so much time assembling our response/defense/reaction in our heads that we forget to really listen or hear what is being said to us in the first place.

The moment we feel we are being disrespected or attacked we begin the process - we start assembling our next line, our defense. Unfortunately, in that exact moment we stop listening. Totally and completely. Because you can't listen when you are talking, even if the talking is only going on in your head.

None of us are above doing this, it's human nature. But, it's a huge communication flaw - and extremely destructive. The person speaking never feels heard for what they intend to say and the person "listening" never really takes in the message. We don't learn each other. We don't progress. We only shield ourselves from that which we don't want to explore. We create a defense for what may not actually have been an attack. We stop communication before it begins. We alter openness and honesty and turn it into a word game so far off the topic it's not worth talking at all.

What if we took the time to hear what was being said before assuming the worst, or assuming anything at all?

What if we were so okay with life that we didn't feel the need to defend ourselves at all?

Perception is one person's reality - but it isn't actual reality. It's actually a barrier to communication. An unavoidable barrier, but a barrier none-the-less.

We'd all be wise to assume less and listen more. It'd eliminate rash judgments and give us a bit more time to put together the actual picture instead of reacting to the one we create in our heads.
My advice: Drink tea for inspiration and comfort. Yogi is always there for me when I need it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I have a thing for doodling. Lately it's been a lot of birds. On wires. In trees. In flight. The stillness. Mothering. Leaving. Floating away.

And today I decided to transfer the pen to my skin.

Yogi teabag quote of the day - "A relaxed mind is a creative mind."

Book Etiquette

What do you do when you start a book that is really slow at the beginning or just doesn't seem to move you?

Is the right thing to set the book aside and move on or keep turning the pages and making it through.

I never can decide.

What do you do? How many pages do you give a book before you decide you just aren't going to give it a full read?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Self Approval - Check

What a great way to start every day. A small reminder that no matter what - you're okay.

Photo contributed by Erin

I have to admit I'm really loving being on the receiving end of all of these great license plate photos.

If you find a great one feel free to email a photo of it at jamiebelardo@gmail.com


Yogi teabag quote of the day - "Oneness is achieved by recognizing your self."

When I read this it makes total sense to me, but I want to take it one step further.
To me, "Oneness is achieved by recognizing yourself IN OTHERS."

We gain so much comfort in life by recognizing little pieces of our own actions in the people around us. So to me this quote means not only recognizing yourself and being content enough to say, "I'm Okay", but also to recognize that the successes and failures of others are the successes and failures of our own selves. We are all human and share so much. We are not above anyone else's downfalls. We are not greater in our success than anyone around us. In moments, and in little ways - we overlap ad are all the same.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Looking for something to put on your popcorn?

Try Hot Sauce!

Plate contributed by Nick at nickonwardbound.blogspot.com

Also - yesterday at the gas station the car at the pump next to me read "FAT IS IN". I loved it and wanted to take a photo, but the people were in the car and didn't look like they'd take to kindly to me snapping shots of their car.
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Thursday, June 4, 2009


Some things require momentum to carry on, some are simply bound by gravity.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Like the outstretched ash of a cigarette that’s been inhaled too long, it hangs there waiting to fall. Its crackle, the one separating now from the next moment’s irreparable shatter, is distinct.

It pops and moans at a speed a sad heart can’t reach. So the change has time to take place before your eyes.

A slow motion goodbye, begging for a soundtrack. A high pitched, anticipatory whine that dances through the eardrum loud enough to numb the brain.

In an instant too soon, your stubborn abiding lips pop open to feed a brain starving for more than nicotine. Oxygen swirls eagerly to fill the space and it happens.

These tiny flakes of the togetherness drift downward. And one-by-one they are stolen by the breeze.

A shrill cry picks up volume and pushes past the paper pressed between your lips. A flood of tears drown the remaining flame.


Serenity graduated from Kindergarten yesterday.

I'm so proud of her.

She looked so beautiful, took time during the ceremony to continually wave at her little brother, she sang in french, she sang in spanish, she sang every word. I love the look on her face when she's laughing. I love the way she interacts with her friends. I love how she can lead a group. I love the way she makes other people special even when the moment is hers.

Some people light our lives up from the very second that we meet them.

You go, girl.

License to Love

Today's license plate submission from Erin!

Thank you if you are sending me plate images!  I love it!

Yogi teabag quote of the day - " Empty yourself and let the universe fill you."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What's Your Why?

A dear friend of mine just sent me this license plate picture.


I felt inclined to answer.
"Love. Spontaneity. Raw Moments."

So what's your "why"?

What things are important to you? Why do you find yourself making the decisions you make in life? Are your reasons now notably different than they were before?