Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Anna's Retirement Party

Those of you who know me well will know that I rarely speak fondly of work. Actually as far as possible I try not to speak of work at all when I'm not there as it just stresses me out. BUT many will have heard me talk of my American mother Anna Spurling. Anna is 66 and from Charleston and I've worked with her since I moved to New York. We always eat lunch together in the kitchen, with Jose. A truly beautiful, warm loving person. She and I have become very close through the years. Unfortunately she is retiring and her last day is tomorrow. Yesterday we had a surprise retirement party for her. There was lots of laughter and tears and I was reminded of how great some of the people I work with. Jose was DJ:Mr. Craig, my old claims manager made an appearance 5 years after his own retirement to say goodbye to Anna (I always call him Mr. Craig, but his name is Bill) - he's pictured here with Vince Solarino:. Chuck collected most of the money which the staff gave to Anna as a parting gift - we collected $1000 which is not at all bad. Don, Muge, George Grauling, Saki, Vicki, Alex, Sheriece, Cheryl - all people who I have a great fondness for and would miss tremendously if I left:

Oh yes and we also invited Anna'a daughter, Sonia and her 'play son' Javan: OK so perhaps a little bit of my heart does live in this town. I'm going to miss Anna like crazy - but she's one lady who I know will always be a part of my life:)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Weekend in Connecticut

Was invited to a cocktail party at Christine Norton's house in Cos Cob, Connecticut. Despite Sinead's and my juvenile sense of humor and merciless tormenting, Christine went ahead with the purchase of her house two years ago which is proudly situated on 'Mianus view' or as I affectionately refer to her street ' my anus' view.

We drank champagne and chopped veggies before the guests arrived. Christine's house looks very Christmassy and her tree puts my little Charlie Brown Christmas tree to shame. Lots of new people and by 12 I'm ashamed to say I passed out cold on the couch. Then to bed. One of my favorite things about Christine's house is the bed in her spare room.

This is one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in. Its also nice because when you wake up you can look right out of the window. I'd planned to get up early and jet BUT this bed held on to me til 10ish. I then sat and had a good catch up with Christine. We went through photo albums, talked about work, men, Mexico, friends and then headed out for lunch before I drove home in horrible sleety, windy, gray weather.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Naturalization Interview!!!!!

Well I'd just about reconciled myself to the prospect of not getting my citizenship interview until June (following my immigration attorney checking with the immigration services and being told 4-6 months still to go). I no longer was checking my mail box anxiously. I'd started to try to look on the bright side - if I don't get my US citizenship until September/ October at least I'll save more money, what's meant to be will be etc.

So tonight I picked up my mail after Spanish class and WOO HOO!!!!! I have an appointment on February 15 for my citizenship interview and test.

MEXICO suddenly is not looking so far away. VERY HAPPY ABOUT THIS:)

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Just returned from a business trip to Canada where there was 2 feet of snow on the ground. Then last night I went to Michele and Tom Henessey's for a Holiday party. Drove home this morning listening to Carols sung by Mario Lanza and began to feel very Christmassy. I had lunch with Carey and she asked if I was going to get a tree this year. I hadn't been going to bother because I go home for Christmas. Then I was in Shop Rite and there were cute little Christmas trees in pots for $14. I'd invited Jeff, Aaron and Cat over for dinner (Christmas curry - a great Geordie tradition), so I decided to get a little tree. I've always been a tinsy bit sentimental and have a chest full of tree decorations. I enjoyed dressing the little tree. I still have some ornaments from when I was a little girl. Some that my grandmother gave me and some that I chose myself when I lived with a boyfriend back in Newcastle (I was very grown up back then!).

So here is my little tree in my cosy kitchen.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Adios Hans, Allie & Stu Mac...

All of my favorite friends are leaving me:-( Stuart MacDonald, who I work with, is my American brother and a very close friend and confidant. Stuarts relationship advice has proved to be suspect, but he is very good at cheering me up when I've had a rough time. The kind of guy I can sit and chat to on my sofa in my jim jams (Stuart stayed with me for a month between apartments). So Stuart left last night for a job in Vancouver. I've had such a stressful time at work recently that Stuart's leaving kind of crept up on me and now I'm a little sad.

Then today I had lunch with Allie and our Spanish teacher Mercedes and realized that it would be the last time I see her and Hans before they leave to live in Playa Del Carmen on January first. I'm going to miss them both a lot. All three kindred spirits.

With Anna Spurling, my American Mother, retiring at the end of the year it feels like a change is in the air. All my peeps are leaving me!

Hans & Allie did say one of them will meet me in Texas if I drive down to Playa Del Carmen in July so I don't have to make it through Mexico alone. That was nice.

So I've invited myself to Jeff's house for dinner. I don't believe he has any immediate plans to leave NYC. He was also able to tempt me with a Christmas tree and a glass of burgundy. Perhaps I'll bring some Christmas tunes.

Cat, Michele, Carey & Jeff are not allowed to move anywhere any time soon!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


It was nice to get back to Cozumel again. Some things had been praying on my mind in New York and I always find the diving here washes all of the worries away. Michele has promised to write a guest spot on our cave diving experiences. Exciting, challenging and beautiful...

So diving.... A favorite is the arrow crab. They always seem so busy and I imagine them shouting at me with a little voice that sounds like they have held their nose or taken a good breath of helium. I think that it is the shape of their heads, rather than an actual nose which sticks up in the middle of their little faces. But I like to think of them as little willow the whisp type characters with some very important business at hand. Its kind of evil but I do like to grab them out of their little holes and put them in my hands. I always put them back in the same spot - but I do like to see them get all fussed up!! They do try to attack with those tinsy little claws - its so cute:) "ouch, stop - put me down, put me down, I have very important business to attend to today on my pink spong, take that you big ruffian".
We met up with Sophia in Playa and life seems to be going well for her. Also spent time with Josie. Dove every day (buseo cadi dias) with Juan Avilla - a ready made Mexican dad. Colebra and Benjamin both were helping me practice my Spanish. Their English is only a little better than my Spanish so this works quite well.

Was also nice to see Monica from the whale shark trip. Cozumel flew over so fast we didn't get to hang out - but when I move to Cozumel she'll be a nice friend. Miguel said he has a friend who is English and has a hair dressing salon - excellent - and a gym where they do yoga.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Off to Mexico again this weekend....

I'll be spending a 5 days in Playa del Carmen Cave Diving in the Cenotes and then 4 days in Cozumel. http://www.divingplayadelcarmen.com/images/map-pdc2web.jpgLooking forward to my trip. Just came back from Spanish class with Mercedes and hopre to be brave enough to try some of it out, or at least hope to understand more.

I have mixed feelings about taking my Cavern and intro to cave courses. The Cenotes look beautiful but the prospect of being in a cave so far from the surface is a little scarey. Thankfully my friend Michele who is taking the course with me is even more cautious than I am when it comes to diving so we should be OK. Its also very easy for me to communicate with her underwater. http://www.discoverydiving.com/images/photos/charlienelson/1004-625%20Vaca%20Ha.JPG
Excited about seeing all of my Mexican friends too. Also will hopefully meet up with Sophia, Cat, Jessica, Travis and Jordan - phew, more people to see than on a trip back to Newcastle!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Only Fools and Horses

OK I'm getting carried away on Utube, but I'm teaching a scuba class and they are doing their exams. So I'm using my time wisely - these clips make me pee my pants:

Horse Riding

This morning I felt great after about 10 hours sleep (by the way the Dali Lama says sleep is the best meditation and I absolutely agree - particularly on my desk at lunch time - but I digress). So after cleaning up my apartment, doing laundry, talking to my parents, few friends , lunch, I decided to check out a fairly local riding school. I used to ride in England and was always a little scared. Firstly because horse riding is scary, secondly because I would ride with my mother who would work me up into a terrified frenzy on the drive to the stables and lastly - well because riding horses is dangerous. I think the only sport more dangerous statistically is formula 1 (forget where I read that but it stuck). Hell look at poor Chrisotpher Reeves. Anyway I went out to Rockleigh Equestrian Center. The drive was spectacular as fall has been late this year and the roads were lined with trees in burning oranges and reds. The class I was able to watch was two young girls, and although it was English style, the instructor was a bit basic. They were doing jumping and cantering and the horses looked nice. I really wanted to give it a go. Had a little chat with the instructor afterwards and she didn't really understand dressage. Another downside of this place was that it does not have an indoor school which means riding in the winter is out. Next time I have some free time I am going to check out Bergen Equestrian Center (40 Fort Lee Rd, Leonia, 201 242 1920). Not sure if this place has an indoor school but the Columbia University Equestrian team practice there. OK so for those of you who don't know what dressage is here is a cool clip from utube. Obviously I am not quite up to this standard yet - after a few weeks of training though who knows!!!

I have finally found my husband!!

OK so I may have a little competition here. Non the least, one of my friend's Allie, who despite being very happily married is also in love with this man. I lifted this clip off Allie's blog, primarily because she's better at Spanish than I am and has been able to translate his lyrics, which are very sweet. I have forgiven Jorge for his part in my being pulled over last week. JORGE DREXLER:

By the way Allie if you read this could you translate 'Samba del Olvido' next?? I tried but I'm pretty sure I'm missing a lot of it:)

Here are the lyrics in Spanish:

El velo semitransparente
del desasosiego
un día se vino a instalar
entre el mundo y mis ojos...
Yo estaba empeñado en no ver
lo que ví, pero a veces

la vida es más compleja de
lo que parece...

Pensaste que me iba a quebrar
y subiste tu apuesta,
me hiciste sentir el sabor
de mi propia cocina...
Volví a creer que se tiene
lo que se merece,
la vida es más compleja de
lo que parece...

Todas las versiones
encuentran sitio en mi mesa...
Todas mis canciones
por una sola certeza.

No quiero que lleves de mi
nada que no te marque.
El tiempo dirá si al final
nos valió lo dolido...

Perderme, por lo que yo ví
te rejuvenece,

la vida es más compleja de
lo que parece...

Mejor, o peor, cada cual
seguirá su camino...
Cuánto te quise, quizás,
seguirás sin saberlo...
Lo que dolería por siempre,
ya se desvanece,

la vida es más compleja de
lo que parece...

Here's Allie's translation:
The semi-transparent veil of unrest
One day came between my eyes and the world
I was committed to not seeing what I saw, but sometimes

Life is more complex than it seems

You thought that I was going to fold
and you raised your bet
You made me feel the taste of my own cooking (better translated as "You made me lie in the bed I made" or a similar sentiment)
I came to believe that people get what they deserve

Life is more complex than it seems

All of the versions have a place at the table
All of my songs with one sole certainty

I don't want you to take from me anything that doesn't mark you
Time will tell in the end if all the pain was worth it to us

Losing me, from what I see, rejuvenates you

Life is more complex than it seems

For better or worse, everyone will go on their way
How much I loved you, maybe you will continue without knowing
What would hurt forever is already fading

Life is more complex than it seems

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Brush With the Law

So for the first time in my life I was pulled over speeding yesterday. I was on the way to Dutch Springs Quarry to teach my last class of the season. It was 6am, the roads were clear and I was listening to Jorge Drexler and trying to translate the lyrics in my head. Flying along on a clear highway. When I saw flashing lights behind me... FUCKERY!!! was my first thought. But what can you do. I pulled over. Luckily my friend Michele, a fellow traffic felon, had been pulled over last year with me in her car, so I knew the drill. I put my interior light on (nothing to hide here) and my hands on the wheel (I didn't want the poor guy to think I might pull a gun on him). He let me sweat for a few minutes and then came up and shone his flash light into the back of my car. He saw my scuba gear and asked if I was going to Dutch Springs. A lucky break... do I detect a fellow diver. Again, following Michele's coaching, I decided to come clean. Apparently I was traveling at 85mph in a 65 zone. I fessed up that I'd been consumed by the music I was listening to and the clear road and had just lost track of my speed. My documents were collected and again I was subjected to a wait while he radioed in my info and checked my record. Time for a quick prayer, both fingers crossed. FINALLY the nice police officer came back and said he was going to 'cut me a big break' instead of giving me four points on my license (which would have meant a huge insurance hike) he would let me off with a written warning. Relief.. A close call though and this meant that I had to drive excruciatingly slowly during the rest of my journey to Dutch Springs. I am now thinking of investing in one of those radar detector things that Jeff has.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


This weekend my friend Jessica visited. Jessica was the first real friend I met in America and we worked out that we've now known each other for over 10 years. We met working at Dough Roller, a very sophisticated pizza place, in Ocean City MD and have been friends since. We traveled to Thailand together, which was my first taste of the Far East. It was really nice to see an old friend who knows me well (I think the old me is kind of different from me now - BUT then kind of exactly the same:)

On Saturday we did a rebounding class at the gym, which is a crazy aerobics class on a little trampoline. Lots of the girls looked really fit. Jessica and I looked like a couple of 2 year olds, flopping around! It was fun though. Then we went to Short Hills Mall. My first time shopping since the Spring. As a rule I don't think walking round a mall looking for things I want is a very productive way to spend my time (or money when I should be saving for Mexico) and I absolutely get what the Dali Lama says about needing possessions being one of the main causes of human unhappiness BUT there is something delicious about spending $60 on a tub of moisturiser which smells good enough to eat!

For dinner we went to O Neale's - where, within 10 minutes someone commented on how great my new body lotion smelled - yes a truly wise purchase! I have discovered that they make really good fresh Margaritas. We left early and came back to my apartment to look through old albums and talk about old times - when we would have been out partying, rather than talking in our Jim Jams.

Oh and the reason we look so miserable in that picture is that we had spent all night trying to take a picture where we both looked nice. Obviously there was something terribly wrong with my camera this evening...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Alex Kirkbride's American Waters

On Wednesday night I met Cat, Allie, Hans and Aaron at a bar in the
city where Alex Kirkbride was giving a talk about his new
photography book. He inspired my longing to travel and
made me more convinced that buying my car was the right thing
to do. Also looking forward to getting a good digital camera.
A stolen and abandoned car at a disused quarry in Illinois.

His pictures were pretty cool. He had taken three years and traveled
around the States taking one underwater picture in every state. The
picture above is a stolen car at a disused quarry in Illinois. The next
are of a 20 yr old blind cat fish in San Marcos Texas, a rain pond
in Connecticut, an Atlantic sand tiger shark on the papoos wreck off
North Carolina:
This 20-year-old blind catfish in San Marcos, Texas, is one of the last survivors from when its lake was part of an amusement park.
The last shot from the last state - a rain pond in Connecticut. Atlantic sand tiger shark on the Papoose wreck, North Carolina.

More from the Dali Lama...

Simple life....
"If one's life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness. Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is vital: satisfaction with just enough food, clothing, and shelter to protect yourself from the elements. And finally, there is an intense delight in abandoning faulty states of mind and cultivating helpful ones in meditation."

Awakening mind...
" The awakening mind is also compared to the sun because when the sun has risen, not only is darkness unable to obscure it, but even a single ray of sunlight can dispel darkness."

Friday, October 19, 2007

From the Dali Lama

"When we develop deep conviction in the law of cause and effect, we will be able to perceive the causes and conditions of our own sufferings. Our Present happiness or unhappiness is nothing more or less than the result of previous actions."

And on meditation:

I will maintain a state without thoughts.

The mind is generally directed towards external objects. Our thoughts
follow external experiences remaining at a sensory/ conceptual level.
In meditation we draw the mind inward and don't allow it to be
distracted by external experience, nor allow it to dull, but stay alert.

Try to see the natural state of your consciousness. Where your
consciousness is not afflicted by thoughts of the past, memories nor
thought of future plans, fears or hopes.

Remain in a natural and neutral state. Imagine the mind like a river
flowing strongly where you cant see the river bed. If there was some
way that you could stop the river flowing from both directions - where
its coming from and where it is going to, then you could keep the water
still and this would allow you to see the bed of the river.

Similarly when you can free the mind from thinking of the past or
future, being totally blanked out, then you will be able to see that
under the turbulence of the thought processes there is an underlying
stillness and clarity of mind.

At first when you experience this form of consciousness you might
experience it in the form of a sort of absence. This is because we are
used to seeing our mind in terms of external objects. We tend to look
at the world through our concepts and images so that when you withdraw
from these external objects you almost cannot recognize your mind.

As you get used to it you will start to recognize an underlying
clarity, a luminosity. That's when you come to appreciate and realize the
natural state of the mind.

Monday, October 1, 2007

New Orleans

I arrived Friday night, late and went right to my hotel and bed. The wedding was on Sat at 6, which gave me all day to explore. I'd been to New Orleans when I was 21 for a day or two with Jacqueline. I'd been a baby back then. We'd met two guys who'd taken us to various jazz bars. What I saw was pretty much the same. Perhaps a little more of the cacky (sp?) shorts and beer bong brigade.
So Saturday I think I was one of the first people in the city to wake up. I had breakfast, read and then took a short walk to the river, past Jackson Park, followed by a quick tour of the voodoo museum. At 11 I met with my friend John Karpousis which was nice, as I'd not hung out with him for ages. We found an outside cafe, with live Jazz and drank bloody Mary's. Then we walked around - enjoying the freedom of drinking beers from plastic cups as we walked. John plays lead guitar in a band who were formerly more active than they are now (wife, son, partnership, Nutley) and he loved the streets of N.O. It is a very good thing that John did not discover New Orleans as a younger man, or I think it might have easily been he (or equally me) we crossed the street to avoid: people around my age who looked like New Orleans had been pretty savage to them: tattooed, sunburned, homeless, drug dead eyes. That (and of course the devastation of hurricane Katerina) is the sad part of New Orleans and the part that brings this party town crashing back into reality. All in all, though a very nice day: Sunshine, music and a few beers with friends.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Gina's wedding

Went to my friend Gina's wedding this weekend in her home town of New Orleans. It was really nice to see her so happy. Gina and I met through work when I first moved to New York. She is a salt of the earth kind of girl. Very good person with lots of humility and sometimes a little crazy. My kind of mix! Jeff - well I've only met him once before - but all reports are that he is a good guy. New Orleans weddings are a little different - more standing, eating, drinking, dancing than the Newcastle weddings I've been too -well except for the drinking - Newcastle has that covered!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wolf Fetish

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Well I took a trip to the Museum of the American Indian at lunch time and found a little wolf carved in pipe stone with turquoise eyes and backpack. He's a Zuni Fetish (what???).
The Zuni Pueblo Indians, from New Mexico, feel that animals are endowed with unique spiritual powers, and that the fetish is the embodiment of these spirits. These carvings are believed to contain the animal's spirit and possess a power to help, protect, and guide its owner. The owner may summon their own similar attributes from the carving. They are used to remember or enhance connections with nature. Carved from rock and semi-precious stones, Zuni fetish carvings are used in daily life for good luck, prosperity and health. The heartline of turquoise represents the living essence within the stone body, while the backpack is an offering to the animal spirits. Apparently the Wolf stands for enlightenment.

I also read this about the wolf which I liked:

Early American Indians and settlers existed together in harmony with the wolf. Respected as a wise and cunning hunter, many of the wolf ' s ways were adopted by these pioneers. It wasn't until the white man became a "shepherd", later to be known as the rancher; raising livestock for food instead of hunting wild game, that the wolf became a threat to him, and therefore his enemy.
The inherent nature of the white man is to control that which he does not understand, otherwise destroy it. As he began to hunt wild game as a sport, this further decreased the wolf's popularity. As a result, he set out to destroy the wolf and nearly succeeded. As civilization rapidly progressed, he continued to distance himself further from the wilderness, while the wolf remained a wild predator.

The wolf is associated with the East & the color white.


Yesterday I was feeling a little worn down after a long, arduous week at work and spending my weekend indoors with a particularly trying set of executive class students (yes it was perfect beach weather on Sunday). My energy levels were at a low. So I decided to throw some cushions out on my fire escape and read a book on Shamanism as the sun went down. Very peaceful; and well worth the 5 mins prep time that usually puts me off climbing out onto my fire escape. Shaman draw spiritual strength from nature. They perform rituals using representations of earth, wind, fire and water and also form strong connections with animals. They collect totems which they use for strength. Often crystals or representations of animals (anything from a ceramic figure of a bear to a wolf’s claw or actual wing of a falcon). The rituals they perform with these totems are said to draw the strength of the animals into their own souls. Interesting stuff, particularly as I have been finding increasingly, of late, that spending time in nature has a profound effect on my spirit (just as the office, watching television, dealing with other people’s nonsense and the like, saps the energy from my soul). I decided that perhaps I would give one of these Shaman rituals a shot. I’d started a vague hunt for a suitable totem once before. At first I’d started collecting shells and twigs I liked, I tend to find such treasures often when I dive or hike. I’m guessing trees have powerful energies but shell fish not so much. I decided to start small and planned to drop by the Museum of the American Indian on the way home from work. I was planning to find a wolf like Herman Hesse’s Stepphenwolf (a wolf who scavenges on the steps of a town). A loner, too tame to run wild with the wolves and to wild to live at peace in the town. I definitely have an affinity with such a wolf. More later.

Dad's Black Eye

My poor Dad walked into his bedroom door in the dark this week, when my mother woke him up to go and see why the cat was crying.
He has had to explain to everyone that he waked into a door (Ahem.. likely story).

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Lennox MA Sept 9/10

Cat, Allie, Sue and I had planned a girls weekend in Lennox to see the two intuitives we'd seen last time. Unfortunately Sue and Cat couldn't come. Allie and I left early Sat morning and got to Carols for lunch. We then went to see Sheilaa. I enjoyed it, and spending some time thinking about me. I had a drive in the rain while Allie went in and then we went for a run/ walk near the nature trail where we'd ran the last time. I was not feeling fit - we decided we must be at high altitude (yeah right!) as both of us felt crappy running. I was kind of pleased to take it down to a stroll. We saw tons (well around 6) little tiny red salamanders on the road - one squashed. They were cute and probably babies as they just looked stunned when we came near them. I think they were the babies of this puppy:


I lifted one of their little feet up with my key and it just let me. I have decided that I am a stroller not a hiker. You miss too much hiking and get all hot and sweaty.

Then we had a good dinner on the porch at NAPPA and a quick drink in a local bar. We'd hoped for live music, story telling or poetry reading. Instead we got drunken 50 something men drinking pints of Black Russians, red wife beaters and lots of ogling.

The air was fresh and we slept with the window open which I love to do. Breakfast at Carols followed by some time with Vicki. She had an old Cat like bigsy (not as handsome, or young looking - ofcorse) and we talked about spirit guides and Mexico. While I waited for Allie I drove to a spot we'd passed on the way in called Olivia's outlook. I lay on a wall overlooking the Housatonic river. The view was framed in trees and the backdrop, rolling hills. Very peaceful here. I toyed with the idea of a snooze but ended up just lying down and listening to the the humming of the insects and singing of the birds. I moved on when an ant crawled onto my waist. Nice weekend. Allie was easy to spend time with - after hours of driving two lunches a stroll and a dinner you'd think we would have exhausted just about every topic of conversation under the sun. But I'm pretty sure that we'd have had more to discuss if the drive had been longer!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Thoughts on moving to Mexico

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream." -Mark Twain

Scene from the Wizard of Oz:
Glinda: [Dorothy] always had the power to go back to Kansas but she had to learn it for herself.
Scarecrow: What have you learned Dorothy?
Dorothy: Well I've learned that if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again I wont look any further than my own back yard, because if it isn't there I never really lost it to begin with."

Perhaps Dorothy had to go to Oz to discover Kansas, like Siddhartha said to Buddha: "not for one moment did I doubt that you were the Buddha and that you have reached the goal that thousands are striving to reach. You have done so by your own seeking in your own way, through thought, through meditation, through knowledge, through enlightenment. You have learned nothing through teachings, and so I think O Illustrious One, that nobody finds salvation through teachings. The teachings of the enlightened Buddha embrace much, they teach much - how to live rightoeusly, how to avoid evil. But there is one thing that is clear, worthy instruction does not contain; it does not contain the secret of what the Illustrious One himself experienced - he alone among hundreds of thousands. That is what I thought and realized when I heard your teachings. That is why I am going on my way - not to seek another and better doctrine, for I know there is none, but to leave all doctrines and all teachers and to reach my own goal alone... We seek release from the self... if I were one of your followers I fear that it would only be on the surface and I would deceive myself that I was at peace and had attained salvation while the Self would continue to grow." Siddhartha chose to return to the life of the world - he wanted to learn through his own experiences of life how to become like Buddha: "I, also, would like to look and smile, sit and walk like that, so free, so worthy, so restrained, so candid, so childlike and mysterious. A man only looks like that when he has conquered his Self. I will conquer myself"

And I am not sure that many have compared Dorothy Gayle with Siddhartha!

9.1-2.07 Jorney to Holbox...

We arrived at Village Tanka and left almost immediately to take the ferry to Playa Del Carmen. We were joined by a long time customer of Roberta's Ed and Monica (originally from Mexico City, worked in the Fury office). We met Roberta and Jose in Playa where they had already rented cars. Jeff drove us to Chiquila via some small shanty towns. It is amazing that people still live this way. Mayan style wooden slat buildings with steel roofs and dirt floors. Most seemed to house families in only one small room - smaller than my bedroom. Probably hammocks would be hung at night for the family to sleep in. A rain storm had come through just before us and huge tarantulas, bigger than my hand, crawled out of the undergrowth to dry off on the road. We saw a monkey chained to a tree in a yard. People all looked well dressed, however humble the dwellings.When we arrived in Chequila we were picked up by Abraham (our whale shark guise) and Francisco 'Chino', our boat Captain.
The ride to Holbox was pretty with the sun setting off the port side of the boat. The ocean was flat calm and the boat dropped us off right up on the beach at our hotel 'Esmiralva'.

Allie and I shared a room overlooking the ocean.
We took golf carts to dinner as cars aren't allowed on the Island. The town was a little like San Pedro, Belize - but cleaner and with nicer people. Back at the hotel we saw a bug the size of a banana:
In the morning I got up early and walked on the beach. The sound of the waves lapping the shore was hypnotic - little shells lined the waters edge and the water trickled through them as it made its way back from the shore.

Snorkling with the Whale Sharks 9.1.07

Unfortunately I got a little excited during filming this clip:) The whale shark was amazing, gentle, curious, huge, a little scary and beautiful!!! The local fishermen call them 'domino' fish and for years no-one realized that these domino fish were whale sharks. We took turns for 3 min swims in sets of two. I went in with Jeff first and then Monica twice. You could see him keeping one eye on us as he slowly swam in circles around us. He must have found us somewhat amusing as there was no real reason for him to stay in the area. I was a little wary of his tail, so tried to keep close to his head, off to the side so he could see what I was doing.

Monday, August 27, 2007


My cat Bigsy lives with my parents in England he's 14 years old and I love him to death. He's like a big tiger (in a big tabby cat kind of way). He's a very handsome cat and a big flirt (especially when he wants food which is why we sometimes call him pigsy) also very occasionally a bit of a scaredy cat. Anyway lovely, gentle bigsy has a nasty skin infection on his little ears and swollen paws which the vet says may be a auto immune condition which could develop into cancer. Of course Bigsy only knows that he has sore feet and ears and people keep taking him to the nasty vet. I hope my little man makes a full recovery.