Trying To Live My Best Life

I’m trying out the WordPress Blogging 101 University again. One of these days I will learn to blog better, at least I’ll keep trying!

Our assignment? To tell you, the Universe, why I’m blogging instead of keeping a personal journal. The answer? I do both, and neither as often as I’d like. I journal to let out my anger, record my thoughts so I can look back on them in later years and remember what this time was like, to explore private thoughts and learn about myself. I blog to share, and to seek feedback from you.

One day I was practicing Kundalini yoga using a DVD of Maya Fiennes and working on Chakra 5, my voice. I’ve always had trouble expressing my needs to others, or even admitting them to myself. In my memory I tried to express myself as a child but if my thoughts/feelings/opinions weren’t the ones my parents thought I “should” hold, then they were considered back-talking and more often than not I’d be in trouble for them. In fact for the most part the only trouble I ever got in was for back-talking. I didn’t drink, didn’t sneak off to the woods to smoke, didn’t steal, didn’t take drugs, didn’t fail to make good grades … but I did “talk back” i.e. say what I thought about a situation. Perhaps I could have tried a different approach, a different tone of voice, a different way of expressing myself but I just stubbornly insisted on speaking my mind. But over time I learned not to own my truth, not to speak my mind, just to think it but outwardly acquiesce.

I suffered from horrible sore throats — strep throat — as a child until finally the doctor said I was old enough to have my tonsils removed to cure the problem … and miraculously I never had strep throat again, at least for years. I always had such a high-pitched voice, even as a 40-year-old, that folks on the phone thought I was a kid. All these signs my body was sending me telling me to OWN MY VOICE.. to speak up, to open up. Determined in my late 40s to give it a try, I was dedicated to practicing the DVD that promises with 40 days of use to accomplish that goal of unblocking my Fifth Chakra when “an enriching life” popped into my head as a phrase that symbolized what I wanted. A rich life not with monetary wealth but with fullness, friendships, experiences, spirituality, and abundance of health, joy, and love.

so this blog is the result. As soon as my DVD ended I hoped up, signed up for the domain An Enriching Life and started to write about any subject I feel has enriched my life or might enrich yours. OK I haven’t done such a great job at it but it’s still a worthy goal and one I’m going to keep attempting to reach.

Blogging itself has enriched my life by giving me an outlet for my random thoughts and sometimes helping to put them in some sort of order. Here’s hoping I get better at it, for your sake as well as my own!
Blessings and Happy 5th of July!


Adding A Blavatar To My Blog … And How Hopeless I Really Am

I’m so hopeless when it comes to anything touching on coding, or requiring any computer skills What So Ever. Eons ago I even took a Fortran programming course in college. Clearly my college counselor who, looking at my background, advised me to include that class on my schedule was inept, and I was even more clearly insane. I had only basic math and that from horrid teachers who hung on only due to the school district’s complete inability to fire anyone. I’d never had calculus and barely any algebra and now I was in a course in which I was to write a program to perform calculus, or some such thing. My Fortran professor was incredibly frustrated that I showed up at every Office Hour, asking what I’m sure were inane questions attempting to figure out what the hell I was supposed to be doing.

Why I did not drop the class I will never know. Finally, fortunately, I found a guy who liked me and was willing to help. But he preferred just to do my work rather than attempt the probably hopeless task of actually teaching me how to do it (which of course wasn’t his job, anyway). So yes, I’m embarrassed to say I somehow made it through that class with his help, scraping by with a D. But I learned nothing about programming other than how precise and perfect you must be in writing code if you want to avoid having the entire thing crash and how incredibly frustrating it is to work for hours and then have to start all over because of one typo that it takes forever just to find.  I guess I learned one more thing, which is that computer programming is not for me.  One possible career choice down, one million more to go!

Although I couldn’t do Fortran programming, the old pre-windows DOS computers communicated with you, giving you, the user, some indication of what was going on.  So that I could sometimes figure out what was wrong and, on occasion, even  do something about it.   But then came Windows and I couldn’t see how things worked and all these years later I have absolutely no idea how to do even the most basic thing. All of which is a long way around to my topic of attempting to add a Blavatar to my blog.  Which requires me to find a photo I like and then figure out how to get it into my blog.

So I searched Getty Images which I just learned had images that could be used, except I cannot figure it out.  I can’t just download a photo instead I have to “embed this text,” and somehow a photo will appear. But if it isn’t already looking like a photo I can’t figure out how to make it appear as a photo in my “Customize Header” page.  There’s no option there for “embed text” it’s just “upload image.”  I give up.  But I do like the photo and I can figure out how to embed text into the blog itself so it’s not a complete waste.  And it created my blog post for the day.  Here’s the photo that started it all …

Embed from Getty Images

Since “they” say Practice Makes Perfect I won’t give up. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll get the hang of this blogging thing!


Fact or Fiction?

You’ll see on my Goodread’s sidebar that I have several books on my “reading” shelf and they are a mix of Fact (London: A Biography) and Fiction (The Fiery Cross).  Of course those two aren’t that different — one reason I enjoy historic fiction is that I’m learning about history at the same time as I’m enjoying the story about people living during that historic time.  I enjoy mixing it up — and that’s one reason I joined Ann Patchett’s Parnassus bookstore’s First Edition club.  (I’m in Warwick’s First Edition Club as well, but it almost always features fiction, whereas Parnassus mixes it up.

The Parnassus First Edition monthly selection a few month’s ago was In The Kingdom of Ice: The Grand And Terrible Polar Voyage.  I have exactly no interest in ice or the North Pole or voyages thereto, or even the 1880s time period.  So never would I have picked up that book to read.  But dutifully, and trusting Ann’s judgment, I opened to page one and started reading and soon was enthralled by the courage and preparation and adventurous spirit and attitude of those brave men who went forth to find a sea passage to the North Pole and wound up in a place where Northern Siberia — 1,000 miles away — looked like heaven on earth.  In fact I sometimes pick up non-fiction books more often just to try to up our average, after reading that in general after graduation adults read only two non-fiction books for the rest of their lives!!!  Seriously?  Two?  There is so much to learn, and it’s so much fun doing it, I can’t imagine missing out on all the wonderful non-fiction that’s right at our fingertips, thoroughly researched and beautifully written words of wisdom and insight and knowledge.

But after a non-fiction I’m always ready to just have fun with or be scared by someone’s imagination by digging into a good novel.  I’m glad I can move between the two without having to read just one and not the other.  The answer to the Daily Prompt for me, then, is Fact AND Fiction … one right after the other, learning and imagining and enjoying them all!


Blogging 101: Intro to A Brave New World

OK, it isn’t completely new.  I started my blog last year, or even the year before.  First, to write about my vacation.  Then, one early morning when I was still doing Kundalini Yoga and working on Chakra 5 the Voice the thought that I wanted to do things that enriched my life popped into my head.  And it had nothing to do with travel.  Or, at least (since travel can be enriching) it wasn’t limited to only travel.  So I started An Enriching Life.  Now I’m the proud owner of two blogs, both of which sit unused most of the year.  Until I find spurts of energy or inspiration, like now!

This is me, with my husband, taking our tourist shot of the Prime Meridian on our vacation to the UK this summer …

Straddling the Eastern and Western Hemispheres in Greenwich, UK

Straddling the Eastern and Western Hemispheres in Greenwich, UK

I love, adore, am passionate about, dream of Europe.  Always have, presumably always will.  When I was dating my husband I went with him on lots of trips to the Tropics (his dream locale).  As soon as we married, I declared it my turn and ever since we’ve been getting to Europe as often a I can get us there.  Which is never often enough but so much more than I ever dreamed would be possible.

I love planning the trips almost as much as being there.  The research, the finding little out-of-the-way “secret” places to visit, the days on which special admissions may be had … I once considered becoming a Travel Agent and now I don’t know why I never did.  And I love to read, research, and write.  My husband encouraged me to start a blog and it seemed the perfect way to share our trip with our friends and family — I could just direct them to my blog and everyone could live vicariously through me.  But it’s time consuming to upload the photos and remember exactly what we did when, especially when it’s months afterward before I get around to finding time to blog.  And so my travel blog is very light on postings.

Despite not posting much in my one blog, I had the brilliant idea of starting a second blog, An Enriching Life, so I could expand past travel entries into spirituality and other topics that have enriched my life and that I want to share with others.  So now I have two blogs and still very few posts, and have yet to master the most basic blogging tools.  But I’m persistent if nothing else so will try Blogging 101 and see if that is the secret ingredient I’ve been missing all this time.

My goal — that a year from now I can look back at a long list of blog posts that get better as they go along, that have more variety and more use of the tools offered by WordPress and more understanding of what makes a blog the best it can be.

This is me:  I spend most of my day in a large, international law office practicing Land Use /Environmental Law.  For 23 years I’ve been doing that.  So if you’d like to hear about the California Environmental Quality Act or in general about land use issues in San Diego, I can talk for hours.  About San Diego politics.  CEQA.  404 permits.  The RWQCB storm water permit.  Lots of other acronyms.  But that’s not what I hope to do on this blog … in fact I hope to talk about almost anything but that.

Maybe my kids?  Here’s my recent college grad son, contemplating life as he gazes over the Pacific.

Peace in the Pacific

Peace in the Pacific

And my daughter, with her roommate Freshman year:

With the roommie, freshman year

With the roommie, freshman year my step kids:

And my step-daughter, with her Dad:

Waitin' on the train, with Dad

Waitin’ on the train, with Dad

And my step-son (Dad again):

Sunset

Or my amazing husband, who runs one company and is starting a second one to bring a broader spectrum of LED lights to the agricultural market so each of us can grow more of our own food, indoors, year-round.

So hard to decide.  So much to write.  So little time.  Come along with me, and let’s work together to find An Enriching Life.