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Journal

Music Making Days

Music Making Days

 

Rainy season has begun here in the Azores…the sky is alive as ever. Wind, rain, sunshine, rainbows, and again… 


As the rainy days take hold, we find ourselves spending more time indoors. The extra time spent in the house means extra time to create, to cozy up with a book, and to play music.  


Music has always been a big part of my life, and so when the fog rolls in and the rain pours down, I look forward to the excuse to stay inside and play the piano or listen to Tomer strum the guitar, and to share the experience of making music with the kids. 

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Looking Back Halfway Through 40

Looking Back Halfway Through 40

A year ago we were unpacking a half container from our previous life in Canada and settling into our new home here in the Azores. We were laying out the design for our first book, selecting paper qualities and working on print timelines. We were developing concepts for our first jewelry collection and tinkering anxiously with instagram as a medium to connect with the outside world from out here in the middle of nowhere. 

We adopted a wild island kitten (Jiji), spent many days at the beach, in our garden, and hiking the island. We planted (and failed) and tried planting again (successfully) our first trees, flower bushes, palms and fruit/vegetable garden.

We weathered our first winter storms, walked our dogs dreamlike through the Calheta fog and witnessed numerous moon and sunrises - embracing the natural rhythm & seasonal cycle of our island. 

We began learning, practicing, & stumbling through Portuguese (our daughter Etienne became fluent). We launched Neon Joyride, published our first book, and wrote a few more. We all began learning to surf. We hosted our first visitors, and were able to share our new world with our family and a few close friends. We said goodbye to a family member and our dog Whiskey walked through the Lion's Gate. We all made some new friends. 

Tomer & I turned 40. My mother said it right- our 40s are when we come into our super powers. We still have our youth, our health, some wisdom, & enough life experience & energy to make things happen - to live the life we choose, to follow our true paths.

In the last year, we have all become more aware of our choices - and of how to live more consciously, more sustainably. It's a process that takes time & intention. We chose to live slower, lighter & with less. And it feels better than ever! I have learned that even slowing down takes time - even on a small island in the middle of nowhere...it's taken 2 years to settle into our new rhythm here in the Azores. 

Still learning to let go & to go with the flow. It sounds easier than it is, but it's been so good...learning to just breathe again and listen to the universe, to let it guide you. So much of this year has been redefining what feels good, individually and for us as a family.

The journey continues and we all grow. Moving both onwards and backwards in a loop-d-loop fashion, turning our previous life and selves inside-out, focusing inward, growing outward.

Through all of the change, this past year has been spent together, with each other and our children...I am so grateful for that -Knowing that we have filled our time here with meaningful moments. We continue to seek, to grow, to create, to connect on deeper levels with each other and ourselves. Gardens blooming inside & out. It's not all sunshine and rainbows, but we have been blessed to get a lot of both!

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Why the Cactus?

Why the Cactus?

Many people ask us why we chose the cactus as our logo- If you know us, you know we are sun lovers- and cacti need a lot of sun, like us! This is what drew us to the cactus at first-

As we began to think of how slow a cactus grows, it seemed even more appropriate- the cactus symbol seemed to reflect us as a family as we were looking to embrace a slower lifestyle.

Also a cactus doesn’t need much- just plenty of sol and a bit of water. we too were looking to live a simpler life -full of love and soul. We were also looking to live with less...less stuff, less waste, less work, less consumption, less impact, less noise.

Cacti also thrive in rugged natural landscapes and we were in transition to the beautiful raw island of Santa Maria in the Azores archipelago- which just so happens to have many types of cacti!

Another fun fact- my husband and I met each other in Austin, Texas- so a cactus is also something that reminds us a little of our southwest roots- which brings us full circle. 

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Island Magic

Island Magic

Island living is magic...everything about it. Being so near the water, smelling the humidity in the air and watching the mist rise in the morning... along the coast the fog and mist meet with the salty spray of the seas- 

This picture is from a morning exploring São Pedro on the Western side of our island. Early morning and in the evenings clouds hug Pico Alto, our tallest mountain.

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Plastic Toys

Plastic Toys

On our family beach cleanups, we often find plastic toys or parts like this toy soldier. It inspires us -and our children- to think twice before buying cheap toys made of plastic -especially those we take to the beach!


The best beach play (other than swimming or surfing in the waves) is that which challenges the imagination- we collect driftwood, shells, and other mermaid treasures or rocks and use them to build sand castles, forts or our daughter’s favorite: make-believe ice cream stands! 


We are inspired too to see how much our kids enjoy cleaning up the beach a bit! It’s like a scavenger hunt for them- and they feel empowered to know they are making a difference, and the best part is that we are all doing it together...

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Must Have Been...

Must Have Been...

It’s a Tuesday evening here on the island of Santa Maria in the Azores. “It Must Have Been Love” plays on our vintage marantz stereo receiver and outside there is a saturated double rainbow over the ocean we can see from inside the house...there’s magic in the air.

It’s 6pm, the time of day when the local Radio Clube Asas station plays dreamy 80s hits, the time when we usually all come inside to wind down from the outdoors- and we slow down.

The mood has us thinking of the days when this music played regularly on the radio- days pre-internet. There was such a magic to that time- Life was so different. How do we bring that back?

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Haikus for Kids

Haikus for Kids

One of the reasons we moved to an island in the middle of nowhere- besides wanting to be near the ocean- was to surround the children by nature and all her wonders. 

We live in a small house atop a cliff that overlooks a small coastal fishing village. We often hike down to the village, either to swim in the natural ocean pool or to hike to the whale beach or waterfall. On our way, we pass whale watching lookouts and it still gives me chills to think that within 5-10 minutes of our home, we could catch a glimpse of the largest creature on the planet, in the wild!

It is moments like these that have inspired each of the haikus that we have written for our first book, Haikus for Kids. 

 

 

great blue waves of fin
rolling with the sea so vast
shimmer breathing air 

 

 

 

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The Origin of Sound

The Origin of Sound

The Origin of Sound was this ongoing project which consumed a better part of my life and began almost a decade ago. A "decade" - that sounds like a really long time. But really it was just around the corner. Etienne was about 1 when we began.

The project was a culmination of going to India with Paul (see post), having a film project stall in LA, and meeting who would become a very special friend - Bill Baird.

Bill would end up being like an alter ego - an alter ego who was blonde, hip and had much less hair on his chest (not intended as a figure of speech). 

Our initiation was less than friendly though, as we met through some mutual buddies in a dive bar in East Austin, Texas (back when Austin was not yet the "place to be"). I said, "hello Bill, nice to meet ya", and I believe he simply nodded. 

That was it. I'd learned later, that that's just Bill. When he doesn't know you, or you him, he can come across as aloof. When you get to know him though, he's terrific, and one of the most genuine personalities out there...at the end it was the love of, wait for it...

Patrick Swayze, Point Break, that bonded us for life. I know - Awesome!!! 

So we traveled to India and made a film on film to try and record the sound that is not heard, the sound of one hand clapping. For those who know what I'm talking about, you can guess it was a trippy ride (sponsored by Fuji - before the film division closed, and Air-India who disliked the film, the Joseph Campbell Foundation who will deny it, and the living children of Henry Miller who refused to give us the rights to a passage, but then we got it anyway from another source, and was short-listed for Cannes but never played, probably because it was too long or too... AWESOME!!). 

THE ORIGIN OF SOUND from Studio Perle on Vimeo.

 

 

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Wild Dolphins

Wild Dolphins

Not sure how many people have seen dolphins -Not at a waterpark, not on a tour or at some tourist feeding spot or swimming attraction -but out of nowhere, when out at sea and in the wild. There are so many photos of them and movies, and yes even statues and snow globes, and on and on. But to see them in real life, up close and personal, swimming and playing beside you, diving in and out of the water in arches, racing, diving beneath our inflatable boat and popping up again is something that's so special it's difficult to even describe, except for to yell through a huge smile when describing it to someone - WE SAW DOLPHINS!!!

Mammals, dolphins are actually small whales. They are truly a magical creature. Their energy is contagious and being with them brings out your inner child, time stands still and you feel like the luckiest kid in the world. 

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Living with one traffic light - the island of Santa Maria

Living with one traffic light - the island of Santa Maria

We have just one traffic light on the island and it's only on sometimes. The island itself is just shy of 97km2. To give you an idea, the smallest U.S. state of Rhode Island is over 3,000km2, roughly 30x bigger. So what's it like? You get to know everyone and everyone pretty much knows where you live. They'll show up sometimes, to ask a question, to borrow something or to remind you to bring back something you've borrowed. 

It's one of those things, where you think, should I pick up the phone and call them, or just walk over and see if they are at home. We usually choose the latter; it's always more fun and the way of living slow. 

Back to the traffic light. We're not sure what it's for, accept to maybe slow us down on the way into the main town, though there are speed bumps just before. Perhaps it is to remind us that we all need to stop, even on a small island it's good to be reminded to slow down, to stop and to smell the palm trees...

 

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