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Saturday, July 21, 2012

about you

1. You know more than you think you do.
2. You are way too hard on yourself.
3. You’re also way too easy. You can insist on more. No one will die & it won’t kill you.
4. You’re really beautiful when you let your true feelings be known, even the dark ones.
5. You’re even more beautiful/handsome when you cry.
6. When you lose it, you’re actually really close to finding it.
7. You have a lovely singing voice. I don’t care if you can sing on key or not. When you sing, the world sighs.
8. Your hands hold the secrets of your history, who you were meant to be and who you will become. Let someone hold them. Even this you will survive.
9. You aren’t nearly as tough as you think you are. We all know already so you might as well quit trying to hide it. What’s the point?
10. Your tenderness is an invitation to be loved, not a sign of weakness. Pinky swear. No judgment.

And this little bonus: You are surrounded by people who are sad right now because they have no idea how to love you so you could feel it, so you could be transformed by it. The ones who act the most badly are the most sad and definitely the most afraid of trying. When you forgive them and love them anyway, sometimes a way opens…

Making your world big and then getting big with it!

on being scared...or...say something nice to someone today

talk about message from Tracy Dove (higher self)

Peaceful monks and angry falafel makers!

It takes a lot to get me angry. For the most part I'm pretty cruisey and relaxed although over the years within my own little family I've been known to let small resentments build up over time leading to explosions once or twice a year of volcanic proportions....ask Marco and the girls..they'll tell you...its not a pretty sight! The past couple of years though I've become much more aware of my need to give voice to my concerns over small issues with calmness and clarity rather than letting them mount up to the point that I turn into a screaming banshee!
In the past few weeks I experienced 2 amazing happenings which illustrated opposite perspectives on not sweating the small stuff.....
Last month we were lucky enough to attend the awards ceremony for the Sydney Peace prize. The 2012 prizewinner Noam Chomsky visited a large multicultural school in Sydney and the children from many different countries performed beautiful dance and musical pieces for him. As we had arrived a few minutes late with our friend Stuart Rees, the director of the Sydney peace Foundation we had been quickly directed to park our cars close to the hall. Although we were parking in front of other cars the organisers assured us it was fine as they were staff cars that would not have to leave before we did. arriving back at our car several hours later I was mortified to see one of the visiting dignitary senior monks waiting patiently in the heat next to his car, unable to get out because we had parked him in! "I'm so sorry! I hope you havent been waiting long" Calmy and sweetly he smiled and raised a finger, "one hour" he said quietly and without any anger.
On the weekend Santana and I walked to the markets and spent a lovely couple of hours wandering amongst the stalls. On the way home we decided to buy a couple of falafels for lunch. We ordered and paid and decided to browse in the newly opened book store while we waited for our lunch...along the way we ran into several friends and chatted as you do in a small the time we got back to the store the woman was screaming at the top of her lungs obviously %$$#$@& off! Number 56!!!!!! Falafels!!! she screamed out the door...Santana and I looked at each other stifling a giggle and collected our falafels...I've been calling out your order for ten minutes she barked at us, obviously peeved and greatly agitated....

my week in much change ♥

a big week with many goodbyes and many new beginnings

a little overwhelming at times

but I'm focusing on the big picture

while being grateful for the small things

culminating in a brand new year

today i'm 47!

we said goodbye to the best dad and husband ever as he flew off to Koh Samui for a 12 month contract

i had my very last day at work in special ed...I'm going to miss those kids
 especially this one, the wonderful Az!

who even did a little goodbye and thank you speech for me

 and then i did one and tried not to cry

i wrote a list of things I'm grateful for

and turned it into a little painting

then i played a little more and explored some ideas for my LifeBook lesson

 i took pictures of the sunrise to send to Marco so he wouldnt feel so far away

 and slept in our big new bed alone until Santana came into snuggle with me for her last two nights at home

 enjoyed sushi with Sienna

and played with my new Silks Glazes to finish off a painting that's been hanging around unfinished for months

 loved the luminosity!

and shimmer

the depth

and juicy colour!
 even the names of the colours are scrumptious

 spent some time in the garden

 taking in the beauty of the winter light

 thought about how filled our home is with love

 and spent lots of time pondering the big picture and seeing the perfection of the plan

 arranged my beautiful leaving gifts from work

and then said goodbye to this beautiful girl who is off to move into her very first apartment in Sydney three hours away!

i cant even begin to say how much I will miss her♥


enjoyed some pre-birthday champagne with our lovely neighbours while the kids played and the fire warmed our spirits

and then enjoyed a morning bath on my birthday today to take the chill off the Winters morning...... looking up found this sweet message from Sienna :)

I Dream of Possibility. Tracy Verdugo. 2012. acrylic/mixed media on canvas. 75x60cm.

“Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is like a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue. . . . ”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson 

until next time.....

lots of love 

Tracy ♥♥♥

Friday, July 20, 2012

Flashback Friday # 5 Flying South for the Winter


Traveling is such a huge love for me

exploring other cultures

connecting, wandering, wondering

learning more about myself by learning about others

the excitement of being somewhere completely new

open to the experience of the unknown

I'm so excited right now to be working on a project which explores the connection between creativity, traveling and connecting to our best selves. I can't say too much yet but I am already super excited that some of the artists I admire the most have said YES to contributing.

Our family has traveled quite a bit and in 2008 we decided to take our girls who were then 11 and 15 out of school for 7 months here in Australia and travel up the West Coast of the US to Canada and then down into Southern Mexico. For the next few Fridays I am going to revisit our travel blog by posting our travel posts here as a way of reminding myself of this amazing experience and introducing you sweet readers to some of the ways I like to travel and create.

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru 


Flashback #5


Flying South for the Winter October 27, 2008

swimming near shasta...brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!
swimming near shasta...brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!

With every available inch of the car crammed with stuff we headed South on the I5, bound for Roseburg, 4 hours away, where we would spend the night with Marco’s cousin Brad, wife Kristy and kids Malaeni and Garrett. We knew it would be a mind bender as we hadn’t seen each others kids in 9 years. 

 Brad & Kristy hadn’t changed at all but the kids had grown into whole new people…Malaeni, talkative & expressive dressed for the homecoming dance that night in a gorgeous blue halterneck and graffitied blue converse sneakers. She still has the same big beautiful eyes I remember as a baby. Garrett at 15, going through his uncertain stage, quiet and friendly but taking it all in. We ordered Chinese for dinner, shared it with Kristy’s lovely parents who now live with them and hit the sack for an early night and an early start.

Next stop was to be Willows, a small speck on the I5 which I had chosen only because it was the midway point between Roseburg and Yosemite. Five hours to Willows and then 5 the next day would see us into Yosemite.
We bunked at the Willows Motel 6 for the night which was luckily right next door to a great family run, very authentic Mexican restaurant. The weather had warmed considerably and we had now switched out of our warm Portland gear and back into our California shorts and singlets. Of course Marco had never swapped his shorts and T-shirts being immune to the changes of weather.

Continuing South the next day we passed miles and miles of farmlands and fruit orchards. This was the heartland of California’s agricultural belt, supplying food for millions. Semi trailers roared past, filled to overflowing with ripe Roma tomatoes ready to be made into sauce. Dilapidated farmhouses appeared sporadically, yards filled with ancient relics; old tractors, rundown cars and parts, bathtubs, discarded campers, junkyards of every possible treasure. I yearned to get out and explore but contented myself with fleeting photos as we raced by.

We stopped at Madera for camping supplies and I felt transported into another world. The supermarket was huge, laden with fresh, luscious produce and unmistakeably Latino. Most of the farming communities are Hispanic and we were surrounded by every conceivable chile and tortilla, sopes and quesos oaxaquenos
( our favourite cheese from Oaxaca).

awe inspiring Yosemite!
awe inspiring Yosemite!

We stocked up ( trying to be sensible) and headed West to Yosemite, out of the flatlands and into the hill country, barren and  dotted with boulders. Slowly up into the Sierras we overlooked striking canyons and gorges until once again we were amongst the Pines. At the entry to the National Park we stopped to check our reservations and get directions. Marco spoke to a man in his sixties who was resting beside his bicycle. He had taken 2 days to reach this point from Sacramento and would probably take another 2 days to reach his destination of Tualime Valley. I shook my head, thinking about the road we had just come up and tried to imagine doing it on a bike..inconceivable!

Breathtaking Yosemite
Breathtaking Yosemite

Yosemite is beyond words. As we rounded a corner and got a glimpse into the valley it took our breathe away and like everyone else we had to pull off the road to take some photos.

We drove down into the valley until we reached our camping site at Upper Pines. Checking in we carefully read the multiple signs instructing us how to stay safe and keep the bears away.

At each campsite there was a sturdy metal bear locker equipped with an ingenious closing device that the bears had not yet managed to figure out. All food and anything with a scent (hmm does that mean us?) had to be securely stowed away each night. Beside a photo of a car with its back door mangled and half ripped off was the warning not to leave anything in the car (even crumbs) as this would encourage the bears to try and get into the vehicle. Santana decided she had serious bear phobia and all of us tried to limit our fluid intake so we wouldn’t have to leave the safety of our little tent to pee in the night. As it turned out I spent half the night awake and needing to go, aware of every little twig and stone beneath my sleeping bag, until finally around 4am I had to get up the courage to get out of the tent and find a tree..there was no way I was walking all the way to the toilets  The girls were up soon after and sprinted together up to the bathrooms and back.

camping at Upper Pines & watching out for bears!
camping at Upper Pines & watching out for bears!

Awake and thankfully alive we planned our day at breakfast. Around 10 we hopped onto one of the free buses that circle the valley floor every few minutes and rode to one stop to begin the hike up to Vernal Falls. The walk began nicely, meandering through the shady overhang beside a bubbling creek but soon began to climb. Marco and Santana forged ahead and Sienna and I plodded on feeling the breathlessness that a change in altitude always brings. Sienna has asthma but manages really well and although I kept encouraging her to keep going I could tell at every steep descent she was getting more and more upset. We stopped for another rest and I called to Marco to come back and give her a puff of ventolin. By the time he arrived she was in tears, beside herself. She described her head pounding and her throat closing which had me worrying as well.

We rested a while and a kind Indian woman who was also taking her time gave her gentle advice; “Breathe slowly, look at the beauty around you, just take your time…..” she told Marco she was taking it slowly too as she only had one lung. I think this made Sienna feel a little better and she agreed to keep going after we had rested for a bit.

About another 15 minutes along a tall Indian man came walking towards us from the direction of the falls.
“My wife sent me back to tell you its just around the corner…keep can make it!” he encouraged Sienna.
Around the corner and there we were at the footbridge at the base of the falls with a perfect view up. The Indian woman was there with her 2 daughters sitting on a rock sketching.....turns out she was an artist as well. I took Sienna over and we thanked her for her kindness. Marco and Santana continued for the second part of the hike which took them up to the top of the falls but Sienna and I decided that leisurely stroll downhill was in order.

Over the course of two days we visited many of the sights. Possibly most amazing was watching the climbers at El Capitan, tiny specks way up there on sheer, almost vertical cliffs, working their way slowly towards the top. One has to be a little insane to actually attempt such a thing, although our friends Rick and Darryl probably wouldn’t agree, partial as they are to hanging precariously off the sides of Point Perpendicular back home in Jervis Bay.


Begrudgingly we left Yosemite after 2 days wishing we had allocated more time but excited to get to Fresno to visit Nikki, my crazy (in a good way) online friend that I had met through My Space almost 2 years before. A prolific blogger, Nikki spills the beans on almost every aspect of her life, good and bad…open hearted ( in both a spiritual and literal sense having been through 2 open heart surgeries in her young life) we were all looking forward to meeting Aunt Nik and her cubs Makena & Jake. Fresno is not usually a destination of choice in a travel itinerary and so far everyone we had outlined our plans to had looked at us strangely when we got to that part; “Fresno? Why on Earth are you going to Fresno?  It’s the armpit of California ”
“We’re going to meet Nik ”
Fresno is a flat, sprawled out city of 3 million. Our first impression was that the main industry must be health. Everywhere we looked there were hospitals and dentists, Gastro specialists and allergy centres, orthodontists and periodontists.....…every conceivable specialist.

Nik came out to greet us and burst into tears, her tiny frame giving me one giant bear hug. It has been a tough few months for her and hopefully our stay was a bit of a cheer up for her.  We walked to dinner at a local Italian restaurant, sat by the pool for some girl time, hung out with the kids and generally chilled out together….Marco got to wrestle with 5 year old Jake the Quake ~the girls wanted us to adopt a little boy for him when they saw how much fun he could have.
We said goodbye to Nik with promises to meet up somewhere in January and began the next leg of the trip to Ventura to visit the Farrys again.

Santana, Brinsley & Sienna

 Santana had been hanging out to see Brinsley again and had an even better time this time than last meeting all of Brins friends and having 2 nights this time instead of one. When we left she told us she wanted to come live with them as an exchange student for 6 months and go to school with Brins. we had a fabulous stay as we always do when we get together with Paul & Dara and hopefully we’ll see them in the snow at Christmas.

The last leg of the trip took us back to Marcel & Julies in Carlsbad with a quick stop to drop off our borrowed camping gear at Mark & Christines. They were keen for us to stay for dinner but we were exhausted and knew that we would be getting together for Marks 50th the following week so back in the car we jumped and onwards to Carlsbad.

Mikela greeted us with big hugs and her new skill of putting several words together in a sentence.

 I hope you enjoyed this weeks flashback!

hasta luego!

Tracy ♥

Monday, July 16, 2012

Oh how I love this!

well I love this enough to do two posts on one day...just felt I HAD to share ♥

so much beautiful TRUTH in this sweet little video by Andrea Dorfman for Tania Davis' song "ART"

Oh my just checking out Andrea's Youtube channel and feel some serious excitement coming on!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sweet morning song!

“I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.” ~Rumi


I'm sitting here in the sunroom answering emails and messages, talking to friends across the world and listening to the sounds of currawongs and lorikeets. Sometimes the kookaburras join in too but this morning they are absent. We have so many beautiful birds in Australia and I try not to take them for granted.


Click here to hear the birds singing

The shy little whip bird that hops around the shrubbery, the tiny finches that flit from the mulberry tree to the pineapple sage gathering sweetness. The cocky wattlebird that sends out warning signals every time the cats come near, ruffling up his feathers and declaring "How dare you! This is my yard!" before swooping them.
The diminutive but handsome willy wagtail sitting on the fence shaking his butt...the list goes on and on!
It seems that I have been drawn to birds in art forever! 

Long before I ever put paint on paper, way back when Marco and I were new romancers in 1985 we bought our first piece of art together in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico. A beautiful woodblock print titled Exprisionera, it shows a bird breaking free of its boundaries,

 a beautiful metaphor for life it hangs in our kitchen and reminds us each day that we are far more than our self imposed beliefs


Birds have appeared in so many of my paintings since I first began my art journey at the start of the new millenia...





 2006-2008 birds appear everywhere in my Tree of Life and Garden of delights series

2006 more birdies in a series of colourful foam core prints

2009 inspiration from our trip to Mexico

from 2010 on birds continue to appear in my paintings! Can you find the little bird in the last one?


“I pray to the birds because they remind me of what I love rather than what I fear. And at the end of my prayers, they teach me how to listen.” ~Terry Tempest Williams


wishing you all an extraordinary week filled with birdsong and inspiration 

lots of love

Tracy ♥♥♥