Monday, January 15, 2018


I did AM yoga for the third day in a row.  I was at a cross-country ski weekend in Northern MN.  The first couple days I set my alarm to attend, but since I've missed my bedtime five nights in a row I decided not to set it for today.  I still woke up in time to get to yoga and ended up actually leading. The guy who led the first day wasn't an official yoga teacher (like me) , someone mentioned that I did a lot of yoga so he asked if I wanted to lead yesterday for some variety so I did.  Today I was waiting for him to start, eventually he said, "Do you want to lead again?"  I said, "Sure," and like yesterday I felt completely at ease.  Since we were all skiing I didn't concern myself with getting a work-out, instead I just did stretches and slow movements.  I was nourished by it, and I think the small group of others who got up early were as well.

Despite the frigid below zero (Fahrenheit) temperatures today I enjoyed a bit of snowshoeing (and hiking when the snowshoes were unnecessary).  I've been to this place once before but I didn't get to the snowshoe trails.

I didn't get quite enough sleep in the cabin, partly because of getting to bed a little late, partly because the other people sharing the cabin went to bed later, and partly because I kept wondering if I needed to pee.  Knowing I needed to go outside to pee (to a nearby building) made me keep wondering if I should go one more time, and then I didn't want to disturb the couple sleeping closer to the door of the cabin, by going in and out and so that just created a story of worries in my head that wasn't conducive to sleep.  However, that said, I'm going to miss sleeping in that little cabin tonight because it was so cozy!

The weekend went really well and I felt very connected to myself and others.  Maybe because of that, on the ride home, the guy I'm dating felt comfortable enough to share something with me that he felt hesitant about.  As he expected I got upset (which in my case meant I turned silent and withdrawn), and in him reinforced him not wanting to tell me.  It's a vicious cycle that I'm not sure how we reroute it, but we do have a counseling session on Thursday, so I guess that may move to the top of the agenda.

On a side note - but similar topic - I learned that my niece can come with me on a cross-country ski weekend in March.  She made a lot of improvement in her skills and enjoyment last year and I'd love to share that and have that time with her.

Sunday, January 7, 2018


# 1 - Making Tempeh Reuben and green bean fries for dinner - with enough leftovers for a couple more meals this week.  I asked my father if he wanted a sandwich with me, "What kind of sandwich?" he asked then continued, "Never mind." Knowing whatever I'd say probably wouldn't make sense to him, but he ate it.

#2 - My niece was super excited to watercolor paint with me, but I didn't realize how soon they needed to leave for cross-country skiing.  She was really disappointed, but I look forward to painting with her another day.

#3 - It was a perfect day for cross-country skiing, well except for the fact that we hardly have snow.  So let me say, a perfect day to cross-country ski in the few places where they make snow for that.  And the deep cold we've felt meant the temperatures felt balmy and comfortable.  It was super busy when I pulled in the parking lot, but the course was big enough that it felt fine once I got out there.  And I was happy to know this was the first day a handful of kids I care about would begin their cross-country ski club for the year.  I love it when people can get out and enjoy winter.

#4 - Hearing the happiness in my cousin's voice when I answered the phone.  She was in a much more confident and grounded space than when I spoke to her this time last week.  The first thing she did was ask me about the New Year's Ritual I did yesterday with my friends.

#5 - I just read my last post, and it reminded me to look up my new word of the year.  It made a lot of sense when it came to me, right now it feels a bit more mysterious.  Merriam Webster gives it three basic definitions -

The first is part of a plant stem.
The second is "something that extends from or enters into a main body or source".
The third is "a part of a complex body."

My new word is  - Branch  

Saturday, December 30, 2017


#1 - Easing back into being home - I was in Omaha, Nebraska for Christmas.  Then I had a couple nights at a cabin in a state park in Iowa on the way back to relax and be quiet, then a couple nights in Minneapolis. Today I returned home.  I got up fairly early so we could take an 8:30AM yoga class before I got dropped off.  This was awesome because when I got home I was already motivated and so I jumped into unpacking, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen floor and doing a load of laundry.

#2 - I also put away my groceries which I bought last evening.  It felt so nice to come home after being gone a week and already have them, though it is tricky to do a grocery list away from home.  There are two items for recipes I picked out that I thought I had - yogurt and Parmesan chees.  So I'll need to make another quick grocery stop.

#3 - This morning was my last yoga class of 2017, so I decided to focus on my word of the year one last time - LIGHT.  I kept coming back to it during class after my mind would wander.  The image that came to mind was of a lighthouse turning around in my abdomen, illuminating every direction.  I hadn't thought about it until now, but I guess this is a beacon in the darkness.  Something shining in dangerous locations, but also a symbol of safety/protection.

#4 - I had absolutely no idea what my word of the year for 2018 would be, I thought about asking for direction in the yoga class, but instead I wanted to really concentrate on my 2017 word one last time.  I did think though, that when I cleaned the yoga studio later that day I could carry around the deck of "angel cards" at the studio with the intention of pulling one that could guide me in the direction of a new word.  Pretty soon after I had that idea, a potential new word came to me.

#5 - I planned to look it up in the dictionary when I got home, and take in its meaning more fully and see how it felt, but I was too task oriented.  So when I came back to the yoga studio later I still held the cards in my pocket while I cleaned to be further directed.  It's such a relief when you know something.  I had zero idea what I wanted for a word except I wanted something benign, which made me think of a finding a tumor, it may turn out benign but it would still be really stressful.  I thought maybe some sort of innocent noun.  Is it possible to find a word that doesn't have hidden, unintended meanings?

 I chose "light" because it can mean playful, but not just playful, much more.  It was an appropriate word of the year for many of the meanings of light, but not the playful one.

The angel card that I pulled today has nothing, seemingly, to do with the word that came to mind to me this morning, but it does help guide me in the right direction.

The angel card that I pulled today was Love.

Friday, December 22, 2017


"I am so wealthy,"  this was the thought I had as I selected my lunch today.   Not only the thought, but rather, the feeling, "I am so wealthy."  I knew that I would get plenty to eat and that buying this lunch came easily.

I can trace this thought/feeling to two things.

The first was a seed planted a few years ago, when I'd get stressed out by my grocery bill.  I didn't appreciate this attitude.  I wanted to feel grateful when I bought groceries.  So instead when I saw the grocery bill I started saying, "I am so wealthy."  I didn't feel wealthy when I'd think it, but I knew it was true, I had enough money to buy groceries, so I was going to tell myself that truth.

It wasn't something that I had a big plan about, just a seed planted, and though my economics haven't changed, it's been a while since I felt stressed by my grocery bill.  I am now, often, grateful to be able to pay for healthy food for my body.

The second seed for today's thought was reading "The Material Mask" from Lewis Howes Masks of Masculinity.  The man he gives as an example in the chapter, is in fact, someone I've been suspicious of, "What is this guy's deal?"

Apparently when Lewis told him he must have one of the fanciest houses in Hollywood, the man just mentioned someone else that had an even bigger/fancier house. Who is the wealthy one here?  He or I?

This is what I was thinking of as I (too quickly) ate my lunch today - writing about wealth and what it means to mean.  Sharing that, a few days before a holiday with a serious consumer bent.

As usual I've purchased very few gifts - just for a few kids in my life.  And I will be doing my first White Elephant gift exchange, which just involved a gift I found around the house.  I had something laying around the house to give away because

I am so wealthy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Go Men!

As toxic masculinity digs in its heels, there is another masculinity, a quieter, braver and more secure masculinity creeping in. Today I preempt my weekly schedule of gratitude blogging because I cannot hold back my enthusiasm for the men who are holding torches for this masculinity.

First I will be picking up Lewis Howes' - The Mask of Masculinity from the library today, and look forward to reading it over the holidays

Second, I was hoping to catch him on his book tour, but he didn't have a stop near me so I'm happy he posted a podcast from one of his talks.

Third, I listened to a Ted Talk by Justin Baldoni - per Lewis Howes recommendation - Why I'm done trying to be "man enough". I listened, in fact, twice.

Fourth, that led me to discover this awesome "Man Enough" website with a bunch of resources and a new show. I was already wanting to watch something NY's weekend and I think I know just the man to watch it with me. Especially considering he recently suggested we watch the film - The Mask You Live In - again.

Fifth, this very man is, in fact, going to a men's group tonight with other men working to embody all the aforementioned concepts.

Finally, a line from the Rumi poem I memorized last weekend,

"Instead examine how you praise,
what you wish for,
this longing we've been given."

or another way of saying it (though I apologize for forgetting whom to attribute it to - Caroline W. Casey (?).)

"The truth of what we worship
is what we spend 
our time on."

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Soccer and Rumi

On thanksgiving weekend my family had an impromptu soccer game in the back yard of my uncle's. It was super fun. Afterwards I told the guy I'm dating, "You should sub on my team sometime." He didn't look convinced, and had a lot of reasons why not, but I could tell he at least contemplated the idea.

This week my Sunday soccer game is scheduled for 8AM. It's hard to get people to show up that early on a Sunday in general and now the week before Christmas? with holiday parties? Two guys already said they are out and two subs I asked have said, "No".

So today, I thought I'd bring it up again. First, I asked my brother if we could borrow his shin guards, which would be a prerequisite. My brother enthusiastically said yes (#1). Second, I asked the guy I'm dating, he thought about it a while, then said, "Yes." (#2) This sounds super fun.

#3 - Sunday is an annual Rumi poetry night that I attend. We chant (sing simple repetitive/meditative phrases) and intersperse the singing with Rumi poems. Most people pick a poem to read, but each year I pick one to memorize and recite. Or at least I try to, but it's only three days away, and I had not begun my memorization. So I was happy to have a bus ride today and tomorrow to work on it. I was the only person at the bus stop so I loudly recited Rumi lines at the edge of a highway and thoroughly enjoyed myself. And when my bus arrived downtown late so I missed my connection, I just used the extra 25 minutes before the next bus to walk and recite Rumi lines.

#4 - I so thoroughly enjoyed my walk to the bus, ride on the bus and wait at the bus, that you'd think I'd choose to memorize poetry all the time. But in fact I usually need external motivation, and for that I'm grateful to have this Rumi night. I know that I will get appreciation for the concentration and effort I am putting into it.

#5 - And despite catching a later bus and missing the beginning of the band concert. I arrived for the last song of the 6th graders, so in plenty of time to see the 7th graders (or a particular 7th grader), for whom I was in attendance.

Bonus from earlier this week - I love what Glennon Doyle says about her 14 year old son and his cell phone.

1:10 - 1:14

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Vulnerable and Giving

#1 - For all the discouraging behavior from men out there, there are also men saying things like this!

#2 - I realized that a salad I planned to make this week was going to be fairly pricey. It asked for walnut or pumpkin seed oil as well as a couple other things I don't usually buy. And then considering I am the only one eating it, and it would not be good as leftovers long, it didn't seem like a good purchase. However, my sister-in-law and I ended up volunteering together this AM so we ate it for lunch afterwards and she was the perfect person to share it with me. It had shredded beets, pumpkin seeds, radishes, green onions, avocado and nori sheets.

#3 - While we were making that salad I finally understood why my sister-in-law has been so loving and non-judgmental this past year. She told me of a time in the past when she was judgmental to a family member. She now understands the roots of what was happening and that what was needed from her was not judgment but love. I had started to wonder if she didn't understand what I'd told her about my life, but now I see she understood it more than I imagined.

#4 - If you looked at my life this past week you'd think I volunteer all the time. The reality is that three small seeds I planted 4 - 10 years ago all converged this week. They are all organizations that I volunteer with infrequently - from once a year to once a month - they are all soil I believe in and am happy to nurture. Today, sorting gifts at the holiday gift sale, I remembered why I keep going back.

#5 - "It's profoundly vulnerable to talk to someone about what it is that we desire. And I think that humans in general often have only a rudimentary skill set for how to be vulnerable with other humans about anything, whether that is in friendships or in sexual romantic relationships."

Kate McCombs

(From my favorite recent podcast discovery Smart Sex with Kerri Miller)