Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Kiss Toggle Hug

#1 - “I just want to hurry up and get it over with.” Not a thought that I have much recently so it stood out and made me take notice. I was headed for an annual well-woman visit (or physical as they used to be called) and suddenly I was dreading it.

#2 - When the pelvic exam came around, my relaxation practice/breathing went into full force. I wouldn't say that it "worked" but it at least gave me something to focus on.

#3 - My brother stopped his pain body (this is Eckhart Tolle terminology). He was over and starting to get annoyed and I was starting to wish they weren’t here and then, miracle of miracles - he turned it off. He did not escalate and he was pleasant the rest of the evening. I didn’t even realize it until now, when I sat down to write.

#4 - “Kiss toggle hug?” I kept repeating it back to her, trying to decipher what my niece was saying. Is this a new game? Tuggle? Does she mean tug of war? Finally she walked over and got it. Kiss, Tickle, Cuddle, Hug, currently a favorite book.

#5 – “…Also, in one of the six things you could not do without, you listed "Solitude". I would be interested in hearing more about that if you wouldn't mind.” I don’t respond to men in online dating who don’t mention anything specific about my profile. Many are just shooting off the same email to a bunch of people to see who will bite, and none of their profiles have ever held my interest. This on the other hand, could be the opposite situation. I don't even want to start answering this question tonight because I'm pretty sure I could be writing for a long time :).

Bonus: The following was actually sent to me the day I posted this but I did not read it until the next day. So I guess it will be a Wed gratitude. I'm still including it here -

http://thoughtcatalog.com/abby-rosmarin/2013/12/to-the-women-who-choose-not-to-have-kids/

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Follow Your Arrow



I was impressed by this woman when I was in Nashville this time last year and heard "Merry Go 'Round". "Maybe I do like country music?" I thought. I recently heard this. I couldn't name the singer, but I knew it was her.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pay Attention Here

#1 –I was so glad to be alone at this table. There had been a plan for a first meeting with a guy, but he got a flat tire the other day and this evening was the first slot he could get for a replacement. When he asked about meeting I had suggested this café as I was going to eat there anyway, before a volunteer meeting a mile away. When I walked in I was so glad to not have to change, to not muster interest or enthusiasm or questions, to be able to just rest in myself.

#2 - I was feeling pretty peaceful. I had decided none of my normal exercise options would fit in today and I found a yoga studio near the volunteer meeting to try. Just being in a new space made my senses engaged and when the teacher touched my foot it was soft and gentle and kind. Pay attention here, notice how the outside of your foot meets the floor.

#3 – We also did an Omm at the beginning and end of class which I love and which is extremely rare where I usually do yoga. Walking from there into the café I did not want to muster up false enthusiasm.

It became quite clear to me I didn’t really want to meet this guy. It became quite clear to me that we often know a great deal more than we give ourselves credit for.

#4 – I ordered a cornmeal schneatzel (sp?). I was hesitant because I made a bunch of cornbread yesterday including cornbread croutons for some soup. However, the Brussels sprouts and the butternut squash sounded really good for me. And guess what the Brussels sprouts were awesome.

#5 – The meeting involved a vision for some big changes. I’ve volunteered once a month at a food market for people who have a hard time acquiring enough groceries for the past few years. I’m not sure if/how the new vision for the market will work for me, but I do understand and believe in the vision, so I hope to find a way to adapt myself to it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

For Entertainment Only

I happened to notice today that I had three comments on my last post. Three comments this was a record! I looked and saw they related to my last brief gratitude which I only put on here for entertainment value. It was an initial message on online dating that stated,

"You don't look like an anarchist revolutionary yet...."

This to me is not the beginning of a conversation, it is simply a comment. I neither replied nor even looked at the profile of the person who sent it. I already knew that we were a 10% match, that the photo was some protest photo were they all were wearing masks (which struck me as scary) and I believe the person lived in Washington or something. "How does someone do a search and end up on my profile when I live across the country and am not a match?" I wondered.

Just now I tried to look at the account and it said that person no longer has an account.

Exactly.

Since that peeked interest previously here, I will provide a few more notes of possible interest. The offensive messages I delete completely as I do not want to linger in such energy. So here instead is a sampling of initial messages that are not offensive, but really...

"Hi, my name is Jeff"
48% Match

"I would love to meet you at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Sincerely,
Kevin
"
56% Match

(Just want to remind you I have had zero contact with Kevin.)

"Television has a place. I love watching this (he did send a link, I don't want to include it because I'm scared of link from unknown people), and learning about the Artists. Singers. I found it very moving, and I learned something weird from watching it tonight.

I was communing with Fugai Honko at the museum yesterday. Like a Jedi Knight kind of thing :)

Was doing my walking Buddha thing tonight. It is one of the meditation positions of the Theravada.


I liked this one a lot (another link). The Painter, Printer was really beautiful as well. I have my secret Reasons for enjoying this show, but enough of that.

I do like PBS, it must make me some kind of republican in your view. However, did hear/watch Born Yesterday last night, and immensely enjoyed it."
10% match

Then he sent another message (I did not respond to the first). I'm just including the last sentence this time.

"...You could go to the MIA, and Commune with me in this one interesting exhibit. I like it, it's like a meditation center."

(I wonder if this guy and Kevin (above) are actually the same?)

I will end this with an interaction I had right before Halloween. Some guy sent me a fine/normal message, but his profile and photo were blank. I'd already had a previous bad interaction in a similar situation, so I responded but was skeptical. We exchanged a couple more messages, he told me about a Halloween event that sounded cool.

Then wrote -

"I am just trying to get you to go to the Puppet Show."

The fact of the matter is the puppet show was the cool sounding Halloween event, but it was also outside at night, with some stranger. No thank you. I just checked and his account was deleted as well.









Sunday, December 1, 2013

Nature Poems

#1 - I heard a Jeni Couzyn poem and wanted more. The library for once wasn't helpful. I ended up finding a journal online that published her and as I looked at the journal I thought, "This may be an appropriate place for my poetry." That was in April. Seven months later, November 1st, I finally got around to that submission. Two and a half weeks later I received a reply saying he enjoyed my poems, would consider them for a future issue and asked if I had any more environmental/nature poems as they are featuring that topic this summer.

Yeah!

Well, I thought I would have tons, in fact I found I did not. I think most of my poems have a line or a reference to nature, but few are actually focused upon nature itself. I guess I need to write more poems. Nice to have a little motivation.

I sent what I compiled to three friends asking for their opinions as to which to send. Today I put together the ones that made the cut and sent them off.

#2 - Actually two of the people I sent poems to were friends. The third person was in the fiction writing class I took a few years ago. I didn't like the class that much (in part because fiction isn't my thing I'm sure). We each had a couple of pieces we'd bring copies of for others to write comments. I remember one guy telling me to take out or add (I forget) a bunch of commas. It was a draft of a piece! Who cares about commas at that point. Anyway, that is how I usually feel about editing. However one woman in the class made some really insightful comments on my piece. She wasn't there the day I shared my second piece, so I went to her the next week and asked if she would read it because I appreciated what she said previously. Thank God for that because it initiated contact between us. I haven't communicated with her for a couple years I'd guess, but I thought of her as someone to look at my poems. I sent her an email and she replied that she would. Once again her comments were incredibly insightful. I can easily see how being an editor is a skill! I'm so grateful to have come across her in that class and her willingness to help!

#3 - As soon as I woke up I started reading Roger Housden's, ten poems to change your life again and again. I dove in yesterday and I'll probably finish by tomorrow. It has made me curious to learn more about Leonard Cohen and I just requested a book of his from the library. All I know is he is a musician and he has a quote I really like -

"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."


#4 - "I really appreciate you helping me with my paper, and it's fun Tammy-time." Spoken by my cousin Holly. This was the first distracting thing she said and it was a good distraction at that.

#5 - Just because I can share this here. This is a complete initial message written to me by someone on online dating -

"You don't look like an anarchist revolutionary yet...."




Saturday, November 23, 2013

If I Had the Worth


As I mentioned on my last post I have one more open mic to complete my goal this year. I haven't written a song in six months and I would like something that feels relevant now. So two Tuesdays ago I sat down in the evening with a goal of writing a song (I am never this formal/structured about creativity). I started something and I liked the theme, but not much else about it. I've been working on it off and on the last couple weeks and last night I got it to a place that felt sufficient. Yes sufficient is the word and that makes me laugh. So here it is.

video

#1-3 - Writing/completing (I think) this song and enjoying recording it this AM. Actually I just looked and it was almost exactly a year ago that I posted my first song/video and I wrote about how scary it was to do that. Now it is not scary and as a comment said last year, "Next scary thing will be to look into the camera while you sing :)." No problem now, though that is in part related to the song I suppose.

#4 - Spending much of my morning reading Jewelweed by David Rhodes.

#5 - Trying to figure out my schedule for the work exchange I do at the yoga studio and laughing instead of becoming frustrated with the complete communication catastrophe that seems to be going on between me and the other person who does this via email. I just need to talk to her on the phone. I just left a message.

Bonus Ted Video

Friday, November 15, 2013

Worthiness

Recently someone congratulated me on accomplishing my goal of playing an open mic every other month this year, (I "only had one left and still had two months to complete it"). Note - I learned one way to make me flip out is to congratulate me for completing something that is not finished. I want to be worthy of the congratulations.

I've been hoping to have a new song to play for my last one, but I haven't written any in months, so I specifically sat down Tuesday evening with the intention of writing a song. I started at least. The theme/repeating line of the song is "If I had the worth." I guess it has been a while coming.

I watched this "Help Desk" video clip with Deepak Chopra a couple months back. A woman was asking about how to enter a healthy relationship. Chopra told her to visualize a relationship - someone she knows or make him up. He then told her to "look them in their eyes and say mentally to them, "I love myself exactly as I am. I am a beautiful person. I am a lovely person. I love myself exactly as I am." Reinforce that. Look that person right in the eye and see the look of recognition in their eyes. Do this, you will attract the right person."

That was powerful for me, because I was surprised by how difficult it was. Do I love myself? Yes. Do I love myself exactly as I am? No. So do I really love myself? Hmm.

I'm reading Brene Brown right now and she asks, "Can we love others more than we love ourselves?" Brown doesn't want the answer to be No, but seems to have decided it is. She goes on to write -

"The greatest challenge for most of us is believing that we are worthy now, right this minute. Worthiness doesn't have prerequisites. So many of us have knowingly created/unknowingly allowed/been handed down a long list of worthiness prerequisites:

I'll be worthy when I lose twenty pounds.
I'll be worthy if I can get pregnant.
I'll be worthy if I get/stay sober.
I'll be worthy if everyone thinks I'm a good parent.
I'll be worthy when I can make living selling my art...


Here's what is truly at the heart of Wholeheartedness: Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is. (24)"

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are: Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life

My list would begin more like:

I'll be worthy when I find a way to connect my gifts with a profession/income...
I'll be worthy when I feel confident of where my life is headed...

Without these things can I look someone in the eye and say I love myself exactly as I am? This moment? No. But I'm willing and that is what is required for change - willingness. I know even if I achieved whatever list I came up with, I would replace it with another, so I can chase a list my whole life, or learn to love the list I have.

I guess Chopra's meditation is a good place to begin.

When I sat down to write this, I began thinking of things I appreciated about my day, but the fact is they were thoughts not feelings. What felt relevant right now was exploring these ideas. So thanks for listening.



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tango Shoes



#1 – Being available and happy to watch my niece while my brother and sister-in-law picked up some furniture they found at the thrift store.

#2 – She had just woken up from a nap and was kind of clingy.  I put her down to cut the squash in half and stick it in the oven, but then I surrendered to making dinner later than I planned so I could enjoy some cuddle and story time with her.

#3 – My new strategy for cutting through a squash.  I take a butcher knife and gently bang on it with a mallet.  I ended up doing this last time because the knife got stuck in the squash and I could not get it out.  Today I just went straight for the mallet and wallah!

#4 – Watching my niece do her dance moves in her “tango shoes” to some boogey woogey song.

#5 – I am taking a writing and meditation class this month and one of our "homework" assignments this week was to find a short poem to memorize this month.  I hadn't found one yet and then I received a book I ordered in the mail today and I'm certain that will provide it.  My friend translated 100 of Pablo Neruda’s sonnets.  I can’t even begin to imagine the time and energy that must have gone into this creation.  It is mind boggling. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bandwidth Available



I heard a segment on NPR recently asking whether people who were poor made less intelligent decisions.  They explained a couple of experiments that were done to test this.  The conclusion was that poverty caused people to make poorer decisions and the way they explained this was using “bandwidth”.  That we have so much bandwidth in our brains and when we are poor a great deal of that is taken up with those concerns, leaving much less available for other things.

I find this idea quite useful.  The thought that there is so much bandwidth in my brain and how much of it is available?  I could say that when I am in a calm peaceful state I make my best decisions because I have a lot of bandwidth working for me.  Or I could say part of the reason I didn’t want to be a full-time teacher is that it took up too much bandwidth, all of the time, there were other things I needed space for, even if I did not yet have a name for them.

As I was biking to yoga class today thinking about all this I wondered, “What if all of my bandwidth was available for this bike ride?  Instead of mulling over these thoughts – all there was was colors on a tree, the air on my face, my legs churning?”

And what if we have energetic bandwidths as well?  I live about 3 miles from where I do yoga.  Today was cloudy, damp, cool but not cold and a likelihood of rain.  Some days I wouldn’t want to bike.  I would use these factors as an excuse.  Today I didn’t mind at all.  What is the difference?  Where did that energetic bandwidth come from?  And what can I do to protect it and sustain it?

The last two books I’ve read both have been influences from my brother.  I picked them up at the library for him and then wanted to read them myself.  The first book was Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior.    It is an engaging novel with a sobering message.  And though I no longer know what to make of that thing we call God or life force or…  I do know that someone seems to have set me up here.  Because the book I’m reading now is the perfect antidote to the reality of Kingsolver.  It is called The Forty Rules of Love:  A Novel of Rumi by Elif Shafak.  I am enjoying this book so much that two nights ago after I woke up I realized in my DREAM I was telling a group of people why it was so good (in a completely accurate manner).  Also the past two days when my alarm went off, instead of snuggling in the dark for a while, I immediately turned on my bed lamp and began to read.  No problem getting up for now!

It surprised me that my brother would be interested in such a novel.  He explained it had been recommended by The Economist.  The Economist is recommending heart opening, spiritual, wise literature!  Yeah!  Let’s go humanity!  I seriously was a bit down on humanity but then Elif Shafak and Rumi come to the rescue!

So these were some thoughts I needed to explore today, thanks for giving me a space and audience to share them.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

To Syria With Love



#1 - I took a jog on a not so inviting day that turned out to be plenty pleasant. At the end, I sat on a friend's front steps and felt quiet enough to gaze at the sky.

#2 - A woman I have never met, on the other side of the world, said something I wrote and sent to her was a treasure. Or that is my impression, if I am not mistaken.

#3 - Reading this made me search for something more meaningful than the radio program I was listening to. I went to Marianne Williamson's website and read she is running for congress - a whole new world.

#4 - I listened to this Williamson lecture TO SYRIA WITH LOVE, from Los Angeles, September 3, 2013 http://marianne.com/ five minutes was all it took to state again - it's whole new world we could create here.

#5 -
"Politics shouldn't be the least heart-filled thing we do; it should be the most heart-filled thing we do. It should be a collective expression of our most enlightened selves."
Marianne Williamson




Monday, October 14, 2013

Long Drive

#1 - "Just a quick note to say thanks for being in my life. I probably don't say that enough and it's probably time I was reminded of that..."

This is the beginning of the message that started my day.

It reminded me of Jason Mraz's "Best Friend" song, a beautiful song for a friend. I listened to it and then I discovered that there are a bunch of new Mraz songs posted I haven't heard.

This is one I listened to the most -

#2 -

You know the five "Love Languages" - Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time and Gifts? I have three that score highly when I take the test, but I'm pretty sure my #1 is Words of Affirmation because I printed out two emails to save in my journal today, something I've always done. I treasure gifts of words.

Here is part of the second message -

#3 - "...I'm just glad you were spared a face to face interaction with that dude. I don't know how much it helps to hear it coming from me, but don't lose hope. The good people are out there too."

A couple weeks ago I learned how to "block" someone on an internet dating site. I received a message from a guy I'd briefly exchanged emails with and it unfortunately put me in a bad mood. This guy had initially told me that he was "concerned about the quality of people on this site" which became an incredible oxymoron as he quickly became the most concerning person I have yet encountered!

Anyway, soon after reading his disturbing email, I got the mail and there was a $50 gift certificate for the co-op as a thank-you for organizing my soccer team even though I'm not playing! It totally shifted my mood and I immediately wrote a letter to the guy who sent it (and his wife). I told him about my interaction that day and how getting his letter helped so much not fall into a negative male energy story.

His wife sent me an email later that week, but I never heard anything from the guy on my team until today.

So yeah it does help and the gift of that sketchy guy is a deepening of friendship with a good one.

#4 - Looking up right after writing that to see the lazy decent of yellow leaves in the backyard. Still mostly green out the window, but frames of yellow too.

#5 - One more



"The truth is what you believe to be the truth, you know, and that's what causes wars, but it also causes great poetry and great songs."

Jason Mraz

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Should be a Sign

#1 - 8:30pm I was putting away groceries and feeling a bit sad. I started feeling sad right around the time I left my friend’s house for the grocery store. I don’t know why. I’d had a lovely day. It just arrived, it just was. What to do with it? Then I remembered it was a gratitude blog post day and I felt a bit of relief, the possibility of expressing it/letting it out somehow. So here I sit with my sadness. What comes to mind is something Thich Nhat Hanh might say. “Hello sadness my friend. You are in good hands. I will take care of you.”


#2 – My day started with a bike ride to a nature center where I had my first meeting with Afton guy (see Afton article post a three weeks back). It was going to be a rainy day, but it wasn’t rainy yet and having someone to meet motivated me to get out on my bike. I was wet by the time I got home, but I wasn’t cold, it was fun.


#3 – Afton guy was pleasant. I didn’t have a strong sense of anything – interest nor disinterest, like nor dislike. Like his age, which I still couldn’t guess, I couldn’t sense whether we would enjoy more of each other or not, whether mutual interests would be engaging in the future or not. He certainly seemed like a decent human being and sometimes that is enough to be grateful for. He also had a nice voice.


#4 – Sometimes I wonder if opening is more painful than staying closed. What I mean is – possibility can point to places and things that are missing – point out a wound you didn’t know was there, a place you forgot was tender.


#5 – The poetry group is at the library tomorrow. I was thinking about waiting until next month to try it(when it will be cold) and doing something outside tomorrow evening. However I was at the library today, and I overheard the librarian who runs the group talking about his poems and how they help people to be in the “now”. I could hardly believe what I was hearing. That should be a sign…

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dessa and Butternut


#1 - I dreamt I was in a Spanish speaking country and annoyed at all these partying Americans. Then I was followed by two women who were picking on me into a health food store. One of the women stole money from the store owner. The store owner didn't realize it, but I asked him to count his cash after they left and he came up short. We saw that she had forgotten her bike, so we had something and since it led to our interaction (it was a very pleasant interaction), he said it was worth it...This is where my dream and waking blurred. I don't know when the line crossed, at some point I was enjoying this health food store owner. I still marvel at this because when I was younger this never happened, a bad dream turning into a good one.

#2 - I think of my niece as an extrovert, she likes to meet new people and invite them to interact with her. At the playground she certainly does not shy away from older kids. However I realized today that I rarely see her in a large group situation. I observed she did not want to be put down. "Up Daddy," she would say whenever he tried. So I learned something new about her.

#3 - I have often heard my niece request to go on a bike ride. Both her mom and dad have carriers on their bikes and they usually take her. Sometimes a short one, today her dad took her on a longer trip despite the fact that he bikes 30 miles round trip to work most days. If I did even half that, the last thing I'd want to do on the weekend is bike more. He just keeps going - no complaints.

#4 - Dessa - rap/hip-hop musician, new find for me though I've heard her name for a while. I'm really enjoying her CD - Castor, the twin. Today, Song #10 - Mineshaft 2 - it got me up from the couch where I was taking a break and propelled me to do my last set of lunge/knee exercises.

#5 - My sister-in-law found some shoelaces for the shoes I wear most often in the winter (they were looking raggedy) and I looked up a recipe to make this week from this uninvited visitor (in the photo) to the garden. It seeded itself from the compost. Yeah!

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Sea and The Shore








If I don't decide it is too cold. I'll be on my last mini-camping trip for 2013 tonight. Here are a few photos from my last one, as well as a song that I heard at that music festival that I longed for today.














I recommend just listening. I actually find this video distracting, it is beautiful, but the song is so full of imagery I like it to take me away without the video. So if you'd like a piece of beautiful melancholy...









Thursday, September 12, 2013

Afton Article

#1 - When I started my computer today for work it said to either restart it or Microsoft would force a restart in a few minutes. After I did this something looked strange and I was no longer able to open all my Microsoft files! This would be frustrating in general, but I had already had four other things go "wrong" in my morning and this sent me over the edge! At least I KNEW that I was over the edge, and knowing is half the battle.

#2 - Similarly my brother sent me an email about one of the previous frustrations and asked me to "not stress out" about it. Instead of reacting I thought to myself, "He is right. I am stressing out about this."

#3 - My local library is closed for renovations. It is kind of fun actually to use a different library as my home library for a bit and I'm pretty blessed because I have two libraries within five miles of where I live so it is hardly an inconvenience.

#4 - When I went to pick up some items on reserve at that library today I saw that they have a monthly poetry group! I'll have to check it out.

#5 - Earlier this week my friend read an article in her community paper written about a camping trip a guy had taken to a nearby state park. "Tammy could have written this article," she thought because I'd told her those exact same things about that park the last time I'd seen her. She thought, "What the hell" and wrote an email to the guy telling him this and saying she didn't know what would explain the coincidence unless he happened to be single and wanted to meet her friend???

After this they exchanged a few emails - he asking her what I'd said that was similar etc. At the end he told her to go ahead and pass his email on to me, which she did saying she hoped I would not be annoyed. Annoyed? Please, I need all the help I can get. If she was trying to fix me up with any guy she met out of desperation, yes that would be annoying. But a genuine impulse? Go for it!

So yesterday I sent the guy a message about camping and this morning he replied. Who knows if that will be the end of that, but regardless of any outcome, it is kind of fun!



Bonus item -

I watched this video recently and thought, "Amen!"

Friday, September 6, 2013

Antoniette Tuff

You know I try not to swim in the media, so I'm a little slow sometimes. But to everyone who said, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,"
let's present another option Antoniette Tuff.

"Do you not feel like you are a hero?" Anderson Cooper

"No not really. I feel like I helped somebody in need. That God was able to use me, and it was an honor to be able to be used. I feel like I was in the right place. And God needed me to be there to be a vessel for him." Antoinette Tuff

God what a refreshing conversation and a refreshing example.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ellis

#1- I often listen to something while I am working. Today my typical selections (The Story, The Moth etc.) weren't feeling right. It took a while to find what I needed but finally I landed on music from the festival I was at last weekend.

#2 - I found the song that I wanted to write the chorus in my journal - A Reckoning of Us by Robbie Hecht.

#3 - Though there are many songs posted I could include here, I chose this one mostly because of the woman singing it. She is the embodiment of kindness, just being in her presence brings me joy.

#4 - She (Ellis) is one of the reasons I played a song at the campfire at the festival. Nobody there cared whether I played or not, but for me it was stepping into a circle of people I respect. It was an unfamiliar step, but made much easier because this woman was there and I could follow her song and her lead and her kindness. And writing this now makes me realize how her authenticity supported and encouraged my authenticity.

#5 - Listening to other Ellis videos - she was talking about her need for expression and somehow this hit me in a way I haven't heard it before. The need for expression. I have that need too. I wonder if this is a universal need or more selective. Like the need for danger that some war correspondents have for example.


I'd like to add the following quote which my friend sent yesterday in a book review she thought I'd like.

“"'How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,' Annie Dillard wrote in her sublime meditation on presence vs. productivity. There is hardly a more enduring embodiment of this spirit than Henry David Thoreau, for whom the very definition of success rested on the ability to greet one’s day with joy. Yet this philosophy of mindfulness and immersion in the richness of life is increasingly eroded by our culture’s cult of productivity, which eats away at our ability to truly see life as it unfolds before us."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Banana Juice!

#1 - My favorite part of early development is language. I was amazed when I visited a friend and saw her child for the first time follow a verbal instruction. (I think it was, "push hard" to get the stroller bar to close.) My niece has just begun reciting entire sentences. I wish I could remember the one I heard today, but it had at least five words. Recently (last week) I was impressed when she said, "No touching. It's mine."

#2 - How excited my niece was to make banana juice when her Dad got home. After "Daddy!" the next thing she said was "Bananas!" Her mother refused to make it for her, so she thinks only Daddy knows how. This is because it is considered unhealthy food in their household. Not unhealthy because of the ingredients (frozen bananas and milk) but rather because my niece drinks so much she then won't eat anything else :).

#3 - My niece is really into dancing right now and requested me to play the ukulele so she could dance to it. She really grooves to my two chords and making up a song on a ukulele, that is a precious quality in a human being.

#4 - Since I'm on a roll... She distracted/entertained me while I did lunges and other exercises. Although she did try to roll up my yoga mat (while I was laying on it) because she wanted me to dance with her.

#5 - We started doing something I called "belly bump". She likes to jump on the bed. I had her stand close in front of me while I stood on the floor, then I bumped her belly with mine and she bounced back and fell on the bed laughing. "More belly bump," she said.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sprinkles, Running, Cayenne






#1 - I got up 20 minutes before my alarm went off because I've been sleeping in a tent in back and it started to sprinkle (I didn't have a rain fly on). It was a refreshing and sweet wake-up and stopped as soon as I emerged. So I was up 20 minutes early and I did my lunges and other exercises to help my knee before it got hot. It felt like a good start to a week.








#2 - My niece got new (used) tennis shoes and I joked that she would be fast in them. It wasn't a joke. She has been running all evening. I guess the other shoes she's been wearing are either one size too large or one size too small. I'm not sure if that is what has inspired all the energy, but she ran a lot when I was outside with her and then when her Dad got home she wanted to run again and race him. I've never seen her run so much.

#3 - These are her first shoes that have laces that tie and she spent a long time concentrating and trying to figure this out.









#4 - I was asked to work extra hours today and I'm so grateful that this is rare and that I have a choice in the matter.

#5 - I saw a squirrel jump on a tree I planted two years ago and start gnawing on it. First of all I'm grateful to have seen it happen, what is the chance of that? Second of all I called the nursery to ask why this would occur. (The tree has been there two years and it is not winter). I also wanted to know how to prevent it. The woman didn't know why it occurred but suggested spraying it with cayenne pepper. I love this. I have a lot of cayenne pepper and it is certainly non-toxic, now I just have to get myself out there and do it.

These photos are from camping a few weeks ago. I think a camera can take us out of the present moment, but it can also pull one deeper in, as it did in this case with these lily pads.









Sunday, August 11, 2013

There's No Place Like Home

#1 - "There's No Place Like Home" - Based off the Wizard of Oz and about homelessness. Dorothy loses her home to flooding in Northern MN and goes in search of help. She first meets a homeless person with mental issues (scarecrow), then a hardened heart homeless teenager (tin man), then a scary man with a gun - turns out to be a squirt gun (lion). The whole thing was so well done, humorous many times while tackling a serious issue and also very touching. Go FRINGE!

#2 - I didn't think I would get to any shows at the Fringe festival this year. Instead of trying to cram it in I just let it go. Then today space opened and it easily flowed. I looked for something online at the 2:30pm time slot and decided on "There's No Place Like Home." I was debating between that and one other show but I clearly made the right choice.

#3 - Afterwards I went to hear Jasper Lepak at the Lake Harriet Bandshell. There is free music EVERY DAY at the Lake Harriet Bandshell over the summer, but as often happens I had not yet made it to many (in this case ANY this year). Jasper Lepak is someone I'd heard on KFAI's womenfolk radio show so it's nice to go hear someone I have more of an affinity to.

#4 - I finished this awesome book I saw on the shelf at the library. Minnesota State Parks: How to Get There, What to Do, Where to Do It by Anne Arthur. I'm really into state parks right now (hence these photos from a couple weeks ago). And this book is really well done and user-friendly. The author has some great tips for each location.

#5 - I'm also really into salad right now as I have yummi tomatoes, green pepper and cucumber from the garden. With some lettuce (from the farmer's market), avocado, cheese, and sesame dressing my sister-in-law brought back from Japan, I am reminded what salad should taste like and look forward to eating another one tomorrow.









Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Decide




#1 - “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”



Albert Einstein



This is the quote at the beginning of an audiobook I began today.  It reminded me of a recent conversation I had with my teenage cousin.  We were sleeping in a tent in the backyard.  Looking at the stars and the sky often leads to talk of bigger things.  We discussed whether we believed in UFO’s and alien life.  I said I didn’t know whether there has been such things on Earth.  However, I find it odd that they are often depicted as ugly or scary.  My thought is that if a species is more advanced than us technologically, they are most likely more advanced in kindness and beauty as well.

So I guess I'm leaning toward the friendly one.

#2 – “According to economist Jeffery Sachs, $100 billion, 1/7 of the annual military defense budget of the United States, could eradicate deep poverty within 10 years.”  Marianne Williamson

#3 – “Like any muscle faith grows stronger when it is used and weaker when it isn’t.”  Williamson I’m not exactly sure how to exercise faith, but I did make a decision to exercise gratitude when I began this project.  Last weekend I was visiting my aunt and she did this activity with me before bed.  As I explained it to her, that she couldn’t say she was grateful for the sunset unless she described the sunset so specifically that it wouldn’t be mistaken for any other, I realized what I great writing exercise these gratitudes are.  “I would like to work on my writing,” was the last thought on my mind when I began this process.  I’ve had people tell me, “That’s great you write everyday!” when I tell them, but I always shrug it off – a sentence or two for each when I write in my journal, I discounted the writing benefit.  But as I explained it to my aunt, I could see maybe they were right.

#4 – “Our internal abundance is ultimately the source of our external abundance.  Who we are, not just the services we provide, creates money.” - Williamson

#5 – I had a breakthrough moment in my mid-20's when I realized that money was not evil, money was energy.  However, I realized I still have a way to go when I heard this today, “If we have the idea that somehow it’s more pure to be poor, than that’s most probably when we’ll manifest.”  I'm not even sure where to begin with this statement, but it is quite clear to me that I have some work to do.

Quotes are all from The Law of Divine Compensation : [on work, money, and miracles] by Marianne Williamson

Thursday, July 18, 2013

River Rats



#1 – River Rats Water Ski Show on the Mississippi – I’ve known this existed for multiple years, I finally went today.  It was my first water ski show.  I really admired the athleticism and time/dedication it must take from an all volunteer team to put that together.  It’s beautiful to see.

#2 – It was a Mario Bros themed show.  So there was Mario and Luige (sp?) and a princess and a bad guy.  The 4 (?) year old sitting near me said with deep concern to her father, “Is he being mean?...  Is he being mean to us or to the people up there?…Is he just pretending to be mean?”  She also thought it was hilarious when the bad guy thought he had a lion tattooed on his back and it was Hello Kitty.

#3 - My bad@ss brother.  I was thinking I would bike to the water ski show, but then it looked so hot I wasn’t sure I would go, no less bike.  But then I thought of my brother who I knew biked 30 miles (round trip) to work even today in the heat and I thought, if he can do that...

#4 – So I took the bus there and biked home.  It grew dark about half way home.  I was prepared with a light and a reflector vest.  It was humid, but also so peaceful and quiet, I felt grateful my brother and the river rats got me outside.

#5 – I went by a house with a few people darkly dressed with flashlights.  It looked a little sketchy but then I saw they were three police officers looking at the side of a house and a woman was standing in the doorway.`  As I biked by I thought, “That woman was afraid for whatever reason, and she made a phone call and three men came to her house to help."  I often think of cops as people attracted to power or adrenaline.  Tonight I felt grateful that anyone would choose such a stressful job, and that after they leave, that woman will not be left with a bill for their service.  That (unlike an ambulance) no one has to consider the bill before making that call.