Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

25 days of my favorite things, #6: Happiness
I found this great quote on the Abraham-Hicks blog www.abraham-hicks.lilly6.com and I am in love.

“A happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people don’t allow the happy moment, because they’re so busy trying to get a happy life.” – Abraham-Hicks


Yesterday I had the most beautiful happy moment. I actually thought to myself “I’m so happy I could just cry!”. We (kids and me - husband has been out of town for 13 days now) were scheduled to get the venerable holiday photo yesterday morning. We tried last weekend but Anthony kept throwing up (which turned out to be strep). 10 minutes before we were to leave yesterday, Eden threw up too. It really makes me think we were never meant to have these pictures.

It is 2 days before Christmas and my baby is vomiting. I know at some point last week she actually had her brother’s toothbrush in her mouth so I suppose on some level I’d be surprised if this didn’t happen. I figured it would be best to just go get the strep test out of the way. I also had to go to the bank and the post office. So I loaded up the van and drove in to Shakopee (sung to the tune of the Beverly Hillbillies by the way). Before our day at the MinuteClinic (minute my patootie) I went through the drive-through at Caribou Coffee to get a latte.

We are sitting in the car listening to Christmas songs. We are watching people bustling in and out of the shops in the adjacent strip mall, people shoveling the fresh snow off the sidewalks, and people generally moving about their business. There is an air of cheer. It seems so clichéd but it’s true. I think the stress of the holidays has melted into excitement now that it’s so close. You can feel it out loud. I looked over and saw a woman from the beauty shop shoveling outside. A couple walked up to her and gave her a card and a gift. I don’t know why (besides the obvious) but it was such a touching moment. In that moment I felt generosity, caring, human tenderness. I felt so happy I wanted to cry.

May you all be blessed with many happy moments, and the ability to allow the happy moments.

Friday, December 21, 2007

FOOD

25 days of my favorite things - day #5 (random they are)
I love food! There is very little I don't like. Mayonnaise and Oreos, that's about it. Oh, and maybe Brussel Sprouts (ever since an unfortunate encounter in 7th grade Home Ec class). But I'm not here to talk about what I don't like, this is My Favorites already. The other day I was talking with some friends and I mentioned that I'm ahead of my time because I've never dieted. Mainly because I have no willpower. The other reason is I just love food.
So here goes, my favorite of the favorites (aside from #1, in no particular order).
#1 TIRAMISU - Italian-cream, rum-filled, coffee-flavored heaven.
Speaking of coffee - coffee. Good coffee with real cream or, hot-creamy-goodness-in-a-cup, as I call it.
Peanut butter. Chocolate. enough said.
You could put butter and/or capers on just about anything and I'd eat it.
Caprese salad (tomatoes, basil & real mozzarella, with or without balsamic vinegar)
Peanut butter and chocolate ice cream.
Red wine - a good Shiraz or Pinot Noir. Does that count? that's not really a food, is it?
Big, juicy, right in season Pomegranates.
Big fluffy buttermilk pancakes with real maple syrup. Or better yet, fresh hot Belgian Waffles (the real kind made with seltzer) with strawberries and real, fresh whipped cream. ooh - ooh - how about Chocolate Belgian Waffles?
Did I mention peanut butter?

I could have a whole blog dedicated just to the food I love. I'm just not sure my computer keyboard could handle all the drool. Liquids kill them you know. Especially Pinot Noir.

I have to go now, I think I hear my peanut butter calling.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm sitting here...

...at my computer, about to write about Yoga in my blog, looking at the Yoga Sutras, trying to find the one about Yoga being in ease (II.46: Sthirasukhamasanam). Then I have this thought,

"I could get to a place where I am peaceful and unwavered and not affected by anyone or anything or their actions"

I'm not sure if my sentence truly projects the way that thought felt. It is good and calm and peaceful and hopeful. It once again directs me back to myself, as the answers are within me. I like that place, that kind of peace. It's like a big juicy fruit (a pomegranate?) that is like liquid heaven and you could eat it all day and it never makes you full. I want to eat the fruit of that feeling, that kind of peace. All of the sutras are speaking to me now, suddenly guiding me, reminding me what needs to be done.

So instead I give you this, Sutra I.33, as poetically translated by Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D.:

"So many ways to still the mind,
make friends with those who live in joy,
have compassion for those who suffer,
delight in those who shine with virtue and integrity,
turn your thoughts away from those who dwell in darkness."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friends are Family - Part II

25 days of my Favorite Things - #4
I do have other friends besides my neighbors, I'd like to sing their praises now. First, there is my yoga advanced teacher training group, AKA, my therapy group. The most amazing, wonderful, helpful, non-judgmental people I have ever met. For the last 2 years we have met at least once a month (and often much more) to study and learn more about all facets of Yoga. In the process we've been through 2 births, several deaths, a move, many family dramas, and started a new company. They have changed my life for the better.
Then, I have friends from various other places - my best friend from college, friends from old workplaces, friends through yoga and preschool. The people who I don't get to see as often as I'd like, but when I do it's as if we just saw each other yesterday.
Like SE. Last Sunday I took my kids to the mall to see Santa. For 5 hours. After one look at the mile long line we went to have lunch. After that my husband left to go out of town and we were left to fend for ourselves. On the way back to Santa we ran into SE. After a big - haven't-seen-you-in-over-a-year hug, she exclaimed "I'm having the worst day!" She had also been there since the mall opened but after 45 minutes in line with Santa and one toddler head smack to the floor she went home. After dropping the toddler off for nap she came back only to find that Santa was going on break in 30 minutes and they weren't letting anyone in line.
To make a long story short, we spent the afternoon together and finally did get to see Santa. Both of us admitted we wouldn't have stayed had it not been for the other. And it turned out to be a pretty great day.
God loves a friend, especially when they turn up in the most unexpected places for the most necessary of reasons.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Friends are family - part I

25 days of my favorite things - #3
Not to discount my family, but right now so many of my friends and neighbors are my family. Many of my family live some distance away and even the ones we love we don't see often enough. I am lucky enough - knowing that I chose this place and these people, I still consider myself lucky and fortunate - to live in the best neighborhood in the world. My best friend since 1st grade lives 6 houses away and next to her is also someone who grew up in my hometown. I spend New Year's, 4th of July and many other holidays with my neighbors and we all have our "annual events" - the Weird Beer Party, Halloween Party, the Rocket party, camping, the softball team and the scrapbook group.
They are the people I call if my husband's out of town and I'm pregnant and sick with the flu and I just need to sleep - they take my kids for the day. They are the people I call if I promised my kids we'd make cookies that look like pizza and I just need 1 egg and my husband scrambled the last of the eggs yesterday. They are the people I call if I forgot to return the movie to the library and "hey - are you going into town today?". They are the people who call me when their daughter awakens at 1am with febrile seizures. We bring gifts and dinners to the new parents bringing home the newborn from the hospital - or Korea or Vietnam. And then we all call each other when one us finds a lump in her breast while feeding the 6 month old (he is now almost 5 and mom is doing great). I am eternally grateful for these people - my friends.

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." - Anais Nin

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

FRecycling

25 days of my favorite things: #2
FRecycling, as in Recycling with an F. Oddly enough, that is what my 4 year old calls it - Frecycling. He is obsessed with trash, garbage, garbage trucks, compost. You name it. If it's associated with garbage he's a fan. His favorite book is Trashy Town and his favorite video is There Goes a Garbage Truck. When he grows up he wants to be the guy that drives the lawn compost truck. We're hoping he'll take that desire and invent a new and better way to dispose of garbage. Need I say more?
Which leads me to my favorite things for today. My husband calls me a pack rat, I call myself a recycler. In my house if it can be used again, it damn well better. I donate to Goodwill and the Veterans, I resell on Ebay, I tape up books and rent or borrow things whenever I can.
Last night I made bread pudding (to use up those old husks of bread that don't get eaten and that I in turn throw in the freezer for later use). Orange Raisin Bread Pudding on a cold winter night is yummy. Now on to those frozen brown bananas...
Here are some cool people who are doing the same and turning trash into trashion. Take a look, wonder at their ingenuity, then buy something for your sister or mother. (P.S. these are not advertisements and I'm not getting paid, these are just sites I found that I like and that have cool stuff) Happy shopping!
www. ebay.com - of course the king site of re-use
www.refinding.com - trendy uses for those old tires, etc.
www.branchhome.com - some new, some recycled, all sustainable
www.halftheskydesigns.com - a new kind of bag
www.thegreenfuse.com - eco-friendly jewelry and recycled car metal art (a friend of mine!)
If you know of any other great sites the relate to recycling - please pass them on! I love looking at the wonder of what is offered via the internet.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My favorite things...

I'm not feeling creative as of late. I think I went a little creatively crazy a couple of weeks ago and wore myself out. I know I have things to say - like they're on the tip of my tongue - but yet just can't remember what it was. Alas.
I'm musing on my favorite things. Partly because Christmas time makes me think of it, partly because I'm focusing very hard on positive things. My "happy place" if you will. That pretty much brings me to things I love, my favorites. We could call it the 25 days of Favorite Things.
#1: COMFORTABLE CLOTHES
Last night as I was flipping the channels (that's how uncreative I am right now) and came across a show whereby 3 people choose wardrobes for a 4th person. I'm not sure the dynamics but I'm guessing 2 are the best friends/sister/co-worker and the 3rd is a true stylist or otherwise fashion type person. While wearing a dress this "stylist" picked out the woman said the beads at the cuffs and hems were too heavy (it was a weird dress. period.) The man - yes man - replied "who cares how it feels as long as it looks good!" An off-hand remark, yes, but telling all the same.
Because she obviously cared how it feels. And I care how it feels. I might be miss-nerves-on-top-of-her-skin but I'm guessin' I'm not alone. Are you with me? Maybe I'm just getting picky in my old age but - good grief! Do all things beautiful have to be uncomfortable or even painful? Life is too short. I stopped wearing high heels the day I stopped working at a bank. I spend $45 on a bra so I don't have to know it's there (and it lifts and pushes together). Even then I take it off as soon as I know no one is looking. Thank GOD for tagless design so I can stop cutting them all out.
Final word: In our house we call our comfy clothes Gumby Gear. And its not because Gumby was rigid and inflexible.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanks and Gratitude

I teach Yoga at a suburban Gold's Gym. Not the kind of place you'd expect for a teacher like me. Some of the other teachers (exercise class teachers) call me a 'mat girl' as in, "do you teach other classes or are you just a 'mat girl'?" But I like it because it's close to my house and I have all my props there and they let me teach whenever I want. I've also developed a pretty regular group of students who are looking for more than just a 'mat girl'. Believe me, they wouldn't keep coming back if they didn't.
Yesterday morning I taught a class with a Gratitude theme. I started by reading this great quote recently sent me from my dear friend Karen (thanks, Karen!):

We have noticed that when you are in the mode of appreciation, that is the closest physical thought process that harmonizes perfectly with the pure positive energy that comes forth from within you of anything we have seen in your physical experience.

Someone said ‘Isn’t love closer to that pure vibration?’ And we say Love and Appreciation are the identical vibration.” ~ Abraham – Hicks

Then I told a story about myself and a time when I overcame a really angry moment by focusing on what I was grateful for (let's just say it involves knives and mushrooms). The inspiration was to find small things that we're grateful for. As we went through class I gave examples of things I was grateful for in the moment, to help keep our focus and give inspiration. Here are some examples:
  • I'm grateful for my hands and fingers (all 10 of them!)
  • I'm grateful for my yoga mat
  • I'm grateful for being able to make mistakes and nobody really cares (in a good way)
  • I'm grateful I can stand up
  • I'm grateful for laughter
  • I'm grateful I can relax
At the end of class I expressed my gratitude for my students and the opportunity to share my knowledge of yoga with them. After gathering their things, one student came up to me after class and said "I'm grateful for you" and walked away. Luckily I was able to blurt out a "thank you" as she left but I have to say I was a little dumbstruck (or awestruck?). Sometimes we forget how much impact we can and do have on others. Wow, am I grateful for that moment. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Shimmy, shimmy, shimmy til the break of dawn...

...Yeah! As the song goes. Regular, not 3 quarter. I just got home from Belly Dancing class and I was just going to rave about how much I love belly dancing. But now that I wrote that I need a moment to rant about the 3 quarter shimmy. A basic shimmy is a small shake of the hips back and forth (right-left-right-left). A 3/4 shimmy is 2 times at each side (right-right, left-left). Anyway, I'm a little bottom heavy. Not in general, just in the bottom. I tend to carry most of my weight in my butt and thighs. I've gotten used to it, even grown to embrace it, but there are times when it does pose a problem. Jeans would be one (too big in the waist, can't get them up past said thighs). 3/4 shimmy would be another.
When it comes to belly dancing, as my first teacher once said: "It jiggles because it's supposed to." So I'm thinking, Hey Great! I can let me butt flap around as much as it wants to and no one will be offended! But that was before the 3/4 shimmy. The problem I have is that momentum tends to take my body one way and it never has time to catch up before I'm on to the next one. I always (yes always!) feel like my butt is just one too many steps behind. Like a bad celebrity ballroom dancer.
So if anyone has any great suggestions for how to lose a little of just my butt fat, or at least trim it up so that I can shimmy like everyone else, I'm up for it. :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I always hate never

I generally avoid using words I like, to describe other words I don't like. Today I'll make an exception. I hate the word always. (I also hate the word hate but I'll save that for later). Always, and likewise the word Never, seem so confining. Isn't that funny? Words that in essence mean "at all times/forever" and "not ever" can seem confining to me. It only means one thing, and if you're saying it to me you'd better make darn sure you've got your forever and not ever straight.
My husband (yes, I'm on him again) was complaining a bit yesterday that there was food in the sink. We have a garbage disposal and we have 3 young kids. During any given meal I spend up to 2 hours straight in the kitchen (ugh, for one thing). During the course of this time I, at the very least, cut up some fruit for them, leaving the entrails behind. Or, um, I guess it would be skins, rinds and seeds. At the very most, I cook a meal involving vegetable scraps, meat carcasses, potato and carrot peelings, cheese rinds, and the aforementioned fruit entrails. I may also take advantage of my kids sitting still and the baby being contained to clean out the fridge, thereby dumping out the year-old, half-opened jar of sauerkraut my husband insisted on getting to make Ruebens that didn't happen. Lots of stuff in the sink. Now, back to his complaint. Because so much happens during this time such as yelling and barking at me to "I need more milk, mom!", etc., that I let the scraps sit in the sink until I have determined that I have no more scraps to give the disposal and then I grind it up all it once.
My husband takes offense to this. He hates seeing food in the sink. It stains the (white) sink. It creates fruit flies (where exactly do they come from?). And so his comment was "There's ALWAYS food in the sink!" To that I said, "ALWAYS? As in every single time without fail? 24/7?" The reply came back "Every night for the last 2 weeks there's been food in the sink." (I'm going to assume that probably isn't the case either).
My point is, if ALWAYS means "at all times, forever", then I would guarantee there isn't ALWAYS food in our sink. Now I wouldn't say there's never food in the sink...
By the way, he did call later to apologize for "being a butt". Do you suppose I should get literal about that too?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Husbands ? !

I've been working on my compassion lately. Funny, but I talk about it like its a knitting project or something. Yes, when it's all done I'll have this lovely angora pink compassion.

So, today it was my husband. Let's keep with the knitting analogy. I was feeling sort of olive green wool indifference about him today. Not bad, but not especially great either. I haven't had enough time to really talk with him lately and yesterday he was a bad boy (I'll save that for another day...) and I was a little perturbed at him. Today, not so much but just not lovey-dovey. Then he called on his way home from watching football and we had a good little chat and suddenly I felt re-bonded. Sort of tight knit navy blue organic cotton socks.

So I was thinking, what had changed? and How can I tap into that more often?

Today it was "challenge" that drew me closer to him. Yeah, I know, weird little things around the word. Well, I guess I can best explain by saying Circle the Wagons!? We're going through a challenging financial period. One in which (by way of my manifesting class) I KNOW things are going to be OK. We're just kind of looking at the situation to see what we can do. I guess the bottom line is we both just said, we'll do what we have to do and everything will work out. Quaint, but true. Someone once said, it's not as if the money just runs out and there will never be any more. True, true.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Halloween

Another successful Halloween has passed. We are now sufficiently loaded up on candy to make the kids arm-flailing-eye-rolling-back-in-the-head episodes continue at least until the sugar high that is Christmas. Joy. Actually, aside from the gruesome candy it was a good day. After weeks of working on Sammy's costume we finally pulled it together for the big night. What a riot! I just followed him and chuckled the whole way. He's a Spinosaurus, BTW.


Then there's Anthony. My sweet boy. The kid wants to be a garbage man. When he grows up. Actually, a lawn refuse collector (he's quite specific - they have a different kind of truck, you know.) So how on earth does a person make a garbage man costume? Don't ask me, I still haven't quite figured it out. Here he is anyway...
The baby was an angel (well, is an angel) but dressed like one for Halloween. She wouldn't keep the halo on and stayed in the wagon the whole time and kept trying to eat treats IN the wrapper. Oh well, at least she's cute!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Curious George

I love Curious George. My 4 year old is not a TV watcher in general but loves this show. I, in turn, love it too. Through this love of Curious George we are adding to our already unique family language. We can thank George for the terms “Smell-o-Vision”, “Flopification Pot” and “Window Monkey”. I am now fond of saying: “I want a window monkey! Where’s MY window monkey?” (using a tone of voice much like Veruca Salt from Willie Wonka).

My husband already calls our son “monkey bucket”. He’s the king of nicknames. When our son was born we argued over what to name him. We’re not so good with boy names. I wanted Jalen, he wanted anything but. Actually, it had more to do with Chicago sports than anything. You see, we have 2 dogs named “Walter” and “Payton”. Our first son is named Samuel, but we call him Sammy (as in Sammy Sosa – that was the deal we struck). So for the second boy we went through any number of Chicago sports player names. Brian (Urlacher), Mike (Ditka), Michael Jordan (first or last name would have worked), George (Halas). I think he might have even considered Rex. Anthony was the only name I would consider, after Anthony Thomas. We flipped coins. I lost. Anthony it was (and his middle name actually is Thomas).

When we brought him home from the hospital our older son (then 1 ½ years old) couldn’t say Anthony. He called him Ant-ny and it stuck. My husband also called him “A-train” which later turned in to “Freight Train” and that stuck. The monkey part came from the way he would just hang on his. As a baby and toddler you could hold him on your hip and he would “just mold to your body” as one of my friends’ mother said. He was like a monkey – you could let go and he’d hang on.

Don’t ask me where bucket came from. Oh, and sometimes there’s a “lips” thrown in for good measure. We sure do love our Freight Monkey Bucket Lips.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hi!

10/10/2007

Greetings! And welcome to my blog. My name is Marya (pronounced Mar – ya) and I’m a work-at-home mom and Yoga Teacher. I'm married and have 3 kids (6, 4, 1) and 2 dogs. I find it hard to describe all that I do and usually just answer with “a lot”. Today I had someone ask me if I was a stay-at-home mom. For simplicity I just answered “yes”. It’s just easier that way. My husband and I own a small company in a construction type capacity so I do all the administrative work for that. I varies by time of day and time of year and year to year. Right now it's slow - good for my workload, bad for making money. I'm also on the board of a local business group and I sell things on Ebay. I teach Yoga at a local gym and I'm in the process of becoming a 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher through the Yoga Alliance. I am also learning how to belly dance (or middle eastern dance).

So here I am writing a blog. I find blogs fascinating, interesting, infuriating, weird and entertaining. So I decided to start one of my own. I’m also in the beginning stages of being a part of an extremely exciting and inspiring company that my friend and Yoga teacher is creating. I want to tell the world about it! Eventually my blog will move to our site, so why not start now?

I’ll leave with the thought of the day (this one made me chuckle) :

“The way to go from rags to riches is to start by getting a decent set of rags.” - Leonard and Thelma Spinrad