Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gardening, Yoga and Golf

It's golf season! (at least here in Minnesota where it got down to 43 degrees last night) My husband and I are starting our second year of a couples golf league. I started last year after a 10+ year absence in playing. It was so much fun! It's great to share a hobby with your spouse that you both really enjoy. Plus it was nice knowing that I had a regular commitment to a night out sans kids every other week.
What has been amazing to me is the difference in how I played last year vs. last time I played. I attribute it all to my yoga practice. The difference? I'm so much more calm and centered. I can concentrate on the ball and move with more intention. I'm more flexible, of course, and stronger. Yet probably the biggest difference is in letting go. It does not matter if I hit a bad shot, I don't feel embarrassed if I miss it completely and I don't really care who's watching. It is just a game after all and aren't games meant to be fun? So I just enjoy the company, the evening out and the fresh air. That's what's really important to me.
So what does this have to do with gardening? I also enjoy gardening and growing my own vegetables. The past weekend I rented a tiller in order to expand my garden. WOW, am I sore! Like a boot camp for the upper body. That AND coming off a little illness AND the fact that I haven't even been to the driving range yet this year and this league night should be interesting.
Here's what I'll be doing the next couple of days: going to the chiropractor, getting caught up on my sleep (no more sick baby??) and lots of YOGA
gentle twists (sukhasana with a twist)
shoulder openers like gomukhasana (cow's face pose)
and backbends like Cobra (love that pose!)
LOTS of shoulder rolls
Lunges, Trikonasana (triangle) and Parsvo Trikonasana (revolved triangle)
Here's a great Yoga Journal article (among others) about yoga and golf. Look out Annika, here I come?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I asked for it

I asked for strength
and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom
and God gave me problems to learn to solve.
I asked for prosperity
and God gave me a brain and brawn to work.
I asked for courage
and God gave me dangers to overcome.
I asked for love
and God gave me people to help.
I asked for favours
and God gave me opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted.
I received everything I needed.

From a Sufi poem, attributed to Hazrat Inayat Khan, referenced in the book The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist.

The List for mental health

I'm having a challenging week. There's a lot going on and I'll just say it's busy. I'm trying not to judge it and say bad or crappy, because of course it just is. So I'm focusing on being in the moment, doing what's right in front of me and also doing little things that help me feel good.
I was reminded yesterday by my friends that it is helpful to keep a list of things - written down - that I can do when I have these times. It's great to write them down because often when you are in the throngs of chaos (or work, or sleep deprivation...) you may not even have the wherewithal to think about it. Here is the list we came up with:
  • Eat good food (as Laura says "If you can't get good sleep, eat well, if you can't eat well, get good sleep"
  • Exercise, go for a walk, or as Beth suggested "just do one yoga pose"
  • Drink more water
  • Take your vitamins
  • Get fresh air and spend time in nature. Let me add, sit in the sunshine. Even 5 minutes helps.
  • Talk with friends :-)
The other thing I discovered yesterday was that my house was in complete disarray. Due to volume of work, kids and "stuff" I had let a lot go in terms of housekeeping. So I did the dishes, cleaned the counters, cleaned a toilet, folded laundry and vacuumed. It's amazing what a little housekeeping does for my mental state. And so I'll add to the list:
  • Clean or organize a room, closet or drawer. Get rid of a little clutter.
What else would be on your list?

Monday, May 19, 2008


Book Meme from Inspirasana and originally from YogaMum. List of the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing's users. Mark the books you have read with bold, underline books you read in school and italicize books you started but did not finish.

Reminds me of how little I remember of my school academics.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The [A] Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye - SCHOOL
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit (the rings trilogy)
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island - read this to my son when he was a baby
David Copperfield

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I don't think you're quite ready yet

God's Wheel

God says to me with kind of a smile,
"Hey how would you like to be God awhile
And steer the world?"
"Okay," says I, "I'll give it a try.
Where do I set?
How much do I get?
What time is lunch?
When can I quit?"
"Gimme back that wheel," says God
"I don't think you're quite ready yet."

- by Shel Silverstein, from A Light in the Attic

Monday, May 12, 2008

My new babies

Every year some bird makes a valiant effort to help nature continue on even though builders love to mow down everything (esp. all the trees) in order to build a new neighborhood. Then they plant saplings and let the rest of us deal with the aftermath. The aftermath being the building of nests in every nook and cranny of our yards.

Even though I'm a suburbanite I do appreciate nature and make every attempt to help it out. Except the rabbits - no trees mean no squirrels and 4 bajillion rabbits who eat everything they see. I don't hurt the rabbits, I just don't help them.

Birds, on the other hand, I like. I feed the finches and have food and feeders on most of my trees. The valiant effort noted about is their attempts at nesting. Every year we get one in our deck. They set up shop at the top of the support beams just under the floor of the deck. I think for the most part they have success. This year we know they do. Hence, my new babies:This picture was taken Tuesday 5/6 at around 8:30am CST. One baby was born between 4-8pm Mon. 5/5 and the other was born between then and the time the picture was taken. The third hatched later that day. It's Friday and they are still doing well (although still pink and wrinkly with various puff balls of random feathers).

The kids and I are trying to name them. I suggested things like Huey, Duey and Louie or
Larry, Curly and Moe. My kids are not that creative with animal names (we have stuffed frogs named 'Hoppy', an Allosaurus named 'Ali' and a snake named 'slithery'. Not so much names as adjectives. We've settled on Sam, Ant and Ede, named after the kids.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Gratitude

Lately I've been focused on choosing to see the positive. The duality of life is that there is positive and negative. I just believe there can be a lot more positive if that is what we choose to focus on. I'm not going to focus on or dwell on the negative, it just makes me feel bad and tends to attract more of the same. Likewise, if I focus on the positive I feel good and I get even more of the good stuff.

Someone (Wayne Dyer? Judith Lasater?) said, "What you appreciate, appreciates". Gratitude is such a big part of being positive, because as the quote says, what you appreciates grows and you get "more of the good stuff".

This idea came from Nona over at Everyday Yogini. In honor of Mother's Day, a chance to express my gratitude for my family, my children and the incredible experience of being a mother.

Marya's top 10 Mommy Gratitude List

1. I am grateful for each of my children - that they chose me as their mother, for each of the unique ways they came to be, that I get the joy of seeing them live and grow.

2. I am grateful for Sammy, my oldest boy. 'Super Sammy Salad' I love his creativity and imagination, his ease of life and willingness to try just about anything. I love his humor and goofy stories. I appreciate his love of nature and desire to learn. I've learned more about dinosaurs, sharks, frogs and bugs than I ever knew I wanted.

3. I am grateful for Anthony, middle child. 'Freight Train', 'Monkey Bucket' I love his noodley little body and the way it squidges. I love his emotions, his drama and his quest for attention, even when it drives me crazy sometimes. I love his persistence and sense of order and his quiet calm when he focuses on something he enjoys. I love his funny little giggle, the kind that makes you laugh with him. His love of garbage trucks and obsession with recycling has made us all more aware. (We even have a compost bin now)

4. I am grateful for Eden, baby girl. 'Pink Pocket of Perpetrating Baby' I love her facial expressions and breath talk and the way she twists her hair when she's tired, knots and all. I love her persistence and perpetrating. (It was the butter dish this morning) I love her contemplation and quiet yet also the running and squeeling. Every day is an adventure.

5. I am grateful for my husband who loves me, treats me like a queen and allows me "mommy time" for my sanity. And as my mom reminds me, he is partly responsible for me being a Mom.

6. I am grateful for all of the support of my family and friends. Especially the reminder that someday I'll even look back on the really bad days and miss them too.

7. I am grateful for my health and strength. I've often said that as long as I'm healthy and feel well I can handle anything.

8. I am grateful that we have access to everything we need, that there is always enough, and that my children are truly blessed.

9. I am grateful for the love and affection we display. That I can say "I love you" to my kids all the time and that they know I mean it. That they say it back is even better.

10. I am grateful for everything. There is not a single thing in my life I regret and that is what keeps me constantly working to make my life not just the best it can be, but unforgettable. I want it to just keep getting better. My kids are such a big part of that because they have changed me and pushed me and calmed me and taught me in ways I could have never imagined before.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 9, 2008


This one's for you, Karen :-)

My orchids, courtesy of my brother William. Years ago after watching the movie Adaptation he began growing orchids himself. I even had the opportunity to go with him to a really amazing orchid store in Plymouth, Minnesota called Orchids Limited.

I always thought because they are so delicate and beautiful that they were really hard to grow. When my brother stayed with us for a time he had his orchids with and when he left I asked if I could keep one. Kind of a "loaner". The amazing thing is, I keep this little guy on my kitchen window (which gets a good amount of morning sun and general light throughout the day) and all I really do is water it.

Want to know the best part? It stays in near constant bloom for nearly 8 MONTHS! I am not kidding. This one began blooming in about Jan-Feb. Last year I remember the blooms beginning to fall off around September. I love that I get to keep the beauty of these flowers around for so long.

Beautiful and delicate yet persistent and steady. Amazing!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hello, my name is...

Hello, my name is Marya and I'm a sugar addict. Disclaimer: I don't mean any harm or disservice to those suffering from addictions of drugs or alcohol. I realize that many would not even think of sugar as an addiction, but people can be so-called addicted to food, right? It just so happens that I think sugar is a rather insidious food product and truly does create an addictive cycle in the body and, at least in me, addictive type behavior. But I realize it is not like tobacco or heroin.
So, I have a friend who decided to go on the Fat Flush Plan. It sounds like some fad diet, and it's goal in part is to help you lose weight, but it's also a bit of a detox plan as well. It's not called FLUSH for nothin', ya know. It's spring, I ate pretty crappy this winter (hello - Girl Scout Cookies???) and I figured it would be nice to lose a couple of pounds before swimsuit season. Not coincidentally this falls during the month of Eating for the Living Compassionately program. We're studying how food and eating affect how we feel and how we treat others.
So here I am on this plan. I buy the book, read and kind of prep myself. Except my version of "prepping" is to pay really close attention to all the things I'm eating that I won't eat on the plan. The 1st 2 weeks are pretty intense and you cut out all foods that tend to elicit sensitivities or allergic reactions (dairy, wheat, SUGAR, etc.) Which pretty much means any carb that doesn't come from a non starchy vegetable (no potatoes even). Just lots of water, protein and veggies and fruits.
So I'm at Target and I buy a HEATH bar. Haven't bought one in probably 10 years but in the checkout had this thought: "might as well, won't be able to eat THIS after tomorrow." What the heck is that? Talk about rationalizing! Did the same with scones and cereal. It was then I realized my addictive behavior:

Wake up - eat! gotta have my cereal!!!
Coffee, with cream (what no sugar??)
mid-morning snack - scone, muffin, bagel, toast, anything with carbs and sugar
Lunch - whatever the kids don't eat
after lunch - "I just need a bite of something sweet - anything!"
Scrounge through kids treat bag for year old, previously melted Kit-Kat, eat it then decide it was really horrible and not worth it.
mid-afternoon snack - see morning snack
Dinner - nice well balanced meal
before bed snack - cereal.

It was the first thing I did when I woke up. The last thing I did before going to bed. Between every meal and that nagging, gotta have a bite thing, after even the decent meals I ate. Let's just say, the first day of Fat Flush was hell and by the end of the day my head was throbbing and I was super crabby. Sounds like withdrawal to me?