Monday, August 20, 2012


I started meditating and doing a lot of yoga over the Summer. It was wonderful and I felt better than I have in years. Moving really threw that routine I had for a loop. All of a sudden the here and nowness of everything was so pressing and I lost touch with a lot of my internal workings as life became one big reaction to external circumstance. Then all of a sudden here I am again, snapping at the boys and letting my mind go on the way our minds like to go on. An endless loop of fears about what was or what might be. 

Thank God we finally headed to the library. The library here in Sheridan is gorgeous. Chalk up another reason I absolutely love it here and know that this move was the right thing for us. While the kids headed to the kid wing, I bee-lined for the self-help section. There I found The Not So Big Life, by Sarah Susanka. Yeah, the architect lady. I loved her Not So Big House, and I really enjoyed what she had to say in this book as well. She's a wise woman, that one. Among other things, she reminded me that meditation is simply an essential part of life. Most meaningful for me was how she connected meditation with Albert Einstein's famous quote:

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."

Right? Right.

My mind can chew away at a problem all day long, and it does, but it's not going to get me anywhere but harried. When I meditate, I turn those problems over to my higher self. It's a delegating of issues to an awareness that is much more capable of dealing with them than my conscious mind, at least at this point in my life. 

Now, meditating. It ain't easy. I struggle to not feel upset with myself or disappointed that I have such a hard time finding those fleeting moments of nothingness beyond the constant chattering of my mind. I know I will get there. For now I just sit and observe the remarkable stream of consciousness that spews forth. It's good, I remind myself, to confront the craziness that goes on inside our minds, lest we take it EVER seriously. As Susanka wisely asks us to remind ourselves: "I am not that thought".

When meditating, Susanka tells her readers to let the thoughts float out and away, not to consider them or worry about them, and that eventually the brain will give up trying to distract us and embroil us once again in what she calls the waking dream. The last couple of times I sat, I expanded on that visual, letting the thoughts bubble up and out of every pore and pocket of disfunction, and like an underwater body expelling air, I felt myself go deeper. The thoughts rose and popped on the surface, where the waking dream was playing out, but I sank deeper. I saw myself sinking into the dark abyss, the place where the line between myself and the universe becomes indistinct, where I had no use for air, no use for thoughts....

Well, the timer went off. I didn't get there, but I feel sure I'm on my way.

In line with my reacquainting myself with all things spiritual, I found this great looking FREE online course in mindfulness and meditation:

I am all enrolled for the session starting September 2nd, and will report back after I start. I also stumbled across the Sheridan Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. A church organization I'd never heard of. I'm thinking of attending next Sunday. Couldn't hurt!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Well damned if I didn't just spend an entire morning of my life making the simplest-ass blog header you've ever seen. Technology has clearly passed me by, and photobucket is beyond me. Thank you though to picmonkey! Simple. I like it.

So, we picked up and moved. I know it has been FOREVER since I wrote a post. I've had a ton to say but life was coming at me so fast I just didn't get there. The way my monkey brain works, I'm sure I will get to it, it all comes back around. 

Anyway, we now live in God's country:

And it's beautiful. But if you have issues, they follow you. I still have them. But it's nice having them in a place you love. My plan is to come back here and get it out a little bit more. One issue is how bad I annoy myself when I write. My writing annoys me. But it helps also. Like any good therapist I suppose. So I'll be back.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Weird is Good


I've been feeling sort of overwhelmed with love for my fellow man lately. I can't figure out a way to write about it that doesn't sound all drippy and won't make me want to puke upon later reading, so I haven't posted in a while! But life is good, and people are so fucking weird! And so fucking amazing in their weirdness! I am reveling in it. Maybe someday I'll have something more to say about it. I bark at my kids still a lot though. I feel compelled to confess that because as much as I forgive others their obnoxiousness, I somehow get angry at my kids for it. Work in progress, that's all I can say.

And! Got to see my  number one American Idol (quit watching that show by the way, b/c they sent all my favorites home) Scott H. Biram! I cannot say enough good about him. My facebook friends are over it I'm sure, I've been preaching from the mountain tops. But, he's an amazing performer and a really nice guy who let me and my friend buy him a drink and hang out with him after a his concert up in Tahoe last weekend. He was excited about getting new tennies, and music (duh. You can tell he's passionate about music, he covered topics ranging from meeting Waylon's ex Jessie Colter ("She got to meet me!") to the B something or other that draws a particular sound from a guitar and was invented by somebody from my home town, to interesting dildo-related facts about Steely Dan) and he told me I look like Hilary Swank. Which is way better than Nancy Kerrigan, whom I have been compared to before.

And he gave me a hug and recognized me from San  Antonio. And after we left, I was like:

And my buddy Sarah, who went with me sent me this pic to confirm that yeah, that is pretty much what it looked like, minus the strawberry sweater:

And I went sailing off into the sunset with his Bad Ingredients album blasting away in my POS minivan. It is still blasting away, and I think it is only a matter of time until Willie asks me what a "two dollar whore" is.

All in all, I feel like big things are around the corner for me and mine. I've been wrapped up in selling our house lately, in between all the weird people and Scott Biram appreciating, but I've set my sights on getting back to doing some writing, blogging especially, so I'll be back. Love all you weirdos!

Xs and Os!!!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tightropes: Reflections on our Ninth Anniversary

We walk a tightrope through life. We seek balance in happiness, love, work, play. 

I bobbled my way through my teenage years; arms windmilling in the air, leaning this way and that whenever the wind would blow. The slightest thing would put me off my concentration. Cute boy thinks Im cute! Weeeeeeeee, I'd run along that damn tightrope. Cute boy thinks another girl is cuter. Thud. Off I'd fall. I'd pull my friends off of their tightropes to help boost me back up on mine, weeping and moaning all the way.

In my twenties I reluctantly straightened up and found a focal point somewhere in mid-distance. I herky jerked my way forward. It wasn't pretty, but at least it was a little more determined and a little less messy.

After a while, out of the corner of my eye, I could see something happening. There was another rope in the distance, and as I moved ever forward, I saw that rope and my rope were going to come together. Up there in the distance, I saw him walking on that rope. Right alongside mine. He stopped and waited for me to catch up. I approached him with narrowed eyes and a cautious heart. 

I was getting along on my rope just fine. Did I really need a walking partner? I'd seen people who tried this whole thing together and I'd seen them push each other off their ropes. I knew how hard getting back on could be. I knew people who didn't even know how to walk their own rope. They were always recruiting new suckers to stand below them, perpetually propping them back up. Risky business, this involving somebody else. Might just be better to stay the course all by myself. 

When I came up alongside, he held out his arm. His palm was up, facing me. I took a good long look in those greenish golden eyes. They were calm and steady and didn't look away. After a cleansing breath, I pressed my palm to his. We started walking forward together, and damned if it wasn't easier to balance. I relaxed and started to enjoy my tightrope. It was so much easier with somebody there to lean on!

We had a ceremony and promised to walk beside each other, holding each other up, forever. Our friends and family were there and they held our ropes still so the walking was easier than I had ever known!

After a while, the wind started to blow. I sped up, because I always found it easier to go really fast and just get through the storm. He slowed down. I guess that's what he'd always done. In a moment of shock and confusion we stared at each other. Our eyes were wide with disbelief and anger as we fell off our ropes. I couldn't believe he let me fall. I was as disgusted with him as he was with me. I'd signed on to forever with him? He couldn't even hold me up through one tiny little storm! We were both too proud to turn to friends or family, so we reluctantly helped each other back up on our ropes and started to walk again. More storms came and went, and we fell off almost every time. We refused to admit that maybe our way wasn't perfect. Sometimes we just acted like assholes and pushed the other off for the fun of it. We fell off our ropes a lot. It was exhausting.

As time went on we found a better rhythm. When storms hit, I would anticipate him slowing down. He could feel my desire to speed up. We would talk it through before the storm got really bad. We would analyze the storm and decide just how we were going to weather it. More and more often we got it right. We realized that it was better to outrun some storms. Sometimes we had more success just buckling down and letting the storm have its way. Those times were even kind of cozy, because our hands were locked together in a warm safe bond I was sure a thousand tornadoes couldn't break. 

It has been nine years now, and we're still walking side by side. Our walk is pretty smooth. Sometimes we even strut. When we see storms brewing in the distance, we look at each other and shrug. We'll get there when we get there. Sometimes the winds blow harder on his rope or mine. I know he will do his best to help me maintain my balance, but I know he can't do it for me. I wobble and I windmill and I wish he'd just get down and hold me up. But then I would be just like those people I always rolled my eyes at. The ones who didn't even try to walk alone. After the storm passes, I look over at him and feel so grateful that he let me find my own way through. Its wonderful to know I can. 

These days, our palms just kiss. They used to be all smashed together, only to break apart as once again, balance was lost. We leaned too hard. One little misstep on either person's side would send us into a fit of spastic reaching and wobbling. Now we're pretty steady. Hell, we could probably walk just fine alone. But we see some rain clouds on the horizon, so why bother? Plus, it's way more fun to walk together. 

Someday our ropes will diverge, we all walk alone in the end. When the day comes where our ropes go in different directions, too far for our mortal hands to reach, I hope we smile and wave goodbye. I hope we look into each other's eyes, and know we have helped each other enough. That we then turn, and walk steadily in love, towards whatever awaits us up ahead. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Simplify: Keep What You Are Grateful For

I've written recently about looking around and inside and being thankful for the abundance that surrounds me day in and day out. I've also mentioned how refocusing in this way has had a wholly unexpected side effect in my newfound urge to clean, organize, and simplify. I've had the desire to do these things before, but them actually happening is pretty much unheard of. Them becoming something I actually look forward to borders on ridiculous.

Last night as I pulled out an old toothbrush and some soapy water and commenced to scrubbing the nooks and crannies of my stove, I imagined a question mark floating over my head as I puzzled over what strange phenomenon it was that had me acting so atypically. This morning as I lovingly scrubbed the sink following completion of the third load of dishes in as many hours, I bit my lip and shook my head in confusion. Half an hour ago, as I ground spices for my chai, silently expressing gratitude for their delicious smell and the clean stovetop on which they would soon be boiling, it clicked. When you consciously appreciate something, it is far more difficult to see it languish in an unkempt state. How can I be thankful for my cozy bed, and be okay with it wearing dingy sheets? How can I acknowlege how lucky I am to have my own washer and dryer, only to ignore the thick layer of dust and lint and dried out detergent caked around the rim?

Here's my tip. If you want to get organized and jump on the simplification band wagon, take stock of what you are grateful for. Those are the keepers. My buddy Lindsay, who has a wonderful blog called Little Mudpies, posted this great quote the other day:

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak."
Hans Hofmann

A quick way to decide if something is necessary is to take a moment to examine how it makes you feel. Are you grateful that bank statement from 1998 is in your filing cabinet? Do you feel grateful for the sample of expensive perfume that sits in your medicine cabinet unused because frankly you can't stand the way it smells?

Ask yourself this question, and if you answer in the negative, let it go! There are other things that you are grateful for, and you can't see them because they are lost in the mix. When we clear out all the unnecessary, we are left with items that we need. That feed our souls. That's why I've been cleaning. I am excavating the beauty out of a forrest of things I have accumulated in a covetous frenzy. I am polishing my diamonds. That piece of shit stove that I never appreciated before? That thing makes our FOOD. Really good, healthy FOOD that feeds my family and makes us GROW. I allowed it to become dull and kind of greasy and gross because I didn't appreciate that.

 Today? It sparkles.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Our Saturday

Mission Statement - there will be swearing

I've been cleaning. A lot. Let me start over. I've been on a self-help kick lately, and cleaning has been a random side effect. Texas was a firecracker under my butt to make a new start, New Years kept the flame lit, and I've been turning to self-help to turn up the heat. Starting anew and staying motivated takes WORK people. My angle: affirmations. Yep. If you're like me, you associate affirmations with Annette Bening in American Beauty - being recited in the mirror every morning by a super-stressed suburban mom with short perky hair and a strained grin, just before she mainlines her morning cup of coffee. I don't even remember if she did that in the movie, it may just be something I thought that character WOULD do. In any case, that's me now. Except for all the negative parts. Because I have to tell you, they're working and I feel great.

I am currently finding inspiration in two great books: Simple Abundance: A Day Book of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Brethnach, and Wealthy Spirit: Daily Affirmations for Financial Stress Reduction by Chellie Campbell. Today my new BFF Ms. Campbell talked about how we overlook the bounty in our lives in our never ending quest for more. She says we do that because we want praise, and cute jeans and a classy haircut get us there. I'm paraphrasing. She's far more eloquent, but that's the jist. She's right, of course. We covet things that will make us shine. It got me thinking, that I do the same thing with ME, my self, WHO I am. Get it? I'm a praise seeker, and I seek it not only through things, but through WHO I AM. I want people to say "Wow, cute jeans" AND "OMG you are so SMART and WITTY!" I covet it like I covet a pair of new Frye boots, which is to say, like Gollum covets the ring.

Which leads me to my Mission Statement. Chellie reminded me that the search for praise causes us to overlook the outer abundance we already enjoy. I'd add that it also causes us to overlook the inner abundance as well. I find myself coveting characteristics that aren't necessarily mine, but they look really good on other people and I want them. I want that woman's way with words. I want that mom's parenting skills. I want that artist's creativity. Ummmmm. What about ME? I forgot I have some things going for me as well. In my crazed attempt to adopt every body else's attributes, I've let mine to collect dust. It's so bad that at this point, I'm not even certain what they are. I guess that's something to figure out. Add it in there with all the other resolutions I've undertaken this year. self-help is a bitch.

I didn't have this whole "inner abundance" revelation out of the blue today. It actually came about after I stumbled on a rambling note I'd written in my last days working for the state. I had resolved to quit, but wasn't quite out the door. This blog was on the "to do as soon as I'm out the door" list, and I was apparently sitting in my office mentally composing my first post. I didn't use it because I probably couldn't find it, but here it is, word for word. It has a lot to do with who the hell I am and who the hell I'm really not. Which says a lot about what this blog should be and what it shouldn't be. From here on out there will be moderately bad language, classless rants, and hopefully more often, sunshine and rainbows. I hope you enjoy it.

"I'm a lot of things. I'm a mother, a hippie, an intellectual, a hick, and iconoclast, and a little bit boy crazy. I love country music, top 40, punk, reggae, and the blues. If it moves me and makes my gut tingle, I love it. I forgive myself spelling and grammar errors that I'd have anybody else strung up for, so don't even call me out on them. Some who know me say I'm totally unmoored, ungrounded, and manic. Others who know me remark on my meditative, calm nature. Both groups know me equally well. I'm a mish mash of societal and familial influences all processed through my own unique and stubborn brain to be regurgitated back into the world as just ME.

I'm not alone in my contrasts. I have friends. We girls talk. We're random. So very, very random are we not ladies? We are studies in contradiction. Many of us fight it. Afraid that if people saw how far we sway from point to point on a daily, perhaps even hourly or minute-ly basis that we'd surely lose all credibility and the world would recoil in horror or perhaps worse, slap stereotyped labels on our foreheads, citing hormones, menstruation, and all things female for our unpredictability.

One particularly eloquent friend posed this conundrum: "Can I get drunk at a metal show one night then wake to swaddle my children in organic cloth diapers and compost my breakfast?" Can the freaky party girl and crunchy earth mama coexist without apologizing for each other? Can we actually BE ladies on the streets and whores between the sheets? We all wonder. The answer? Hell, I think so. I mean, why not?

As I get older, the confusion is gettin older and this blog is about me saying "Fuck all. I am who I am at whatever moment you care to ask." It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it doesn't need to. I fail - a lot. I kick ass - also a lot.

Most recently I quit a very decent job with decent pay and decent benefits and a decent retirement plan. I told Suzy Orman to get bent and withdrew my retirement funds so I can stay home with my kids while they are still small. Because newsflash, babies don't grow little. I love my kids enough to give them my retirement, which may have been secure, but it would have been bitter and angry at the rate I was going, because one thing I'm NOT? A good employee. A lover of offices and accruing vacation and spending scant hours with my kids, wishing they'd shut up because mommy's head hurts 'cause her job sucks. I thought I was a good employee for many years, at least I thought I should be, was supposed to be. Why else did I go to college...twice? But fuck it. It just isn't me.

I'm married to the most amazing human on earth, who said "Okay" when I announced for the third time this year that I'm quitting my job. This time he was serious, which was good, because so was I. Now I'm going to go forth and live in the world honestly, my boys at my side. I'll probably make a big ass mess and screw a lot of stuff up. But I'll porbably also a kick a lot of ass as well. And I'll talk about it all here.