Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In need of a yoga vitamin

Holy crap! I was just watching a yoga video and a "yoga expert" was talking about how comparing and analyzing are the basis of worry. AGHHHH!!! My life is about comparing and analyzing--and I am the self-proclaimed (though others agree) queen of worry. I guess I need to focus more on comparing and analyzing DATA instead of myself to other random things.

I found this bit of information during my yoga time today--it's my new goal to do at least some "quiet time" yoga every day. So here's my positive yoga vitamin for the day--I am moving forward in achieving at least one goal. Now to continue that path and work toward keeping my analysis where it belongs. :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Watch out, Blogging...there's a new stress reliever in town!

I was in yoga the other day. I was in full lotus position. My chakras were all aligned. My mind is cleared of all clatter and I'm looking out of my third eye and everything that I'm supposed to be doing. It's amazing what comes up, when you sit in that silence. "Mama keeps whites bright like the sunlight, Mama's got the magic of Clorox 2." ~Ellen DeGeneres
My mind wanders and worries all the time--especially when I am trying to sleep! So I am trying yoga. Other than Wii Fit and a YMCA class, I am pretty much yoga illiterate. Thanks to a friend from my master's program who happens to be a yoga instructor (to whom I am very thankful), I have found this great site where you can "take" classes online (as well as some other yoga info both from my friend and the site). (The site is http://www.lulubandhas.com/portal/luluvu/democlass .) Anyway, I am learning A LOT about myself--I think that's part of the purpose of yoga. I am learning I am not flexible anymore, there is never more than a few minutes of quiet in my house, my mind has a hard time shutting off and I am pretty sure that my mind and my body are at war with each other. (And I'm pretty sure that's not a good thing.) :) I have also found out that I feel a lot better about most things (physically and mentally) on the days I have time to practice--even if it's just for a few minutes at the very least the tension in my upper body hides out for a while and I can breathe better. That tells me this is one of the very few things that I do for MYself and is a huge benefit for me (and probably the others around me.)
But I am left with lots of questions. If this is so good for me, then why can't I find time (or make time) to do this every day? Why am I so tense? How do people with kids and dogs fit this (or any other type of relaxation) in to their schedules...especially if they work and/or go to school? How do you stay relaxed and keep a positive attitude when the ones around you are mad, sad, or have bad attitudes? Sometimes, I am not sure where all of my uneasiness comes from--I have everything that I could ever need or want yet my bad attitude shines on. I am happy on every level, but I often don't think I am happy enough--especially when those around me aren't sunshiny people (for lack of a better term). I understand that part of yoga is about believing that things are okay the way they are. Uh, that's not going to happen for me. I mean, the queen of worry would just be setting herself up for failure and anger toward yoga if I put that on my list of things I want to accomplish with yoga! I'll stick to yoga goals like physical fitness, relaxation, and a better attitude. But I would like to be a little more independent with my emotions, per se (like not letting others rain on MY sunshiny days).
I do hope I can work on getting to know myself better--and when I say myself I mean as a PERSON and not all the labels that are attached to me (by myself or others). Especially as I start to take on more responsibilities with the beginning of school, I need to remember to take a little bit of time for myself--FIND and MAKE that time--so that I can perform better for myself and others. I am working on adopting the attitude that I don't always have to be running around DOing something...sometimes it's best to just hang out and take a break (even if that break is a type work--like yoga). I am not sure if I will ever take that attitude as my own--there's always something to clean, someone to take care of, a paper to write, a book to read, etc. But, hopefully, with practice the effort it takes for me to relax will become less and less and just sitting there can be much more peaceful! Right now, yoga is a lot of work for me but I think it's worth it.
"You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state." ~Sharon Gannon

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

If you're only as old as you feel...

I'm doomed! I am feeling ancient these days--lack of sleep I assume from all of the craziness of and recent changes in my life--including the anxiety of what is to come. (Though I am SUPER-excited about starting my PhD program. Nerd alert!) Thank goodness I have my daughter and my pups to help keep me young. I don't have the choice to just shut down--though my thyroid likes to try to get me to do otherwise.

Anyway, on the topic of age, what I really wanted to do was tell another K story. She says the funniest things and I never remember to write them all down. Although for a while I was writing them down on a pad of paper and that's one of the things I have not recovered from our latest move. Lesson learned--I should have written that stuff in her baby (or not so baby now) book at the time and now I am trying to write them down here while I still remember them...but I really hope I find those notes.

I digress (as usual). Anyway, Buzz and I went out to lunch at one of the few places we agree on in terms of food this afternoon. K wanted a hot dog from Sonic, so we gave in on our way. When she thanked us for stopping and getting what she asked for, Buzz responded "We'd do anything for our Princess." K responded "I'd do anything for my old people."

So now we are officially old people, I guess. When I got pregnant I told Buzz that we would never again be cool. (This was assuming we had some amount of coolness pre-pregnancy.) He argued that we would still be very cool--cool parents. Yeah right! As we have gone through a few childhood stages together, I see just how my coolness level is going down. As an infant, we are absolutely the coolest things in our babies lives--mainly because they don't know what it means to be cool yet and we do everything they need. Then they start developing independence but they still need and WANT you there so much. We are now entering a phase of serious independence. K often asks me if I can go somewhere--meaning that she wants to hang out with someone else without me there. (And she hates it when I see her dance and gymnastics shows. She tells me it's no fun when I'm there and she wants me on the outside of the glass wall.) And now, I'm old. :) But I cherish this time--she still wants me around sometimes and I don't think she has yet fully realized my deficiencies in the cool department (though I think we are on our way to that epiphany.) I already miss rocking her to sleep in my arms. I remember thinking back then how exhausted I was to still be up and how tired my arms might get from holding her but knowing that one day that would all just be a memory. And even now, in my old-person state of exhaustion, I am thankful for every second she wants to play and spend time with me...and that she still says she'd do anything for this old person. My little drama queen is growing up and we are enjoying the ride while taking time to cherish these little moments before I am not yet TOO old and still cool enough to hang out with my little lady. (Is cool even still a term I can use, or am I showing my age?)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bathrooms can be dangerous!


"When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and he says he's doing nothing but the dog is barking, call 911." --Erma Bombeck



So with a youngster, bathrooms are always a topic of discussion and a source of intrigue--in one way or another. Well, today they have been a humorous yet dangerous spot on our radar--well, partial danger, partial perceived danger and all humorous. This morning, I was getting ready to take a quick shower. I told K I was going "to jump in the shower." Very seriously and sternly she told me "No, Mommy--Don't jump in the shower. You might get hurt!" Hysterically laughing and not knowing how to respond, I decided this was not the time to explain such phrases and double meanings so I thanked her for reminding me that wasn't a good idea and I promised not to jump but I was going to take a quick shower.


Later this afternoon, we were at a friend's house. K was upstairs playing with her friend who came down the stairs and asked her mom if K could use her little sister's toothbrush. Her mom replied that her baby sister did not have a toothbrush yet. Confused, about this time I hear water running upstairs--I run up the stairs to find K brushing her teeth with a baby toothbrush and toothpaste. GROSS!!!!! I grabbed it away from her and told her no--not knowing whether to laugh, be mad, or just gag. Turns out, it was K's friend's baby toothbrush from a few years ago that they had just stuck in a drawer. When I asked her why she did it, she told me she just wanted to brush her teeth and her friend was sharing. I had to explain that toothbrushes are something that we don't ever share with our friends--or anyone. (This is not the first time we have had this conversation. A year or more ago, I found K brushing her teeth, then brushing Sampson's teeth a little bit, then back to hers again...she told me she was sharing then, too.) I am still grossed out quite a bit. We all had a few good laughs today though. I hope K thinks these stories are as funny as I do when she gets older and doesn't get upset at my sharing them. :)


So, basically, with the bathroom as the topic on my mind, I am just reminded how fun and exciting it is to be a mom...NEVER a dull moment. I wouldn't change it for anything--though I hope there will be no more sharing of toothbrushes in the future.


Monday, July 13, 2009

My daughter eats ice cream for breakfast...

Well, it's actually fro-yo so at least it has cultures. :) I used to feel bad about this but I've just accepted this fact of life now. She's not a big eater so I have resolved myself to the fact that eating something (it has cultures, calcium, and calories) is better than eating nothing--which is what she used to eat for breakfast. She eats healthy stuff in small spurts throughout the days. Oh, and she takes a multivitamin, so that's good, too, right?

Living with a 3-year-old (and all the stages before this and I am sure many more to come) has made me eat my words on SO many things. I suppose, just like everything else, you don't know what it's like until you are in the situation. Things aren't as structured or as clean in my house as I would like, but I wouldn't trade the chaos for anything in the world. (Seriously, add dogs in this mix and someone should follow me around with a camera for a bloopers show.) K is a laugh a minute and her personality shines more every day. She is polite and sensitive. She listens (most of the time) and she shows compassion for others (generally...she IS 3). She is very active which, to me, means healthy so I am not complaining (though sometimes others do--but that's their problem, not mine).

In the past, I have felt almost ashamed of my somewhat lax parenting style--but as time has gone by, I realize that no one can raise MY child better than ME--and nobody knows her better than I do. It doesn't matter what other people think. My skin is growing thicker to all of the unsolicited advice and comments--which don't seem to slow down. Instead of questioning myself when people start their judgments of my parenting abilities, I sort-of tune them out and start wondering what happened in their past that makes them think what they are doing is socially acceptable behavior. Sometimes, I just want to yell at them "HEY! I've done this mostly on my own for a long, long time. She could be a lot, LOT worse." But I figure that's not truly necessary and I probably shouldn't stoop to lower levels--plus, I have nothing to apologize for or explain to them. And then, I just decide that they are adults so it is their problem. I smile and nod--rarely do I even argue any more--and then K and I just go about our business. What does still tick me off is when people make comments to HER--she is still too young to care but when she gets old enough, I guess I will just be challenged as a parent to teach her the lesson that I have learned. And I suppose somehow I will have to find the balance of teaching her to respect adults yet realize that some adults haven't learned that age-old rule "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Yes, I am sure there are many unique challenges for us down the road. I hope that I am able to pick out the good advice from the advice that was best left as a thought in someone else's mind and not in my ear. In the meantime, I will be left wondering why people even care. Maybe they're just trying to help--I'll try to keep that perspective so that I can remain positive and less bitter about what I hear. Oh, and also in the meantime, she will continue to have her ice cream for breakfast--with sprinkles (we could all use a little more color in our mornings).

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Salt and Brindle

I was just hanging out with Sampson and realized he is having one of his "old-looking" days. Sometimes I look at him and it is amazing to see how he has aged while other days he still looks young and spry. Today, I noticed that the dark hair on his mask has some white sprinkled through it--he's becoming salt and brindled. Additionally, his white belly is getting lots of black spots--like age spots. His age is showing on the outside and his inside has been struggling since the beginning.

Recently, we have added another serious health concern to our list of health issues for the Sam-dog. He has a substantial heart murmur. The doctor told us that since he is still active and his lungs sounded clear, maybe it is not THAT serious...yet. Basically, if he survives all of his other struggles, it is very likely that one day, without warning, his heart will just stop. I discussed his exercise routine (because I am working to keep my end of our deal going) and she said to always remember that he is still a dog. It's not beneficial for us to limit his activity--he's happy moving when he wants to move and sleeping when he wants to sleep. (And he has become the master relaxer!) We need to let him do what he wants to do, even if it may shorten his life by a run or two (or more). I am trying to tell myself if he falls over on a run, at least he went out strong doing what he wanted to do--and I think that would be better than the suffering that we saw with Angel at the end.

But thinking like this is hard--he's still my puppy (my first-born) and I love him. :) Though it may seem silly, I have even compared Sampson to some elderly loved-ones by saying I want them all to go strong until the end. (Again, I do not necessarily hold my pets in the same category as my human loved-ones, but I often see similarities...clearly humans come first, but I digress...) Independence, self-esteem, and strength are what give us all quality of life. Of course, I want many decades ahead for all of my loved ones (even I know that is not possible for some for natural reasons), but I hope those years are filled with health and happiness, not suffering or pain. This is yet another time I reflect on how similar humans and our pets really are, at least to those of us who are pet-lovers. And, again, this is another time that I wish I could take on some of my dogs traits--like their lack of fear or vanity issues. Sampson doesn't sit around noticing his hair or skin changing colors--he doesn't pluck the white hair and put makeup on to cover his age spots or wrinkles--he doesn't know he's old (or sick, I don't think). He gets up and starts his days the same way--he may be a little slower, a little plumper, and look a little more aged, but his goals are the same. Some food, a walk, and some love is all he needs. He takes it all in stride. He has earned those white hairs and spots and, to me, it makes him all the more handsome.

All of this makes me wonder exactly why the anti-aging business thrives the way it does. Why can't we be proud of moving forward with our lives? I hope as I grow in years and wisdom, I can take all things in stride as Sampson does...and as Angel did. I hope that I can remember that age (even the physical parts that change our outward appearances) is something that is, in many ways, earned. Those lines, white hairs, and extra pounds are nothing more than signs on the road map of all we accomplish through our lives--including the extra stress that us humans impose on ourselves--and we should be proud of that. I hope that Sampson has at least a few years left with us--healthy and happy years--and that his heart can hold on for lots more runs, walks, play times, meals and naps! I will try not to dwell on all of his illnesses (which is easier to do when we are not paying insane vet bills) and work on enjoying all of life's blessings...I'm earning my salt and brindle every step along the way. :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Better Ones Among Us

I found an answer to all of those "Why do you want to go back to school? Why do you study those things? Why do you want to learn that much anyway?" questions and a response to those (myself included) who say/know one person can't save the world or solve all of its problems. I found it in a social theory book (go figure) and it even references dogs! :)

“…the evident genius of the human spirit lies in the hard fact of life that we, like our dogs... [are] limited in all the important ways… We cannot do all that our powerful minds trick us into thinking we can. In a word, this is the mystery of being human. Our finest nature is not our ability to think and do. It is that we do and think as we do in spite of the obstacles…On average, the better ones among us continue to think and do what they can with no assurance that solutions will be found.” --Charles Lemert, from preface of Thinking the Unthinkable

Dr. Lemert goes on to say how dogs go about their daily business but it's not necessarily a calculated process. He also discusses how sometimes things just happen--like natural disasters, for example. But dogs just sort of go with the flow; they take things in stride. They don't sit around and wonder all the whys that humans do. This, I suppose, is one of those fundamental differences between my 4-legged best friends and my 2-legged ones. :) But this, too, is one of those traits I wish I could sometimes borrow from my dogs, instead of losing sleep and stirring about the world's problems (in addition to my own).

As I embark on this new journey to "PhD School" I hope this quote and these concepts are some things I can keep in mind. I am limited (because I am human) but that doesn't mean that I can't move forward and do what I can to work toward the betterment of myself and others even if there is not assurance that any type of solution will come out of my labors. I know that my other academic peers have these same struggles. I try to remember to "think globally, act locally" and all of those other cliches we use to give us some peace of mind that all of our efforts are worth it when, on the inside, we fear/know that any differences we are lucky enough to make will be on a much smaller level than we wish. Hopefully, I will reach my goal of becoming a PhD...though that is a long way from now. In the meantime, I will think and do what I can and hopefully become one of "the better ones among us" in my pursuit and even help others along the way.

WOman's best friend


So we have moved to a new place--new house, new state, new duty station. I was SOOOOO excited about this new duty station because it is a remote location--away from a military town. I was so excited to get away from the oohrah of Camp Lejeune/Jackson-Vegas, NC. I do love my house, neighborhood, and the new city--and we have great neighbors, but oh how I miss that oohrah now. Making friends as a military wife in a non-military town is not exactly what one would call easy. Now, instead of the dreaded "you're a military wife" attitude, I am like a freak of nature. No one gets it...except my dogs.

The dogs are in love with their new (large) fenced-in back yard--complete with neighbor-dogs on each side with whom they regularly "communicate" (if you can call running, barking, and smelling communicating--I guess you can if you are a dog, but I digress). And I am doing my best to keep up my end of the deal I made with Sampson--the one about how he gets a walk ALMOST every day (especially when Buzz is home as long as it's not raining, etc) as long as he keeps fighting. He's kept up his end of the deal, so I must do the same. (He is also on a new med--an immunosupressive drug, but I digress again.)

But somehow in all of their happiness and craziness, they have come through for me again. Daisy is showing signs of becoming a good dog--with at least a few manners. And Sampson is still my best friend. He makes me laugh and gives me good company even when I feel otherwise friendless. And I am seeing more of the old Sam-dog come back out--I love it when he is the one going crazy and "beating up" (in a playful way) Daisy. The old man still shows us he's the best friend AND the boss! :)