Friday, March 31, 2006

Off Balance

This morning in my practice I was very unbalanced. I can usually do side plank pose, at left, relatively easily. But today I was extra wobbly.

Later as I was reading Sivananda Companion to Yoga I was struck by the fact that balance is not only a recurring theme in the asanas, or postures, but in the underlying philosophy of yoga itself. While reading I was reminded of the recurring quest for balance in my own life. I remember countless conversations with my friend Tiffany which would often end with one of us saying wistfully, "it's all about balance."

As I begin to delve more into the underlying world of yoga I find that it is complex and yet very simple. Thanks to Swami Vishnu-devnanda who came to spread yoga in the west in 1957, it is even easier to understand. The book says that "By closely observing the lifestyles and needs of people in the West, he synthesized the ancient wisdom of yoga into five basic principles that can easily be incorporated into your own pattern of living to provide the foundation of a long and healthy life." The five principles he sites are proper relaxation, proper exercise, proper breathing, proper diet and positive thinking and meditation.

I used to think that we are all striving for balance in our lives, but that attaining it was hopeless because as soon as we got one area under control another area would need attention. Now I see that I may be off balance currently, but that I am not destined to remain in a wavering state. Perhaps by working on the five principles of Sivananda Yoga I can finally find my center.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Crow Pose

Lately I've been revisiting my interest in yoga and I've really been wanting to get into arm balances. Today while going through Strengthen II on my DVD with Marlon Braccia (which I bought at Ross for $5) we did Crow Pose (see left). I actually held it for a few seconds. I fell on my face a couple of times, but I actually pushed myself back up and balanced for a little while.

It occurred to me after coming out of it that I probably could have held it longer if I hadn't given into my fear and doubt. This concept excites me. I can't wait to try it again. All day I've been thinking about shutting my door and going through my vinyasas. Thoughts of back bends and forward bends have been enticing me to get up tomorrow and practice some more.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


This is my 80th post. As such it seems as though it is a good time to revisit the theme of my first blog new technological adventures. Eeek!

I have a few blogs that I like to keep track of, but I have to admit that I am tired of checking them daily to see if there is anything new. So I decided to be brave and to check into an RSS aggregator.

I didn't want another icon cluttering my desktop. Nor did I want to have to run a separate program so I decided to go with a something online. According to my techno guru, Carlos, the program I chose, Pluck, is a plugin for Internet Explorer.

So far I'm liking this program. It opens as a sidebar so I can navigate the internet without interference. I can close it if I get tired of looking at it or I can leave it open. I haven't discovered if there is a way to force it to search for new posts. Nor am I sure how often it refreshes, but for my needs it seems to be working just fine.

Friday, March 24, 2006


I don't have much to say about this other than I think it's disgusting. You can watch a video of the Roach Brooch in action at if you are curious.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wal*Mart vs. Whole Foods

Here's something you don't see every day and truthfully it's a little difficult to accept.

As a relatively quiet advocate for local farmers and proponent of organic foods I find Whole Foods Market a bit like the proverbial candy store. Further, growing up in a small town with my dad always saying "we need to support local business" I've detested Wal*Mart from the beginning. That's what makes this so difficult to wrap my brain around. Whole Foods may not be telling the whole truth. In fact, they may be deliberately misleading us to make a ginormous profit off of "organic" and "local" produce, which really comes from Mexico, California and Chile.

Meanwhile, Wal*Mart seems to be jumping on the organic band wagon, which may make this style of eating and living more affordable. Does that make Wal*Mart more virtuous? Read more about it on (For some reason blogger is rejecting all of my links lately. My apologies for the inconvenience.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Smaller Dogs Are Harder To Train?

I've been thinking about this ever since we went to the stupid vet who suckered us into buying almost every preventive treatment available in the canine medicine world. Not much of what he said stuck with me, but I do remember him saying that "smaller dogs are harder to potty train."

I found this difficult to swallow for three reasons. First, because that means more work for me and I never like the sound of that. Second, Tater is pretty well behaved already. Third, small dogs are not any less intelligent. In fact, in a recent display in a nearby field he was much more attentive and obedient that our 5 year old dog Bailey. He not only came running enthusiastically when I called for him, but even when I called for Bailey--who was pretending to be deaf apparently, because she never came when called.

It occurred to me this morning as I was leaving for work that perhaps the reason that small dogs take longer to train is because small dog owners are not as diligent and disciplined. Big dog puppies are cute, but they are also often kinda goofy looking with their oversized paws and lanky limbs. Little dogs are cute as puppies and as adults. It's harder to discipline your dog if he's cute even when he's naughty.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who has come to this conclusion. According to small dogs are hard to train because they are so cute. They go on to say that it's not really the small dogs fault, but that "The truth is that training a Pug to do anything depends as much upon you as the owner, as it does your Pug."

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sunday Morning

Today I feel mysteriously awakened. As though, I have been in some kind of hazy dream state, which was not reality. As if, all of a sudden I have been reborn a new and improved version of me (not in a particularly religious sense). One that is more alive. Like I am re-me.

Perhaps it is the fact that I actually made it through an entire cup of decaf coffee without having to leave the house. I took so long I even had to reheat it at one point. Or maybe it's that the windows are open. It could be the addition of Tater into our lives.

Or maybe it was the walk we too through Washington Park to Pittock Mansion. We're finally getting outside again. Perhaps it is the combination of the "healthier" foods I've been eating and the decrease in consumption of alcohol. Perhaps it's the book we're reading for book club What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt, which among other things has reminded me that the process of developing an idea or thought and then finding a way to express it is a valid pastime.

Perhaps it my reconnection with one of my favorite magazines when I was in college Utne Reader, which has reminded me that while I am important there are other bigger issues out there that are also worth my time. For more on these issues visit

Or maybe it's being charge of the online movie rental account. We're trying Blockbuster this time. So far I've received three of the movies that I picked out and watched two. Both I enjoyed. The first was Garden State with Zach Braff from Scrubs and Natalie Portman a story about a man my age who finds himself and love in, what seemed to me a somewhat realistic and imperfect way. The second was Finding Neverland which is both sad and happy, also involves imperfect love.

Maybe it's the resolved conflict between my husband I, the rediscovery or our own imperfect love. Or maybe, pardon the rhyme, it is all of the above.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Am I too Sensitive?

Today I was talking with my husband on the phone and it happened again. By "it" I mean he reaches a threshold when he all of a sudden can't wait to get off the phone. There's no warning. One minute we're having a great discussion. Taking turns, listening, talking, etc. The next he's saying "Ok" in that tone that really means "Ok, I can't take this anymore. I haven't heard a thing you've said and I can't wait to get off the phone." For some reason this leaves me feeling crushed. My chest actually hurt when we hung up today. It's as though he's saying what I have to say is not important or interesting.

Is it possible that the problem the way I take it. Perhaps I take it too personally. It is not that I as a person am not interesting, it's just what I'm saying at that particular moment is not engaging him.

I'm sure I've done something similar to him before. Sometimes he talks about things that I'm not interested in or can't follow.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Watching Another Marriage Dissolve

My husband's sister instant messaged me today. She and her husband had a big fight this morning. She asked him to move out. He refused. This has been a long time coming. My husband and I both think they should have tried to work it out, got some help, but they've just been letting it build and build and build. Hoping that maybe the other person would change, I guess. Slowly their hearts grew so hard toward each other that even the way he made guacamole was cause to send her into thoughts of divorce.

Anyway, she's wanted this for a while, she's been stalling because she's afraid of raising her son all alone, I believe, although she'll tell you she does it all now anyway. But financially her husband is of some assistance and occasionally he will take care of the kid so she can do something else.

So not knowing what to say or do since she's made up her mind and talking her out of it didn't make sense, I said "Do you need anything? I'm here for you." She replied with, "I don't know. Would you and G want to rent a house with me and B?" My response: "Hmm...I'm not sure...I'd have to talk to G about it...Plus we're in our lease until October."

After talking with G we realized that we can't just leave her to fend for herself, even if we don't agree with her. And that there could be both pros and cons to an arrangement like this. It could free up some money for us so G could have more freedom in changing careers. It could fill our often quiet home with fun and laughter and tears and all that good stuff that being with family brings. But it means having a kid in our house and helping to take care of him and keeping him away from our precious dogs and having to work for alone time.

There's a good chance that none of this will happen anyway, because that's how things are sometimes. She lives and works on the east side, we're on the west. We're in a lease so we'd have to upgrade into a bigger apartment with the same company, she wants her own backyard. (Tangent:It's funny to me that people always want backyards for their kids and their pets. We've lived in both situations and I think Bailey prefers to not have one.)

I wish that I had the clarity in these situations to know what the right thing to do or say was and then the courage to do it. But it is never black and white, is it?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Heroine or Ordinary Girl?

Growing up I read a lot. I was never one to easily slip into "the classics" although I always wanted to be. Rather, I read Nancy Drew and The Baby Sitters Club. I still read. Thanks to my book club and other external sources I am occasionally pushed to read something I wouldn't normally pick up.

Left to my own devices I tend to gravitate to the type of book you would read by the pool in the summer if you were a woman. I recently finished Whatever Makes You Happy by Lisa Grunwald. It was a fun book about a woman who is a wife, mother and author. She is trying to write a book about the history of happiness, while she finds herself caught in a quest for her own definition and to find happiness in her own life. Plus there are fun quotations from philosophers, scientists and other people who have pondered happiness in the past.

All of this is beside the point I am trying to get at. Other than to say that I think reading has a great deal to do with my thought processes; with particular regard to how I view my own life. As long as I can remember developing a rich inner life as an only child I have always thought of myself as a character in a novel. Sometimes this is comforting. For instance, when "bad" things happen I think to myself, "as a heroine in a novel this only makes my story more compelling." However, it is disconcerting when reality collides with my ideals and I realize that I am in fact, not a character in a book, but just an ordinary girl.

Friday, March 03, 2006

I Know I Haven't Been Married 30 Years, But...

I talked to my mom last night and she said, "I love your dad. He's a good man, but we've hit a wall." What does that mean? And is it really enough to give up almost 30 years of marriage? I don't think so, but what do I know. I've only been married a month.

This is not the first I've heard of my parents alleged "problems." Two weeks ago she told me that she almost left him. A month before our wedding my dad said that they would stay together for our wedding, but there were no guarantees beyond that point.

Ultimately, I want them to be happy (which I concede may or not be an illusion). They seem to think that they might find happiness apart. I am inclined to think that this would only make them more miserable. However, I'm not quite sure how to go about telling them this. "Wake up! You're both faithful. Kind. And Blind, apparently!"

Is it inappropriate to start sending them marriage skills propaganda such as Fighting For Your Marriage? Heck! It's only $1.99.