For our God is a consuming fire.

-Hebrews 12:29

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Alternative Alphabet

What a weird, bassackwards week it's been. Perhaps you remember that my parents were in a terrible car accident about this time last year? Two days ago, the man who hit them and ran from the scene accepted a plea bargain and was put in jail. For his crime of "leaving the scene of a crash involving injuries", followed by crimes of "carrying a concealed firearm" this fine member of citizenry will receive four months jail time and two years probation.

My father's tenacity is the sole reason he's getting any jail time at all. The court was willing to bestow several previous pleas of mere probation. But my dad continued to attend hearing after hearing on my mom's behalf to convey the damage caused by the defendant while still on probation from previous crimes. Clearly probation was not acting as a successful deterent. Four months seems like so little punishment for a man who almost killed my mother and caused months of agony for all my family. It is not my place to pass judgment though; I am thankful a measure of justice was served. I'm also grateful for some closure for my parents.

Gratitude: it a first step to releasing anger. I've have some major anger issues with this guy. So, I've been trying an exercise while taking slightly longer, hotter showers during the cooler fall season. Based on a poster I'd seen advertised by Syracuse Cultural Workers, I've been reciting 26 reasons to be thankful; one for each letter of the alphabet. I love their idea that this alphabet is for the grown-ups too. Why not leverage the notion to help me focus on the many reasons I have to give thanks, instead of on any animosity I may have toward another? Here we go:

AblazeyDaisy's Alternative Ahimsa Alphabet
Action - taking some rather than talking makes change.
ass - I love me some hubby low octove grooves.
ats - my boyz who comfort me no matter the situation.
el Ray - my town, my community, so hip and beautiful.
Employment - as in gainfully so in these tough times.
riends - who support me & pray for my concerns.
randparents - I have three living!
ome - I love mine and those in it.
ndia - I have great respect for the yogic traditions of this country.
esus - My Lord & Saviour.
Kisses - I enjoy 'em both human and chocolate style.
Laughter - the best medicine and great for stomach muscles.
Music - the universal language that transcends words & makes emotion tangible.
Namesake - maiden name & all I've come from, married name & husband are gifts from God.
xygen - deep back rib breathing to chillax & center.
iano - my grandma gave me hers to play.
uest - life is an amazing journey w/ great ups along w/ its other-thans.
adical - the noun version, as in why be normal?
Simplicity - usually the best answers are the simplest.
Time - a good balm for what ails.
pright bass - my favorite instrument courtesy of the husband's passions.
erses - Bible quotes to heal: Philippians 4:6, Hebrews 12:28
Water - quenches thirst like nothing else & we've got clean H2O at our fingertips.
anadu - a place where nobody dared to go; a love that we came to know.
Yoga - I'm constantly growing & knowing thru this (& I'm keeping this poster choice as my own!)
Zero - # of days we have to go it alone. God neither leaves nor forsakes!

It is a successful tool to refocus. Thank you Lord for bringing my family back to health.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fried & in need of Fries

Today's work schedule (some by choice, some by force) had me eating my lunch at 4:15 pm. Back at my home office, we had some cut up veggies leftover from our weekend camping escapade, so I quickly threw those together into a salad. Mere salad, however, does not fill the depths of hunger brought on via a four-hour meal delay.

Unfortunately, besides the leftover veg, there wasn't much else in our fridgedaire. So, I found myself rifling through both pantries for some good grub. Nothing was fitting the bill. Back to the fridge I go to check again for any previously unseen food treasure that is cheese or potatoes (to make awesome french 'fries' baked in the oven). Yours may be different, but you know the type of family fave items that always go first after a grocery run. There was nary dairy nor tuber to be found.

Repeat pantry shuffling. 2nd pantry pilfering. Back to the fridge...standing in front of the open fridge door I began singing this made-up verse in old-timey country twang:

I wish I had potatoes in my friiiidge,
I'd make french fries & eat 'em all night looooong.
But there's nuthing here except some veggggg,
So I'm jest left here with this french fry sooooong.

Realizing I'd almost worn a circular groove in our kitchen floor doing laps between the pantries and fridge, with no can left unturned and no new food to speak of...I gave up the search. I asked the husband, "How many times do you think I can open this refridgerator door before I understand nothing new is going to appear?"

He responds, "Right? Where my magic fridge is?"

Where is my magic fridge indeed? I know you can relate.

Guess I better get with the changing times, and see that my veg sticks were the way to go in the first place. Hmmph. I might have to change my tune, literally.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Beast Reality

I'm cleaned up, rested and sipping coffee that wasn't boiled outside. These are all signs that I'm back home, and our camping trip is over. This weekend the husband and I were back at Shakori Hills for the fall music festival. We had a great time and the weather held out for us, only raining the last night we were there. Eating fresh veggies and homemade hummus, J strumming bass at the campsite, taking in new bands, hooping to the live music...these things all equal my festival fun.

J also let me lead us through some asanas, so we could stretch the air mattress sleep kinks out of our system, and so I could practice a bit of my yoga teacher training intake. Have I mentioned that yoga practice outdoors is the absolute best? Maybe, but it's worth mentioning again. I think that we're going to institute a regular backyard-yoga practice! I am so thankful to be married to someone with similiar interests; it's a treat to share music, yoga and more with my main man. I love him extra for that special look of surprise caught upon exiting our publicly shared bathroom. Chatham county portables, I'm glad to leave you and your antibacterial hand sanitizer in NC.

As for the music, one band we enjoyed most this go-around was The Beast. They have a politically charged hip-hop sound with serious funk bass lines kicking the background. We've seen them at Shakori before, but this year they were playing at the headline stage. Picked up their CD pre-release (yes, old school cd purchases still abound in our household), and listened to it on the drive home. The group's original name was The Beast Reality, which leads me to my final focus for this entry.

An overarching theme to this festival is sustainability. Throughout the weekend, Shakori offers a sustainability, peace & justice discussion series with offerings on solar power, living low carbon, and local food production. The "Beast Reality" is that there is a lot of unfortunate nastiness going on in the world, and it can be easy to insolate yourself, isolate really; perhaps thinking that one person can not make a difference. Yes, one person can!

So many of our daily decisions can influence outcomes, not just for us singular, but for the greater US community. Our purchasing power influences the way massive corporations do business, our volunteer and church participation positively affects thousands in our local realms, even the simple act of actively listening to someone speak can help ease a burden. Thinking along these lines, how the small things we do each day can cumulatively create a changed existence is empowering! I love this picture of umbrellas decorated by festival goers. Placed together they are an art installation of ideas. One umbrella reads "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's creation". So true. If war is destruction, then creation would be its literal opposite. What decisions can I make today, tomorrow and onward to promote sustainability, to create positive change?

*spend more grocery dollars at local farmer's market
*reach out to neighbor whose husband is out of country for a month on business
*smile more
*practice yoga. it changes you on a cellular level!
*let go of anger. control what I can, and admit/submit what I can't.
small ex: for the person(s) who stole our camping stove this trip, a 10 year anniversary gift from my company - may it serve you as you need it to. I can be thankful that we have the means to acquire another, and be done with it. There. Belly boil no more. Coffee boil no more. I'm back home to the drip pot, no anger rot, and positive thought.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

La La Love the Library!

May I please share a true cheap thrill? A positively pleasant, won't woe your wallet, guaranteed glee? My neighborhood's library branch has a bi-annual book sale. Two weekends a year, they display months' of effort in collecting donations, classifying (loosely) inventory and rallying community. As an official "Friend of Duncan Library", I have the privilege of shopping one night early, before all the best finds are swept up.

In past book sales, I'd not yet held "Friend" status. I learned serendipitously that the last hours of the Saturday sale, the library is just eager to get rid of their stock. They have half price on top of sale price, and I've walked out with a literal box of books, videos and cds for $12.00! This year, I'm supporting the library more directly both as their "Friend" and by paying full sale price. Still a bargain: Hard backs $3.00, Large paperbacks, $2.00, Small paperbacks, videos and CDs $1.00.

I just walked off with an opening nights' steal for the paltry sum of $21.00 (see pic above). Cheap entertainment in shopping, and crazy R.O.I on the hours I'll invest reading and watching. I love you library. For you Alexandrians, the library sale continues for the public from Thursday - Saturday, October 1st - 3rd. Saturday also coincides with the annual Del Ray Art on the Avenue. This is one block from the Duncan library branch, and last year over 10,000 people attended. I bought some snazzy silver earrings - handcrafted at a song! Oh Del Ray, how I love you too.

Now I gots to go affix my self-designed book plates to the new acquisitions. Oh yes, that was on the AblazeyDaisy Dos list and I actually did it. Do they resemble say....a blog decor (if you can even see thru the craptastic blur of my camera)? How did that happen? It's called a design rut and I'm happily rooting around in it. Blog, Twitter, Bookplates - BOOYAH!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mind Flux

I've not blogged once this month! Allowing for certain excuses such as busy, traveling, dog ate my blog (some of which are actually true); an actual reason I've not posted recently is due to my yoga teacher training (TT). On September 4th, I embarked upon a four month journey to become a 200 hour registered yoga instructor. 5 days a week, every other week we attend classes to learn about anatomy, history, philosophy, nadis, mudras, pranayama, asana...and that's just some of the content I knew would be included in the program.

I was unprepared for the depths we would mine, both in class and on our own time. I'm la la loving it; learning so much. Meanwhile, there is a flip side to every coin. We are a quarter through our TT classes now. I've started to assess how much I've changed and where this program is taking me. The past few days I'm woe to report that my mind is expanding with wonderful new insights, yet I'm applying it poorly. And I have the same excuses.

Am I using the centering and breathing techniques to calm my senses? Sometimes. Am I using them often? Not exactly. I'm usually one to pray and bring my troubles to the Lord. I'm still doing this. Yoga, whose very definition is to calm the fluctuations of the mind, helps me with my prayer life. In addition to family health concerns and general petitions, I've added my yoga practice into the prayer mix. It's a beautifully, holistic system that allows me to pray while I practice and practice while I pray. That core spiritual aspect of yoga, that I can be practicing my yoga while not even 'striking a pose,' was a main draw for me to enter a TT.

This whole process is a step by step, pose by pose, breath by breath endeavor. Thank the LORD the breath by breath part is truly an autopilot action. One less thing the "me" needs to contend with. "me" being the ego-driven self that is misidentifying with all this external circumstance and not focusing on the I AM of God. There is no question I am meant to be in this program. My type-A, high stress, goal-setting self would like to project that I'll soon be further along in quieting-the-mind, ridding it of all its chatter, and focusing more on the meaningful. Each day is a new opportunity to learn, give back and listen. There's been a lot of mind chatter to hear lately, but I'm working on it. And that is me practicing yoga daily.

On a another yoga note, purple is the color associated with the 7th chakra (which for Western anatomy, is associated with the pineal gland). This weekend I was all about the purple. Bought purple beans from the Friday farmer's market, which unbeknownest to me promptly turn green with heat!

Saturday, we went to a 70's themed bday party where I decked out the purple maxi dress with purple eyeshadow and sequined headband. I was dedicated. By eve's end, my teeth were purple to match courtesy of Gnarled Head vino. If I haven't yet opened my energy flows to my purple chakra, I can just act as-if until I do ;) Pic to prove as-if acting:

Monday, August 31, 2009

Canvases for Art

Isn't it a wonderful blessing how many aspects of life provide opportunities to insert your personal signature/stamp? Paradoxically, I also believe there is nothing new under the sun, but I can subscribe to limitless variations on a theme. I think we're all capable of multiple variations of 'newness' and having physical space upon which to illustrate those variations is vital. Consider:

The Physical:
  • the walls of your home and their decor
  • the dishes and flatware you eat with each day
  • your office knickknacks

Recently, I've considered adorning a blank wall of my closet (not enough depth to hang clothes on, yet mocking me with it's bareness...hah! closet puns: bare :) with small frames of inspiring pictures. Perhaps I'd be more inclined to take a few extra steps with work attire if my closet urged me to look my best despite any daily grind.

The Virtual

  • your email background and/or signature
  • blogs, facebook, twitter, myspace, etc. themes
  • avatars in forums/chatrooms

I recently updated my twitter page to coordinate with this blog's color scheme and imaging. Such fun for no cost! Another cool addition was when Sting decided to follow ME on twitter!! Be still my beating heart. No, I don't think this makes me special in any way other than I was one of the first to follow him and he's reciprocating in kind...but as of this posting, only 70ish folks in the world can claim that THEE STING follows their Twitter feed. Or as my dad would call it "fluttering" or "social nitwitting". Love you, Daddy!

The Epidermal

  • your wardrobe
  • tattoos. I love how we can use our bodies as a canvas!
  • piercings

Even in the places most folks may not regularly notice or view, we can be creative in our expression (toe polish color selection, under-garments - 'holy' or otherwise, ink strategically inserted above the sleeve line...) All options for artistic assertion!

Last blog entry, I shared my Moleskine journal adornments. This falls into the last of my classifications, the lump-sum category:

The Unusual

  • the inside of a high school locker - may be long forgotten, but we each had our imprint back in the day
  • journals - why the heck not? I fell into this b/c my cardboard cahier looked so forlorn all empty and brown
  • modes of transportation, after a certain age, become ripe for sticker placement

To the latter point, I offer two quick stories.

1) My first car was a 1974 shit brown Chevette. Manual transmission. $1000 back in 1991. I LOVED this car and called it (based on color alone) my Shitvette. B/c no one was ever going to be bidding high dollars to obtain this vehicle in the future, I slathered it with stickers, joking that they were holding the beast together. My Dad built me wood speaker boxes, and I had the backseat permanently laid down, speaker boxes close to the front blaring cassette versions of the Pixies, Husker-Du and Echo and the Bunnymen. That thing was the bomb, until it literally bombed on a night drive home from college freshman year; leaving me to stand roadside on I-4 holding the back of a car visor with the words"PLEASE GET HELP". I had to take a ride from a fortuanately kind stranger to the nearest gas station so I could call home. Two weeks later, I was given my first cell phone (the size of a boombox and for emergency purposes only as it was crazy expensive) and my mom's Corisca. That car, I did not love; but I loved the price (free to me, thank you parental units), and I was thankful to be mobile.

2) One of this past weekend's chores included "back-to-blacking" my Jeep Cherokee bumpers. I adore my 1999 purple Jeep Cherokee, but the sun has faded her hind and front ends and this product promises a color restoration. B/c she is 10 years old, I told myself it would appropriate to institute beloved-car policy and apply stickers. After reblacking her bumps, I went protesting by way of bumper stickers. The Cherokee looks great! Black backsides, political grafitti for folks to read in DC traffic. What more could a fool ask for? perhaps a camera that take clearer pictures...nevertheless I offer you these as evidence of my most recent canvassing efforts. On which medium will you share your signature statements with the world?

Fire Chronicles

I have been a journal writer since my pre-teen years. Journaling is not often an every day thing, but I do so love to go to a coffee shop and put pen to paper. Over time, the journals themselves changed along with my age and interests; from flowery hardbacks with lock and key, to simple spirals, to Mead composition books, to leather bound works of art. Regardless of what journal version I may be using at the moment, I have never been able to pass by a selection of blank books without stopping to touch and examine each one. I've been like this with school and office supplies, planners, basically anything paper-based and organizationally-purposed. It's a sickness.

For our wedding, the items I may have spent the largest total of time on were the invitation and program. HOURS were invested choosing card stock, font, swirl size, inserts, tassels and more. It was a delicious agony I dragged on as long as possible. The husband was kind and smart enough to let me have sole control of those decisions :)

Lately, I've come to a rather surprising acceptance of using just one kind of journal for both personal and professional jottings. Moleskine has been my go-to for the past three years! I still sneak over to the blank book aisle of any bookstore I frequent, but I don't buy unless it's a Moleskine. For work, I prefer the original black leather bound "ruled notebook, large". Wonderful elastic cord closure, 180 pages, pocket in back, sturdy cover, very classy looking.

For personal musings, I've been smitten with Moleskine's "set of 3 cahier -kraft-, large". These are soft brown, light brown cardboard covers with 90 pages each. What I love most is that they are so portable and customizable! That cardboard cover is just itching to be decorated. While I can't say I've ever bedazzled a cahier (or an anything), I have definitely taken cards, quotes, stickers and other ephemera from events or places I've enjoyed and slathered the covers with same. It's such fun to pull out of my bag a book whose front page speaks to where I am right now. Here is a picture of my current cahier (pronouced KAI-YAY; it's french for notebook). I've only written about 1/2 way through it, but the covers are almost fully coated in thises and thats of interest.

This Friday, September 4th, I am starting a yoga teacher training program at pure prana yoga studio. I'm very excited to learn more about this practice I've been digging into for the last several whiles. I've ordered my books, but had not yet aquired any 'supplies' until today. I made a new cahier 3-pack purchase and have adorned one as my designated teacher training journal. The end result is viola! It kai-yay takes your breath away...Calgon, don't be jealous.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

National Yoga Month

National Yoga Month is almost here! I've always liked September: new school season with fresh supplies, my birthday, the start of fall and crispy air one can both feel and smell. Now there's another reason to appreciate September. Several large corporate sponsors including Lucy and YogaFit, along with hundreds of yoga studios across the country, are partnering to share the benefits of yoga with the masses.

Perhaps the best short-term benefit is the opportunity for a WEEK of FREE YOGA! Hopefully, for anyone new to this amazing mind-body activity, this open access will foster a long-term love affair with the practice. For me, I'm taking advantage of the free week to try out a new-to-me studio in my area. Click here for more information on the studios participating in your area, and to sign up for your free week of yogamazing movement.

September also purports the beginning of yoga teacher training! I've narrowed down my options to two incredible studios and will submit apps mid-August. I'm excited and a tad trepidatious. My increasing flexibility is not shielding me (completely) from my inner klutz. Tonight, after a yoga class no less, I thrust myself onto the bed for a good read. Minutes later when I went to roll over onto my back, I could not. In my eagerness to literally jump into bed, I'd pulled something along my hip and had to crawl to the loo for pain meds leftover from an earlier foot injury.

As I type, I'm loosened up on 1/2 a percocet and a fistfull of icy-hot. Better living through chemistry is what my mom always says. I trust that with a good night's sleep and a repeat of the half pill, fistfull routine, I'll be able to go back to my other routine of oh...walking upright. I haven't determined the proper script to allievate the klutz in me. But more yoga can only help, so I'll be back at it manana. Even if my tomorrow's practice begins and ends in easy pose.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pavers on the Path to Glory

Walking the National Mall is an item on the AblazeyDaisy Do list. I didn't want to just go to the Mall and stroll by select momuments, but rather walk around its full circumference. You know, for exercise and something to do unique for this area. I did this a few weekends ago, and took several pictures along the way.

I'm sure tourists and locales alike thought I was a crazed lady or at least had a penchant for poo as I bent down to take this lovely.

I thought it so oddly (and unfortunately) appropriate that the majority of the 'road' to momuntalism was literally paved with waste. There were dozens of Canadian geese hanging out by the reflection pool. And it seemed that they, and all their molt and anal seepage had been unattended for a looooong time.

note the dried up corners up the Reflection Pool and the gathered nasty of molted feathers.

Today, I was searching the web for some professional pics of 2009 DC Yoga Week's cumulation on the Mall. I attended that event, and the MC promised pics. I've yet to uncover them. My searching did lead me to this article from South Carolina's paper The State, confirming my witness. The National Mall is in dire straights. I love that the public gets to play on and enjoy the Mall. I think it's cool that these geese have a place to rest, feed and swim.

But shouldn't some of our Parks and Recreation tax dollars be allocated to the maintenance and preservation of our Nation's Capitol? Seeing as how some of these birds have passed on due to botulism contracted by the very waters in which Forrest Gump waded (not to mention the hundreds of thousands of real people who visit the Reflecting Pool each year and no doubt dip their piggies in), I think there is probable cause for tossing a few Stimulus Package dollars DC's way.

Yes my friends, our National treasures are in need of a spruce. Or at the very least a scat squad to pick up after our Capitol's 'pets', who ironically are from Canada.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

August AHA! Moment

Day 2 of the new month, and I'm actually excited about August! For me, this is a big thing. I'm not a huge warm weather person. One would think that growing up in Florida, I'd be not only used to but perhaps even immune to the heat and humidity. One would think wrong. I high tailed it out of the Florida heat as soon as life allowed me. Of course, I ended up in another swampland, the DC metro area. But this swamp comes complete with seasons, which I la la love!

Nevertheless, August here is the thick of summer heat, and I'm usually spending most of my days trying to cool my overactive sweat glands indoors. Not this month! I've got plans galore, and I'm ready to get raring on them.

Concerts: Pat Benatar/Blondie/The Donnas at the outdoor Wolf Trap venue, Kasey Chambers and Shane Nickolson at Birchmere (see #14 of link).

Vacations: Back to Florida to celebrate Dad and Grandma's birthdays (she's turning the big 9-0!), a solo vacay driving to upstate NY for the Being Yoga Conference and visiting close girlfriends in Connecticut and NYC.

More Free Time: The Husband is putting the finishing touches on his Masters thesis even while I type. Once he submits that puppy, I plan to howl at the moon. He'll be around more with less stress. YEE-HAW! I'm so proud of him. And there's so much to do around here For our upcoming August pleasures: drum circle and outdoor yoga in Malcolm X park, Screen on the Green at National Mall, author talks on climate change at Busboys & Poets, First Thursdays in Del Ray, hoop dance in Rosslyn, local, organic food fare for DC Restaurant Week...and besides the restaurant week dinner, have I mentioned that all this is FREE!

So the A-HA moment is this: I don't have to have an entire month of lovelies planned out to take advantage of right now. I happen to be really excited about the future. But even when that's not the case, all I can really count on is the now. I can make this moment its very best with my attitude and outlook. Even if I'm not in tip-top shape or absolutely adore how my bum looks in summer shorts (too often a key factor of my mind-set). This moment isn't coming back. I can either embrace it with the same adoration I'd use for a full champagne flute, or I can use it to flop prone on the futon with the a/c kicking into overdrive. Either way, soon the moment will be gone. In which state of mind would I prefer to spend this precious time?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cat-like Cravings

My beloved pet Parker is a true guru on many aspects of life. He has an inate ability to properly prioritize, and I've learned (or am trying) many a lesson through observing my cat. For example, he teaches me:
  • One can never get too much sleep. Naps rock!
  • Gaze upon people with love. You'll be quite happy with the results.
  • When life throws you a hairball, cough it up immediately, wherever you stand. It's easier to dump it now, than deal with it on the flip side after it's processed through all your systems.
  • We tend towards grouchy if left alone for too long.
  • If your privates need adjusting, it's best to do so after company has left.
  • With long hair, the bath drain will need regular attention.
  • A little spit/tongue action can put many a stray thing back into place.
  • Why make things more complicated than they need to be?

As to this last point, I offer a video recorded via blackberry. I would also now like to take my Indian food to bed with me and call it a day.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dreams From Nightmares

July 6th was the seven year anniversary of my Papa's death. I remember vividly learning of his passing. It was the holiday weekend; I was sleeping in. My folks called fairly early in the morning for a day off, and I'm not one to answer an early a.m. ringing phone (or any number I don't recognize for that matter). But a series of calls is our family signal for PICK UP, so I did.

The news wasn't extraordinarily shocking. He'd been ill, and in and out of the hospital several times over his last years. It was the finality of it. The fact that the last time I'd seen him (Mother's Day, 2002) was the last time I would ever see him. I remember him telling my boyfriend of the time that I was his pride and joy, his bright blue eyes sparkling while he said this with earnest.

Growing up, I used to have nightmares about various family members dying. Unfortuantely graphic and violent haunts of shot-gun wounds or stabbings. Thankfully, none of these came to pass. It freaked me out though. I used to have an underlying concern that something awful would happen to the ones I love. Awful things have happened: my mother's near death car accident and painful recovery with halo, my cousin's physical/emotional trauma with alcohol. Thankfully, the Lord saw fit to keep both around and bring both back to health. Again thankfully at 33, I am in a rare and elite class of Gen Xers that still has three of her four grandparents living and fairly active.
All of my grandparents have enriched my life immensely. My paternal grandmother taught me to read music and play piano. My grandfather used to cook me burgers on the grill every time I'd visit them, because he knew these were my favorite. He was also my Sunday School teacher growing up, and would buy the whole class full sized candy bars each month to celebrate birthdays, even if no one in class had a birthday that month.

My maternal granny and late papa used to travel all the time, and ran a campground in Vermont during the summers. Some summers, I would get to visit them for a week, and Papa would let me ride his motorcycle (like a vespa) around the campsite on my own. I wasn't even a teenager at the time. Granny would let me collect coke cans left behind by campers, and turn them for the nickel deposit. I got to keep the money. These kinds of memories are so special. I know how blessed I am to have had these experiences, and be loved by these wonderful family members.

A few nights ago, I had a dream that my whole family was together celebrating someone's birthday. From behind a swarm of people gathered by food, I caught a glimpse of my Papa sitting on the couch. In my dream, my breathing stopped. He's been gone 7 years, yet there he was smiling at me with those piercing, blue eyes. As I ran to him to ask how he was here, I was stopped by a stranger who explained that the man was not Papa. It was his twin brother. (My Papa did not have a twin.) But I went up to this Papa look-alike, and sat at his knee and breathed in his scent, and just was. Content for the moment to be as close as possible to a man I miss so much. In the dream, it didn't feel the same, but it was close.

I woke up sad, knowing that I didn't really see Papa, and that I can not see him. Knowing that it's been seven years without his humor and exhuberance. Missing him hurts, but not remembering him would hurt more. I'm thankful that I still dream of him and think of him regularly. It's a testament to how important he is to me, and the depth of his influence.

I love you, Big Boss. I keep trying to be your pride and joy. Vermont is still my favorite state. The husband and I talk of getting a small cabin in Vermont to spend our retirement summers. I think you'd get a big charge out of that, and remind me of all the best places to get pancakes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Word Clouds

In trying to find tools to assist with linking up ideas: mind maps, word clouds, etc., I found a website that will generate a word cloud from the text of a blog. Taking out the monstrous number of times I used the words girl and guide in my last entry, this is the result of my blog's current word cloudage.

It's an interesting, angular insight into my head, even though that's what I thought this blog itself was providing. It's the bullet point version. Very millenium-esque processing. I may re-wordle myself (that sounds a tad risque!) in the future to see how the clouding changes. Fun tool, though.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Girl's Guide to zzzzzz......

I have the zygot of an idea for a book. Before this idea can morph into even fetus stages, the librarian in me must do some research. Using myself as the first sample for what grabs attention on the bookstore [non-fiction] shelf, I admittedly gravitate towards sassy, savvy titles. For example, I'm more apt to flip through the pages of Thanking The Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals, versus The Welfare of Animals: The Silent Majority. This is due strictly to the fun, catchy title even though both books deal with animal welfare and rights, and both books were recently published in 2008.

My zygot has the female reader in mind as its probable main demographic, 20-40 somethings, but could expand past that if I did it right. So, I was at a bookstore looking through the Health and Ftness, Self-Improvement, Christian Inspiration and Language sections. There are a massive amount of publications with Girl's Guide, or some variation on the theme, in the title. I mean a truly incredible amount. At what point does the public find diminishing returns on the novelity or inspiration of a Girl's Guide? A key term search of "Girl's Guide" on Amazon suggests over 17,000 titles; that's books only.

You can find anything from:

And those are just an inkling of what's an out there. If you tire of plain jane girl's guides, you have your pick of specialty girl's guides:

This list could go on as well. There is a guide out there if I'm nice, Catholic, smart, single, geeky or countless other adjectives.

Here's two things that bother me about girl's guides. First, many of these books are geared for WOMEN. There is an entire girl's guide series published by American Girl Library (associated with the American Girl doll) to help our youngest ladies ease into a variety of situations. The recommend age ranges are appropriately 4-8 or 9-12. IMHO, these books are correctly titled. The rest of us might prefer a Woman's Guide or Ladies' Guide to the area of expertise proffered. Or, if those sound too matronly, then a MS. Guide to Giving Your Book A Proper Title.

Next, it's played out. After 10 minutes of browsing Amazon's Girl's Guide selection, I really wasn't interested in any of them any more. There seemed nothing new under the sun. These books did not feel savvy, sassy or sure to assist; just pithy. Until I saw this title:

For the less snarky version of likely helpful tween pub, please click here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Still stewing in my muses

From Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love are some quotes I find by themselves worth the book.

From Italy:
*The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated.

*I'm exhausted by the cumulative consequences of a lifetime of nasty choices and chaotic passions.

*And the question now for me is, What are my choices to be? What do I believe I deserve in this life? Where can I accept sacrifice, and where can I not?

*We are the mayors of this town's ass.

*Everthing sad leaked through me and left damp traces behind.

*In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted. Only artistic excellence is incorruptible...To devote yourself to the creation and enjoyment of beauty, then, can be a serious business. (The pastor preached this past Sunday on Echoes: the Desire of the Lord put beauty on the earth and the desire for it in our hearts. When we see beauty and yearn to be with and a part of it, we are experiencing the echo of God's voice in us. I very much like that idea.)

*You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.

From India:
*Yoga is about self-mastery and the dedicated effort to haul yourself away from your endless brooding over the past and your nonstop worrying about the future, so that you can seek instead, a place of eternal presence from which you may regard yourself and your surroundings with poise.

*Remember, everything you do, you do for God. And everything God does, He does for you.

*Nothing pisses off a control freak more than life not goin' her way.

*I have searched frantically for contentment for so many years in so many ways, and all these acquisitions and accomplishments - they run you down in the end. Life, if you keep chasing it so hard, will drive you to death.

*Look for God...Look for God like a man with his head on fire looks for water.

*Flexibility is just as essential for divinity as is discipline.

From Indonesia:
*[from a Sufi poem] God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now. I was never not coming here. This was never not going to happen.

*Fear - who cares?

Now, how to go about applying all this? Especially being the mayor of the ass part of town...deep ponderings required.

A month ago, we attended Sunday school with my parents. The leader commenced with a question "What is wisdom? Define it" I said wisdom is knowledge applied. Well then, what is knowledge? I believe that knowledge is information understood. It's a freakin' 3 step process to wisdom, and with the onslaught of information in today's tech age, we're spending so much time just WEEDING info, that we've got less time to carefully consider the important data, understand it and then work towards application. We may be the least wise age of all time, and supurphluous information could be a leading cause. Sometimes more is just more. But I think the above quotes are all worth consideration, understanding and application; the trifecta for wisdom.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I'll Be Your Freakazoid.

Have you ever had one of those days where the to-do list is a mile long, yet all seems to be conspiring against you completing anything of import? Today was one of those days. Between presentations, follow-up, finding parking in this congested city and dealing with seedy underbellies, I found time to call the piano tune-up guy.

Last week I'd scheduled for this gent to come to our home this Friday, as we both have off for the holiday. We'd planned for him to fix the piano from a break due to doofus movers two moves ago, as well as tune it and help us move it to a different room. In prep for his arrival, we were measuring furniture. Could we could actually fit our stuff in their envisioned locations? Hmmph. Stuff ain't fittin' right. Our new, smaller home is lovely and cozy. There's only room for select items strategically placed. Until we know how to perfectly orchestrate futons, lounges and pianos, no move can occur.

So, I called him today to postpone Friday's appointment. I was in full work mode at the time. I left details about who I was, why we were delaying, my call back details, and then I ended the message like this: "Best Regards, Wendy" and hung up.

I ended a call the same way I normally sign off of EMAILS! What am I coming to? When I finally do meet this piano dude, he's probably going to give me the curious once over thinking who is this formal hoo-haa, and why is she so robotic?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dissecting the Pixies, maybe.

It's been almost two weeks since my last blog entry. I haven't really felt the pull to project. Still don't actually; but I thought that musing on any subject in particular might get the mental juices flowing. I'm going to attempt to explain my take on a Pixies song. This is not to say I'm an expert on the subject of the Pixies. While they are a personal favorite, they are also a very unobvious group of writers. My elicitation is merely an admirer's take. I'm sure there are several other, more potent, on point offerings to claim elsewhere.

Finally, this is MUCH more difficult than I thought it would be. You hear a song. Its lyrics resonate with you. Trying to explain your resonance to any public is an entirely different, more arduous process than simply hopping about and nodding in strong agreement to some internal tuning fork that says YES! This is the right pitch. I've LIVED this! Nevertheless, here we go.

My favorite Pixies song is (small surprise here) "Dig for Fire". La la love it. I'm not going to dissect its perfection here though; save to say that there is a certain pregnant pause in that song that makes me jump up and down with energy. Ha HAH! Sometimes it’s what's NOT said that fills the room.
This entry is about another of the Pixies better known songs "Where is My Mind". This song they actually play at concerts (much to my dismay, I've never attended any Pixies concert where they played Dig for Fire. Perhaps I should add "Hear Dig for Fire LIVE" to my bucket list). Select lyrics are in bold. My musings are in parens/italics.
Stop (This is an excellent way to start something. Remind yourself that for every beginning, there is another something's end. Stop...stop wallowing in the mire. Stop focusing on the past. Stop comparing yourself to others. Stop wishing the dishes would be done forever. Stop losing the precious moment in any dissatisfaction. Stop disbelief. Stopping all this is a great way to start many other, more positive things.)
With your feet on the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
(Immediately I think of headstand pose in yoga. I tried this for the first time in about 2 decades this past Friday. I was upright and upside down but wobbly and uncertain; also very concerned any lack of proper form was going to cause a permanent spinal injury. What happened to the carefree days of high school gymnastics where I was upside down in back flips, back handsprings and on the balance beam no less!?? Well, I did fracture my back in the midst of all that upsidedownness and perhaps my body remembers the pain and fear. But I think a good way of looking at headstand pose or any other area of discomfort/newness is to TRY THE TRICK AND SPIN IT. Spin it your way, see what happens. We regret most the stuff we do not do. I did the headstand. I didn't hurt myself, although I'll admit that having the pins and needles feeling on the crown of my head is odd.)
Your head will collapse if there's nothing in it (Here, I think the head collapsing is your false sense of self giving way to something better. Any fake facade we present to others will never be better than our true self. If you try something new, maybe you succeed; maybe you don't. There are lessons to be learned from each result. Your exterior 'head' collapses when you recognize there is nothing of substance if you aren’t just who you are. And from the crumbles and dust of a former mask, you can see any illusion was for naught. There was "nothing in it". There is no reason to put up a false front, for we're all the same at our innermost: children of God. )
And you'll ask yourself
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
(So now we're left asking ourselves, if I'm not the person I once portrayed myself to be, or even who I once thought I was...who am I? Where is my mind?) Way out in the water, see it swimming (I'm still chasing, seeking, searching. But I've got a glimpse of who/what/where I am and thankfully, I’m active and alive.)

I was swimming in the Caribbean (I’m testing the waters of a beautiful place where the real me resides.)
Animals were hiding behind the rock (Even though you can’t see all the awesomeness, and yes event potential danger around you, being mindful in the moment you can still enjoy and take in all there is in the now.)
Except for little fish
When they told me east is west trying to talk to me, coy koi (There’s always something going on, big or small, each with a message. We have to listen hard sometimes to hear it. Drop preconceived notions. Love the coy koi homophone. Be receptive to learning where least expected.)
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Way out in the water, see it swimming
(I’ll always be seeking, finding, seeking higher. There’s always more further out until the end.)

Ummm... yeah. It's something like that or else I need to tell the Pixies to puff, puff, give because I'm just way off. Like I said, this is my take on an awesome tune. It's meaningful to me for the above reasons. Maybe it really is just a ditty about a late night snorkel fest in the Bahamas, and they were out of their gourd hallucinating fish talking and body parts disengaging. Either way, I like it. But I'm going to stick to my guns explanation-wise, because the off the wall Pixies have always been a personal journey through music and lyrics. That's a combo worth expounding.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sage Words from Schneider

Playing car games is almost mandatory for a road trip. I didn't do much of this growing up as I always had my nose in a book. I had no interest in games, the sights or other time passers. I was blissfully ignorant of all these, content to plow through the 8-10 library books I'd checked out just for the road trip occasion.

My adult life has opened my eyes to a wealth of fun car games. Two of my favorites are "Name A Band" and "Sing A Song" (No, these aren't the real game names, but I don't know the real names. I'll just describe and hope you'll overlook my lack of creativity on naming conventions.)

"Name A Band" is played by the first person simply naming any band. Player 2 has to name a band whose first letter starts with the last letter of Player 1's band. For example:

Player 1: Run DMC
Player 2: Crash Test Dummies
Next Player: Santana (singer/songwriters and solo musicians count as bands)
Next Player: Abba

When a band's name both starts and ends with the same letter, this reverses the order of who goes next. In this case, the player who said Santana would then be up again. This new order would continue until another band with the same start and ending letter was called.

Bands starting with "The" are not classified as "T" letter bands. The first letter of the next word is what counts. So "The Cure" is a "C" band. "The The" Still counts as "T" band. It gets tricky remembering "S" bands because so many band names are plural; like Pixies!!

Another favorite game is to sing tv show theme songs, hence the "Sing a Song" name. This is hilarious. First you have to think of a tv show and then try to remember the words. Not only am I brought back to my childhood via music, but I'm also made aware of how many places I do not remember lyrics. Which leads to the making up of words to fit the tune and general laughter can ensue. It can also be frustrating, as I pride myself in knowing the lyrics to a massive amount of songs both tv themes and otherwise.

This blog entry was inspired by the tune to One Day at a Time running through my head. I got to thinking about the opening lines "This is life, the one you get, go on and have a ball." I like that reminder. It's so true. This is it! We better make the best of this go, cause we don't get a do-over. So as I hit here this Tuesday night wishing I was eating Ethopian with the husband on our regular 2-entrees-and-a-bottle-of wine-for-$25.00 special ,instead of sitting in a hotel room catching up on email and rallying my troops to go mix and mingle at a work conference event, I'm reminding myself and you to not take for granted our moments. Enjoy the now. Enjoy each other. Be grateful. Even if that entails being grateful for stuff you wish you didn't have to do.

Another example: I wish I didn't have to spend my night working, yet I'm grateful to have a job I enjoy overall and that this evening's work also involves free desserts.

Back to tv theme-land. While One Day at a Time was making me bob my head, I realized I didn't know the words past the second line. I looked them up, and they're all good. Here they are for us both to take to heart.

This is it. This is it.
This is life, the one you get
So go and have a ball.

This is it. This is it.
Straight ahead and rest assured
You can’t be sure at all.

So while you’re here enjoy the view
Keep on doing what you do
So hold on tight we'll muddle through
One day at a time, One day at a time.

So up on your feet. Up on your feet.
Somewhere there’s music playing.
Don’t you worry none
We’ll just take it like it comes.

One day at a time, one day at a time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

i only know TWO things!

A quote from my awe-inspring friend k-luv... "That girl only knows two things: Jack and Shit!" I love you, Kristin. You are a riot.

That is exactly how I feel about html coding. I only know those two things! Truly - I had to take a class that 'covered' this in library school, and I SHOULD know much more than I do. But as 20-somethings working full time while getting a masters may be prone to do, I *might* have relied more on the handouts for those few classes than actually absorbing the information.

Now that I'm a blogger (technically, no matter how pishposhy this blog may does exists, so I qualify), I'm much more interested in html codes. For example, dear readers may have recognized changes in the look of this blog. Well, it took me much longer than it should have to make them. There are infinite number of pre-fabbed blogger templates out there for Joe Q and his public to cut and paste, and I used one of those as a starting point for my last template look. But I made changes to images, etc on my own, behind the scenes with those pesky codes.

Later, I noticed that on different monitors, the blog didn't have a standard look. Some images might be overlapping and stuff was all strewn about like a 5 year old had thrown their ideas and whatnot onto the screen just hoping it would stick. All my digging for fire may be messy and burn-causing, but it doesn't have to look like it. So, I'm trying another route. Too bad my tendencies towards OCD kick in and every color has to be just right, every placement just so. Dear readers, this template is no where near 'just' in its present stage. So I ask patience as I cull the mines of the coding looking for the color number for gray, so I can change it to prettier hues, align text in a way I think looks good and try not to throw my laptop across the room in the process.

My good friends Jack and Shit are quite handy with the html. Unfortunately, I'm more in the mood to consult my other good friends Jack and Daniel(s) after the bouts of frustration I've had template-wise. The lesson here could be that the means for sharing any learnings (i.e. the blog) may become the learning mechanism itself. That's a little tidbit from J.D...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I really really really wanna zigazig ha?

First, let's get one thing straight. I am not a fan of the Spice Girls. But if you listened to any radio at all in the mid/late 90's, then you already knew what this entry title referenced: the ubiquitous strains of the Spice Girls "Wannabe" song. Over and over they ask their friends to "Tell me what I want, what I really really want." Clearly, they were clueless as to what they wanted, or they wouldn't be chanting to the legions both Brit and Stateside to fill them in on their innermost desires.

The tune admittedly has a sticky factor. Whether I want it or not (not), if I hear it, I'm tapping out or humming "Wannabe" for hours in my head. Even when I don't hear it, if I even get to thinking about what I really really want - I'm going to be bobbing my head later on to zigazig ha.
Like tonight for example, I was reading the tweets of one of my favorite bloggers Kimberly Wilson. This gal has got it together: author, yoga studio owner and teacher, fashion designer, philanthropist. She's earned my respect. This particular tweet was simply a quote from another author I happen to heart Elizabeth Gilbert, "Everyday when you wake up, ask yourself what do I really really really want?" Cue Scary Spice ripping through my brainwaves.

Lately, I've been trying to determine what I really really want in a variety of facets. There's the Ablazey Daisy Do list which was a start on focusing my lens towards the important (to me). That's going to be a work in progress though throughout the 3ish year period, b/c I can already tell that my passions are lying in places not fully explored by the list. Edits forthcoming. One thing in particular I've been pondering is ways to deepen my yoga practice. I'm seriously considering a teacher training, not necessarily to teach although that could happen, but more immediately to gain a better understanding of the poses purely for me. Indulgent.

While yoga is not a religon, when I'm practicing it is a means for stilling my thoughts and accessing the Spirit prayerfully. I love setting an intention at the beginning of a class; often my intention is simply to have patience with myself. Why don't I have more of this for self or others? Recently, I dedicated my day's efforts to my grandpa whose struggling with kidney issues; another time to my mom for surviving her halo. This mental honoring heightens my awareness of their situations, and I find I pray for them more throughout the day because I made a practice dedication. The whole experience, while different than the religous traditions to which I subscribe, enhances my day to day conversations with God. I don't get that from Bodypump or the elliptical machine.

Now - what in tarnation does 'zigazig ha' mean? Those Spice Girls are emphatic about it. This little catch phrase also reminded me of seeing STOMP this weekend in NYC. Amazing show btw. After each number, the crowd would roar. I found myself regularly yelling out "WHOO HOO"! Towards the end, I was getting a bit giddy with awe. I noticed I'd been yelling "WHOO HOO" literally dozens of times. I leaned over to the husband and asked, "Why do folks always yell out WHOO HOO? Why not something else like HA HAAAA!"

So for the remainder of the show, we were both screaming "HA HAAA!" in response to a crazy cool rhythm played on rain barrels, brooms and garbage pail lids. Maybe zigazig ha is just Spice terminology for "I want some enthusiastic living!" This is by far the most I've ever pondered the questionable depths of the Spice Girls. It's time to press onward. Maybe lock down the yoga teacher training with a decision of some sort. Meanwhile, here are some pics of the NYC weekend jaunt: dining at a South African restaurant, caressing the card catalog at the Library Hotel (it's not real, I asked), enjoying falafel and late night at Smalls Jazz Club (sooooo worth the grueling bus ride!) Zigazig HA HAAAAA indeed.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Story of Stuff

Right this second, I'm supposed to be sitting in a sunny meadow, heavily chilled beverage in hand with the sounds of solid bluegrass filling my ears and soul. I am however sitting in my home office, doing loads of laundry and blogging. Not that this is bad, it's just a deviation from the plan. The plan being to attend DelFest, camp and frolic.

We started out the holiday weekend with great weather and filled coolers (veggie burgers, champagne and fresh cherries - THAT's camping!). We set up tent and gazebo in a barren, dry field at the Allegany County Fairgrounds and got a dozen hours of bluegrass and one night's good sleep under our belts. At 4:30ish on Day 2 of the festival, the skies opened up with the feverish pace of a hail storm, 4 inches of rain in a half hour and wind gusts so strong the side of the tent was lifted off the ground WITH US IN IT!

The entire festival came to halt as fields of tents ripped from their spikes and eventually landed into the mud. Ambulances came on site to check for injuries after the lightening strikes and felled trees. The husband and I were soaked through from inside the tent from rain pelting sideways and water seeping up from underneath. It was a certainly a scary experience. Thankfully, to my knowledge as of this writing, no one was seriously injured.

We did get home earlier than anticipated. While the festival went on, there was no place for us to sleep or stay out of any future sun. The metal of our gazebo posts was whipped into pieces, and we marched through the calf-deep mud on our exit to put pieces in the trash....which leads me to the second part of this entry.

Knowing we're going to need a new gazebo, I started looking for sales. Got to thinking about the thousands of campers who were also going to need new tents, folding chairs and other equipment molested by the storm. What about all the old equipment heading to the landfill? What of all the funds spent to acquire new, hopefully inexpensive stuff? So I did what us librarians do so well - I started researching consumption and its effect on our environment. It ain't a pretty picture (neither is the campsite pic posted above), but it's one we all need to be familiar with so we can change it!

I'd like to share one finding with you. It's a cute and informative 20 minute video about our stuff and the unconsidered impacts of our cheap acquisitions. I'm also encouraging all readers to incorporate some/all of the "another way" tips into your overall consumption mindset. As for me, I'm going to scour craigslist for a used gazebo, despite the sales I saw at Sports Authority. It's a small, but immediate start. Here's to more mindful and less overall consuming!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Feline Fiascos

*sigh* I hate to say it, but it's true. The past few days I've felt more like MalaiseyDaisy than my Blogger alterego's AblazeyDaisy. Armed with amazing weather, a wonderful weekend in Florida with family and friends, an upcoming holiday weekend...of what have I to feel 'cresttrodden'? (That would be another result of a recent word mash.)

Not having anything substantive to rest my woes upon, I choose to fault the atmosphere. I've been huffing too many toxic fumes. This Monday, walking into our home after a long weekend away, the husband and I were greeted with the unmistakable stench of cat piss. Our boys apparently had had their fill of us being gone and expressed themselves accordingly. No matter that we have cat sitters come in each day to feed them, scoop poop and offer playful love. Our cats will not allow any cat sitter to pet them or offer up affection. They hide underneath beds and wait anxiously for us to return.

So for four days, they went without pets, scratches or fluffs. The only problem is that we don't know exactly where they did this piss business. The smell is potent, but any evidence had already dried. To try and track down where I should focus our destinkification efforts, I was down on all fours sniffing every inch of carpet, pillow, sofa and hardwood on our first floor. While thick in the air, neither of us could pinpoint the peepoint.

We laid down Arm & Hammer carpet fresh and vacuumed same twice. The windows on both house ends have been opened for cross breeze effect. And yet the odor remains. Ironically, a friend in NY emailed me today for advice about his new cat. This cat has been peeing all over the house whenever he's not around. We've not had this problem with our boys since they were kittens over eight years ago.

The worst I've ever experienced cat malcontent was right after I moved to the DC area in 2000. Both cats had endured a two day drive in the Jeep and being indoor cats, they weren't used to all the chaos. One of the first mornings in my new digs, I was welcomed to the day by a cat peeing on me while asleep in bed. My brand new quilt, sheets and me were all covered in angst inspired urination. I responded by wetting a towel and wringing it out on top of the ill-doer cat. He wasn't happy about my reaction, but no golden shower repeats occurred.

Unfortunately, we weren't around to see which was the offending cat. I'm betting if we'd been home, nothing would have happened. My advice to my NYer frieind was to do what we're doing: wash stuff, air out and hope for the best. That's probably good advice for a lot of life issues.

Meanwhile, how could you stay too mad at these guys? So much cat to love. Such big bladders to ap'pee'se.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Frommage Homage

What do you call a low-key, yet celebratory outing? It's a "Happy Congratulations" event of course. The husband has finished his last Masters level class! A sure call for high cheese intake, multiple wine pours and al fresco enjoyment.

I love Virginia, and this odd chill of spring. Soon, it will be too hot to trot, and I'll be too pooped to pop outside. So, I was revelling in this evening's loverly outdoor air. We ordered a three cheese plate at the dairymazing Cheestique. Per a waiter error (the Dante and the Comte cheese order sounded a lot alike and he brought the wrong one), we got a fourth cheese for free! HAPPY CONGRATULATIONS to me!!

Oh yes, a Happy Congratulations to you too, husband for three years of hard educational labor. In your homage, I offer you frommage.
(and a Florida vacation this weekend).

What do you and your S.O. do for a mild, mid-week Happy Congratulations?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Coffee Creamer Crackhead

There is a ghost in our house; more specifically our refridgerator. He's followed us all the way from Florida. I'd be really pissed at him right now, and I often am. But as I type, it's early evening and I'm not in need of the crack he pushes. Confession: I am a user. Daily, often several times a day. It's a habit I have no desire to break. I'm addicted to flavored coffee creamers.

Back to the ghost. I'm convinced this cheeky bumhat bastard is also a creamer junky. Only he's got a preference for a certain brand name: International Delight. Only International Delight (ID) delacacies will do for this high end ghost druggie. For whenever we stock ID in our fridge, he gleefully glides into the container, takes his drops and then slides away all doped up. The entering leaves no trace; the exiting is clearly the work of a ghost on a HFCS high.

The creamer sticks all over the place, trails out the back end of the packaging and leaves a sticky, sugary residue across the bottom of the jug. This happens even after you wipe up all the creamer from the outside of the jug. These pics were taken one morning after I'd just sponged off the entire jar!
I mean, if it's not a ghost partial to ID creamer, what else could it be? It couldn't possibly be a pure packaging defect. This problem has been around for at least three years.

I know this b/c I never used to drink the sweet smack until I was married, and we're coming up on our three year anniversary. I remember shortly after moving into our first house, everything was clean and freshly put away. I went to add ID to my morning coffee and popped back the container top. Creamer blew up in my face, flying all over the cabinets and onto my clothes. As it was pre-coffee in the a.m., I was BIT-TER, but I chalked it up to my morningtime mannerisms (translated: klutzy) and started cleaning up the mess. Later, ready for cup #2, I went to the fridge for the ID. Pools of creamer were surrounding the bottle, and it was stuck to the fridge shelf by its own product.

No matter that I'd earlier sponged off both jar and shelf. When the husband went to get creamer the next day, he too was greeted with a sticky shelf and a puff of wet product in the face. The next grocery run, we decided to purchase Coffeemate creamer. I doubt it was because of any genius level calculations that put ID creamer and poor packaging (I mean creamer ghost addicts) together. We probably just liked some new seasonal flavor like Pumpkin Spice. But Coffeemate does not attact ghosts, and Coffeemate does not leave your kitchen or your clothes worse for its wear.

Why am I blogging about creamers and ghosts now, three years later? Because I recently had a coupon for ID creamers, so I opted to NOT get our favorite Coffeemate flavors (currently Sweet Italian Creme and Tiramisu). Rather, I saved one buck on two ID standbys (Irish Creme and Vanilla). So I've had a fresh reminder of the ghost phenomenon. It MUST be a ghost situation. Surely no company would continue to produce the same crappy packaging for over three years.

In the wake of a recent creamer-to-face fiasco, I angrily dashed off an email to ID explaining the issue with their package. I left out the ghost part assuming they'd be unable to assist with any exorcisms in our home. I also explained that I would NEVER again, not even with a coupon, buy their product; not b/c of the quality but b/c I was tired of having to do new loads of laundry and wipe down countertops every time I wished to have my morning joe.

They responded the next day with a generic email of sorryness and indicated they had a TEAM of people addressing the problem. A TEAM? For THREE YEARS? What kind of mental engineering giants work at the ID company? A later email came today and I'll quote it here:

"Thank you for your recent e-mail to International Delight®. We appreciate your interest in our products. We are aware that there is an issue with the lid leaking, and the package has been redesigned. The new design should be available by the summer of 2009. I have gathered some information from you and forwarded it to my marketing and research team, just to let them know that consumers are still experiencing this. We aplogize for the inconvience this has caused you.Thanks again for contacting the Consumer Affairs Department.Sincerely, Tietia McDonaldConsumer Response RepresentativeRef: N901688 "

Well, Hallelujah! This summer I can finally rest easy that our fridge ghosts may be gone. Of course, I doubt I'll have to wait until summer, b/c I'm not looking to purchase any more ID creamers in the future. I've had 50 too many early morning messes to bother with a summer of '09 reunion.

Good-bye slum fridge ghost. You'll have to get your sugar fix elsewhere or check into rehab. It's Coffeemate in the morning for me from here out.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Flow Woes through which I Grow

We're Day 3 into DC Yoga Week. I've managed (to my pleasant surprise) to attend a yoga class at a new-to-me studio each day thus far. I'm feeling great; loving all the breath work and stretching. I will blog about my fav classes and details of each studio in an upcoming entry(ies). Tonight, however, I'm dedicating this post to an extremely important yoga tip I learned mid-session.

This tip is applicable to men and women alike, to all styles of yoga, no matter the time of day or location you choose to practice.

The background: DC is a metropolitan area. Many folks partake of yoga classes. As such, most studios have each student place their mat literally within inches of their neighbor. Unlike yoga offered at a gym, where often there are large classrooms for step, bodypump and yes sometimes even yoga, "crowded" at a yoga studio takes on a whole new meaning. You have to stagger where you stand on the mat, just so you don't smack the person next to you as you raise your arms on inhalation. You are definitely in tight quarters.

The warm-up: Amidst all the warriors, cobras and downdogs, there are going to be times you are nose to toe with the person in front of you, or bum to face with the person behind you. Yoga encourages an openness to both self and others. These accommodations necessitate it.

The ALL IMPORTANT TIP: Do NOT, mere hours before attending such a yoga class, consume a salad whose protein components are hard boiled egg whites and black beans! If you do, be prepared to work out certain muscles that your yoga class was not intended to address.

I'm pleased to say that I managed to complete this evening's practice without asphyxiating the ladies surrounding me. This involved severe contractions of many, often unused muscles immediately below my navel/solar plexus chakra. It is not lost on me that this chakra is also associated with fire. Oy. I'm sad to say that I did not apply the yogic principles of balance (ie. for every muscle contraction, there should be an equal extension). My overall sense of peace and calm would have probably improved. But again, I'll defer to the superceding notion of loving neighbor as self (see Mark 12:31; see also AblazeyDaisy Dos header). The comfort and safety of my fellow yogis triumphed.

Now that I'm back home, relaxing and reviewing the day's events, I'm amazed at my lack of sense. What was I thinking? Well, I guess I was thinking that due to work, I had to eat lunch at 3:30 pm. And, I was ravenous. I was seeking out a healthy, low-point meal to carry me through til the later hours of the evening. The husband had hard boiled several eggs yesterday and they were staring at me from the fridge, so it seemed an obvious go-to for some long lasting fuel. The black beans in my salad are a regular staple. The combo, unfortunately, is deadly.

Now, aren't you glad you know about this tidbit before YOUR next flow sequence??!? I'm off. I've held a certain flow sequence of my own for long enough.