Goodbye sweet dog.

A couple of months ago I wrote A Letter to Mr. O.--my tribute to an amazing creature. I knew he would die soon and I was having such a hard time deciding when/if I should have him euthanized. I definitely didn't want him to suffer, but it's a strange thing deciding when another being should die. He got to the point where we had to hold him up to eat and drink. It was time. I watched him take his last breath and was again struck by the strangeness of death and the miracle of living. In the words of Temple Grandin: Where do they go?

I feel so honored to have shared time with Odin. He lived almost 16 years and was incredibly healthy for most of his life. He was always there with me, in the moment. My guru.

I don't feel quite myself without him close by.

I'll miss you sweet dog.

at 6 months-- just a baby!


Scootin' to happiness.

Oh my. It has been a rough couple of weeks. The joyful three year old you see pictured above is not always so joyful. J has been working nonstop and although I have always known that I need time alone, never has it been so absolutely clear that damnit I NEED SOME TIME ALONE! PLEASE! Like in a sauna, or on a beach.

I practically cried (well actually I did cry, I should say that I practically broke down completely) last week when my double, jog style stroller got two flats and I couldn't go for a long walk. Fortunately I have a back up stroller that seats one baby and as you can see, I have a mighty talented scooter ridin' boy, so we made it out of the house. And even though we need rain and snow, the sun was such a gift last week. There's nothing like sunshine on my face to brighten things up.

I was my own worst enemy, trying to do it all and beating myself up for not adhering to all of the suggestions in the perfect parenting books and blogs. Then I read this post and laughed so hard. Damn did that feel good. She is FUNNY. Sometimes I just need a change in perspective. Scootin' with Finn is always good for that.


Book Notes: *Poser, my life in twenty-three yoga poses* by Claire Dederer

This is not a yoga book. It's not a book that preaches about being present or 'just breathing'.  It is a memoir that made me laugh out loud and also made me seriously reflect on some of my own crap. Claire is a new mom in her 30s who starts to do yoga. She is plagued by her own perfectionism and this is the story of how she begins to let it go.

She is irreverent to the whole yoga thing (which I love).  In one scene, Claire has just walked into her second yoga class (she is skeptical). Enter: the teacher:
"I am Atosa," she said. Like hell you are, sister.

Descriptions of the over-educated mom trying to make all of the right choices really hit home with me. Breastfeeding, making her own baby food (organic, of course), choosing the 'right' preschool. These things were the 'rules' of Claire's liberal neighborhood in Seattle.
Our goodness was driven by an underlying terror: What if we stopped?....There was trouble lurking at the edge of my effort; all I could do was everything, and do it right.

  This made me ask myself, "What would happen if I stopped being 'good'?" Hmmmm. Am I putting too much pressure on myself? Let me rephrase that. I mean, I know that I'm putting too much pressure on myself... to parent correctly, 'wife' correctly, create correctly, career correctly....but is it because of fear? It sounds almost ridiculous. OF COURSE it's because of fear, right? What else could it be?

It reminded me of what a well-intentioned therapist, Steve, once said to me when I was talking about the pressures I was putting on myself at work (teaching at a charter school): What would happen if you were just 'good enough'? 

I realized that 'good enough' made me uncomfortable. How could I do that? I must do the absolute best job that I can at all times or..... or what? I couldn't even fathom it. I couldn't imagine not putting in my best effort at work. It was black or white for me. Either I would be doing the best job or I would be a crappy teacher. There was no in between. No balance. Insanity. I never thought I was a perfectionist because I don't care too much about getting all the lines straight or the 'i's dotted. I am more free-form. I'm big picture, not details. I didn't realize that there are many ways to be a perfectionist.

But enough about me and my analysis paralysis.

Back to the book. I loved it. When I finish up the biography of Steve Jobs (a much more intense perfectionist) I might just have to read it again.


Last week in food. (gluten free)

The Bitten Word's photo-- I didn't get any food photos this week!
We've been enjoying the unseasonal warmth and sunshine up here in the mountains. It's a bit scary that we haven't had precipitation since November and the ski resort where my husband works has laid off 30  100+ seasonal employees and had all full-timers take a 10% pay cut. Ouch. We have to look at it as a kick in the butt to get going on other projects and sources of income.

I love a creative challenge. And eating healthy on an extremely low budget is very much a challenge. Here are some of the recipes (some new, some not) that I used last week and loved. I know that it sounds like a lot of chicken, which I'm usually bored by...but it didn't get too tiring because the flavors in each meal were different and flavorful.
  • Roasted chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and veggies (we call them sweet potato 'fries' and both boys love them.) I made stock from the chicken carcass to use in the other meals of the week.
  • Coconut & chicken curried soup -- this recipe was just okay until we added extra Sriracha to our bowls--then it qualified as yummy. I served it over brown rice.
  • Pad Thai (I used this recipe from the latest issue of Everyday Food, but subbed honey for brown sugar, almonds for peanuts and left out the tofu. I added a bit of leftover chicken. FYI it looks nothing like the photo in this link, not sure why that photo is there!)
  • Chicken Tinga Tacos--these were seriously awesome. (more leftover chicken & served with a purple cabbage salad in an orange vinaigrette)
  • Scallion meatballs with soy ginger glaze from Smitten Kitchen. Amazingly delicious. I subbed beef for turkey, honey for sugar (reducing the amount), and served them with kale "chips".
  • Curried Squash & orange soup--with bacon & sage.Yum-- and different than the typical butternut squash soup. I served it with almond flour biscuits.
  • Lentil & walnut pate (how do I add in an accent mark?) on almond flour herb crackers with leftover soup and other random leftovers.
And this week? No plans so far... What's cooking in your kitchen?


Dreaming in 2012

I've never been much for resolutions, but I've always been a sucker for self-help books and activities like The Artist's Way or How to Think Like Da Vinci. I signed up for a newsletter the other day at mondobeyondo.org, and although I'm skeptical of 'life coaches' and such, I'm curious about what they do. They sent me a PDF 'dream generator' (a list of questions to write and think about). When Jasona came home early from work on New Year's Day and the boys were napping I convinced him to go through the exercise with me for fun.   Here are some of my answers. Maybe typing them on the screen as well as writing them longhand will bring them into existence *Poof*!

1. Where do I want to go?
In no specific order:
The Parker Hotel in Palm Springs (tomorrow would be nice), Europe: (Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Turkey), India, Argentina/South America, Egypt, Thailand, Ireland (again)

2. What would I like to learn?
(again in no particular order): To telemark ski (better than now), to play a stringed instrument like the ukelele or banjo or guitar, to become more fluent in Spanish and another language, to sleep completely through the night, to knit, crochet and even sew (just a bit), various yoga poses and the teaching of various yoga poses, some martial arts, to dance salsa or swing or something similar, and to let go....(because there is SO much more I'd like to learn)

3. What emotion am I longing to experience?
a lengthy bit of elation would be nice.

4.   I'd like to surrender:
the pressure I put on myself to be 'good' at everything--to allow myself to relax and enjoy life more.

5. What adventure am I longing for?
Travel overseas

6. What would I like to own?
(in no particular order): a bike to convert to a mamachari, a deep soaking tub, a really nice bed, quality furniture, pots and pans, some new (to me) clothes.

7. What kind of chance meeting would feel miraculous?
A spiritual teacher (Dalai Lama), someone with amazing connections for us that lead to employment and wealth, my mom.

8. What are some joyful things that I wish I did regularly?
Ski (just need some snow!), rock climb, mountain bike, climb trees, dance. I used to do these more often and I need more of them.

9. What dreams keep coming back to me?
Living in Europe, earning a PhD., running a bed & breakfast

10. What is one dream I've never been brave enough to say outloud?
I feel like I could be some sort of 'healer/teacher' --someone that could truly help people on a deep level--to help people find their own path and joy in life. I haven't been brave enough to say this out loud because it sounds presumptuous and egotistical and hokey on some levels and (of course) I don't mean it that way. I also have so much spiritual work to do before I'd be capable of doing this and that's scary....as letting go of old patterns and bad habits usually is.

Okay. Now, your turn.....and here's to bringing dreams to reality in 2012!

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