Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer Challenges

Today is day 68 of my 100 days of Yoga Challenge. Yippee for me!

Today is also day 26 of Yogadiva's June Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) challenge.
And let me tell you, it has been a CHALLENGE in the true sense of the word...
I have even cursed the challenge at times.
But, I am getting through it.
There are only 4 days left!

In the beginning (June 1-10th), it was easy. But I usually practice a Sivananda Style of Sun Salutaions which means doing it first on the right and then on the left side is ONE sun salutation. Generally in my daily practice, I was used to doing 3-5 sun salutaions (so 6-10 times down and up again).

On about the 14th of the month, I was just about dying! So I decide to go easy on myself and count my style of sun salutaion as 2 (kinda feels like cheating... but the idea of the challenge isn't to beat yourself up, right?)

And there were a couple of days that I just didn't complete the required number before heading into some other yoga poses, because, well I just went with what was right for me that day.

Some days I would be pouty... "I don't feel like doing 20 sun salutaions", I would say to myself. Then I discovered a way to "trick myself". "Okay" , I would say (to myself-- cuz I do that talking to myself thing quite a fair bit!) "just try to do 10 then and see how that goes".

So I tried it.

The first day, I did half, then did some other asanas and then felt like, "hey, I can do the other half now".

And I did.

That worked for me for a couple of days and then something else happened. When I was being less hard and more gentle on myself, my stamina and determination grew!!

Once I had done half of the number of sun salutaions for the day, I wasn't "too tired" to go on. So I told myself "well I can do another set or two" And before I knew it, I was too close to the end to bother stopping. It has felt amazing!! Thanks go out to Leslie over at Yogadiva's Divine Life for an awsome and rewarding challenge.

Now, I've been having such wonderful and fullfilling success with my Challenges, that I have decided to take up another one.

In favour of no longer resisting my bliss and as part of the Wild Women Revolution that has been commenced over at BlissChick's, I publicly state here and now that I will begin on July 1, 2009, a

100 Days of Guitar Playing Bliss (I'm not gonna call it practice--cuz I don't like practicing, just playing ;-).

Anyone wanna join me on a 100 days of whatever your bliss desires?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Picture this Part Two

I’ve been slowly working on integrating Sugar Plums picture books into my themed collection. This is mainly due to the fact that she no longer reads them and they are taking up valuable space on her ever growing, overcrowded bookshelf.

Something that we are sorely lacking in this household, is enough bookshelf space!
My dear brother, carpenter that he is, long ago promised to build me a custom-made-to-fit-a-corner bookshelf for the guest room. Alas, this shelf has yet to materialize (much like that old adage about the shoemakers children having no shoes, I suppose).

I think that today, I am about to add “make my own damned bookshelf” to my 43 Things list. I don’t have my list posted on that site yet, as I am still working on it. Soon I will post it here. It is a really cool concept for a list lover like me, to have a life list of a manageable 43 Things I’d like to accomplish.

But I digress, I am really here today to post another list;

Top 13 Picture Books from Sugar Plums collection.
And in no particular order here it is:

Why is an Orange Called an Orange?
Cobi Ladner, Lisa Smith

Coyote Sings to the Moon
Thomas King, Johnny Wales

Stranger in the Woods
Carl R Sams II, Jean Stoick

Dawn Watch
Jean E. Pendziwol, Nicolas Debon

Look at Me
Robert Munsch, Michael Martchenko

The Paper Bag Princess
Robert Munsch, Michael Martchenko

Deep Down in the Woods at Sleepy Time
Carole Lexa Schaefer, Vanessa Cabban

The Runaway Bunny
Margaret Wise Brown

Alligator Pie
Dennis Lee

The Going to Bed Book
Sandra Boynton

Put me in the Zoo
Robert Lopshire

Hand, Hand, Finger, Thumb
Dr. Seuss

The Cat in the Hat
Dr. Seuss

Good books. All of them.
If anyone else has a list of favourite books (for children or otherwise), please share!!

Welcome to My Rainbow!

Thank You Christine!!

I had actually already tried what you suggested, but it didn't work the first time. After I got your comment, I tried again and, as you can see, it worked!!

All my font options are back now that I'm in "compose" mode rather than "Edit Html"

Blogging life is just so much more fun in full colour!!

Where Has All My Colour Gone?

The capacity to change font style, size and colour has disappeared from the toolbar in my posting page. You know along the top, the bold and italics icons are still there along with the insert link, spell check, add image and video icons.... But the font choices are.... just gone!!!

I was just starting to like playing with the colour!

On the Blogger help page I sought answers. It was suggested to another blogger who seems to be having the same problem, that a recent updating of Internet Explorer 8 may have caused some incompatibility issues, but no solutions were offered.

Anyone have any suggestions as to how I can get my font control back??

Friday, June 19, 2009

8 Soulful songs

In visiting Ty-Anna over at Let’s See if This Works the other day, I found she was writing about one of my favourite topics as she was prompted to do by Magpie Girl. Magpie Girl asks:

So, what *8 Songs connect you to the Divine? Songs that aren’t classically “religious” or “church music” but create a harmonic bridge to all things holy. Songs that soothe the soul. Songs that encourage and shore you up. Songs that connect you to something bigger and beyond, or more deeply and truly to the here/now. What songs are just Good Medicine? Do tell…and if you have time link us to online versions and youtube videos, just for fun.

Well, I could pick 8 songs from my Joni Mitchell Collection alone (another list for another day!) but since this list is specifically about songs that connect us to the divine, I COULD choose Shadows and Light. This song makes reference to our society’s preoccupation with judging things as good or bad, wrong or right (a common Joni theme). Or I could choose Joni’s popular environmental anthem Big Yellow Taxi(you know, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot) But, instead I choose Woodstock in which she writes …”We are stardust. We are golden. And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden”. I love this song. Incidentally, Joni didn’t even get to play at Woodstock. It was a vicariously written song.

Okay, here are a few more significant songs with soulful impact for me.

Don’t Give Up, Peter Gabriel with Kate Bush. The So cassette lived in my car for years and this song was blasted loudly through my many stages of life, love, loss and it always pulled me through. In Your Eyes is another great song which also impacts me spiritually.

One Love, Bob Marley. The Man was a Living Legend, need I say more.

Closer to Fine, Indigo Girls. Another song that I played over and over again in fact the whole album was quite inspirational… and oh so very fun to sing along to!

Across the Universe, The Beatles. This song got me through the death of a very close relative and friend who left us far too young. And it is a wonderful anthem for Simply Being. Other uplifting Beatles songs include Let It Be, Here Comes the Sun, Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds….. just to name a few.

Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Hard to pick just one food-for-soul song from this cd. To Zion is very touching and funky (Carlos Santana on rocking guitar!!) In the title track however, Miss Hill states “every time I try to be what some one else thought of me, so caught up I was unable to achieve. But deep in my heart, I knew the answer it was in me. And I made up my mind to define my own destiny!” Woot woot, what a wild woman!

I have to say the same thing about 3years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the life of… Arrested Development. It is one of my all time best “put-it-on-and-get-things-done-because-it-makes-me-feel-so-good” cds. Children Play with Earth (play in the fields, climb a tree, eat of the earth, grow an apple tree, eat rhubarb, eat fruit from the vine, children, it is the earth’s time!) Other great tracks include Mama’s Always on Stage and Mr. Wendle (Mr. Wendle is homeless..he gives me some knowledge, I buy him some shoes, he has a freedom that you and I think is dumb,… I just saw him eat off the food we waste).

Wassabi Collective is an awesome Indie band out of Nelson B.C whose lyrics and energy spread a message of peace and positivity. The song Simplicity off their Cato recording is a soulfully inspiring tune with the opening lyrics “Yeah express what ya got to give and affect the life you live by thinking positive, bliss out now”. Another song, Flowers (“every single day I ask the Goddess how to get along, she say, feel with your heart not your mind your wings are spread you’re doing fine”) is filled with totally funky rhythms and drums. Their second Album Stories Not Forgotten, is also amazing.

I really must list another Joni song though. My list of inspirational music just wouldn’t be complete without the uplifting Chelsea Morning. I wrote a post about it here.

Oops, is that 9?

Technical Difficulties

I am experiencing some technical difficulties. And it is frustrating!

I am used to using Microsoft Word to write and edit my posts, then I just copy and paste them into my blog posting window.

But for some reason, that is not working today. The reason I do this is because we are on dial-up... still! (Won't high speed ever come to my little neck of the woods?)

And don't even get me started on all the other technical difficulties that are presented due to the lack of high speed. Arrgghhh!!

Does anyone have any sugestions or other methods which they use to import text?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Resisting My Bliss

I KNOW that I have been doing it. I've been feeling it for days. I've felt myself "resigning".
Resisting my bliss.

Over a year ago, I was working a 40 hour week in child care. I have been in childcare for 20 years. That's a damned long time to work with small humans. That's an amazingly damned long time to work with small humans and NOT be burnt out. The field of childcare has a notoriously high burn out rate.

The way that I have managed for so long, is that I recognize my need for breaks and changes in my job. Every three years I need some sort of shake up.
I went to Finland once to teach English for a year.
I took six weeks off once to travel Europe.
I got pregnant and had a year off with my own little Sugar Plum.
I did home child care for a while when Sugar Plum was very little.
I returned to a different job after being at home with her for 3 years.

Anyway, last year I was feeling at the end of my rope again (it had been three years in the same job) and I decided to quit and follow my bliss.

I wasn't entirely sure what my bliss was but I knew that it involved writing and singing.
And as it turned out, I didn't full-out QUIT, but compromised and started working part-time in September 2008.

Since then I have started teaching yoga. I love yoga and it makes me feel great! I feel wonderful when I am facilitating a class. It is not however, the bliss I was seeking.

I am now finally writing more, thanks to finally getting this blog going.
And I am doing some more creative writing as well.
My children's stories and songs though? Not so much.

In September, I joined a local choir. And I was Blissful!! It was awesome. Weekly practices leading up to an amazing Christmas concert with 4 sold out performances at 2 locations. My voice was in tip-top shape and I was very excited and happy.

Then, when the choir was to start back up again in February, I decided that I was going to be "too busy" to attend this session (yoga classes, Sugar Plums skating lessons...oh yes and we were having vehicle issues too). I decided that I would join in September 2009 again.

In February, I joined a local Snowfest Committee and committed myself to lead the song and story time for a snowfest event in our town and then I NEEDED to learn some songs to play on the guitar with the children (you think I may have done this over my 20 years in child care considering that I have owned my guitar for 20 years as well, but no. I have been resisting this bliss for a LONG time!)

So the Snofest experience was great! I actually (finally) learned some simple songs to play for children (Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I'm a Little Teapot etc.). It was so easy, I don't know why I resisted for so long.

Then I decided to carry over my new-found talent and finally take my guitar to work and play for the preschool children. They loved it! They are great fans! They think I'm a rock star!! Children really are the best audiences! I was doing this once a week for months.
Not sure why it has been over six weeks since I've taken the guitar to work

For some "unexplained" reason, I have stopped playing and singing. It was gradual at first. I didn't even really notice it happening.

I also found myself thinking about soon having to return to full time work and just GIVING UP any more pursuit of music. I've been looking at course calendars for colleges, looking for something that I can "make money at".

One big thing that looms over my head, is a music project that I started and have yet to complete. I decided to make a children's c.d as a fundraiser for the child care centre where I work. I have a friend who came and recorded me and a group of children singing circle time songs.... last March (2008). And that's as far as I got. The next step was supposed to be to go to his studio and finish recording some more songs.

I feel like I MUST complete this project to move forward.

Then last night... I remembered something that I told myself to do when I was getting "in a rut". I listened to music!! I was listening to Sarah Harmer: You Were Here. (I haven't actually watched this Youtube clip cuz it's 4 min. long and that would take for ever here in no man's land). There are a couple of songs on that cd that I have learned to play and I was all of a sudden, inspired!! I turned off the cd, picked up my guitar and played and played and played!!

Fishguy sat here smiling, saying "it's about time!"
And my fingers hurt like hell since my callouses have worn off.
But did it ever feel good!

Now today I think I need to think about making another 100 day challenge for myself. I see that I have been using all sorts of excuses (including my 100 day yoga challenge) to resist my bliss... and as BlissChick and the Borg say.... Resistance is Futile!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Let's See If THIS works

I wanted to see if I could post my first pic (super slow dial up permitting!) And Ta-da... It worked and really only took about 10 minutes, which was less than I was expecting.

This is our cat. He has many names and he thinks he is a dog. Here he is perched in the sunniest room in our home, right smack-dab in a patch of sunlight, right in front of the small shelf of books of which I wrote in the last post.

I was so gung-ho there last week....and then I got sick! On Saturday. It was the worst sort of stomach flu thingy. The Noro-virus, I think. I had it a couple of years ago and it was quite similar. Knocked me on my ass for the weekend. I was back to work on Monday but boy have I felt really drained this week. Just now regaining some energy!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Coolest Kid Around

Wow two posts in one day…. I’m on a mission now!!

Just thinking that I want to start including what I am listening to while posting. I used to do it when I was jounaling and I always enjoy knowing what other people are listening to.

Today while I have been sitting here writing, I am listening to a children’s c.d.
Yes, that’s right, I listen to kid’s music. It’s part of what’s left of my bliss in my work in childcare.

So, this c.d is called See You On The Moon, Songs For Kids of All Ages (there’s my validation!!)
It is an awesome little recording and I will review the whole thing in the near future, but for now I just want to share the lyrics of a sweet little song.

Faith’s Silver Elephant by Rosie Thomas

(written for my beautiful niece Faith who reminds me everyday that anything is possible)

I’ve got a new silver elephant
I’m going to teach her to talk and sit
I am going to put flowers round her neck
and take her to the park without all my friends

I am going to name her a silly name
I’ll bring her to church with me every Sunday
She’ll make me famous and I’ll get my picture on the cover of every magazine

And everyone will want to be me
Cuz I’ll be the hit of the town
You wait and see I’ll be the coolest kid in around

I’ve go a new baby blue giraffe
I am going to teach her how to shake hands and
when I want to climb trees I’ll climb up on her neck and I’ll get to sit on the tallest branch

I’m gonna take her to a picture show We’ll sit side by side in the very front row
I’ll bring her to recess dressed up in a red dress
And all of the other kids will be so jealous

I think I’ll charge them a quarter
To ride her once around town
Then you’ll see I’ll be the coolest kid around
Yeah you wait and see, I’ll be the coolest kid around.

This song is not the best one on this c.d., there are a few with more clever lyrics and catchy tunes but Faith’s Silver Elephant is just so pretty sung in Rosie’s beautiful breathy voice. It is a song I would like to learn to play and sing for kids.

I’m adding it to my List Of Songs To Learn To Play For Kids!

Bookshelf Sharing

Okay, I am all about lists, and you know that taking a peek at a person’s bookshelf can tell you a lot about that person, their interests and preferences etc.

Therefore, in the interest of sharing a bit about myself, I am posting a list of the books as they appear on a small shelf in one of my favourite sitting spots in our home.

I will post a corresponding pic soon…when I figure out how exactly to do that!! (We live in a rural area, where highspeed has not yet graced it’s shining light…it’s like living in the dark ages sometimes I tells ya!)

In order of appearance from left to the wall:

  • Oxford English Minidctionary (I believe this is my daughters… a stocking stuffer perhaps?)
  • The Complete Book of Greek Cooking (I’ve been hankering to try a phyllo chicken recipe and some spanakopeta!)
  • 1001 Little Well Being Miracles Simple Secrets for Staying Happy and Relaxed ($4 Chapters find)
  • The Bhagavad Gita (required yoga training text)
  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (!!!)
  • Collier’s Junior Classics, ABC Go! (my favourite book when I was a child)
  • The Spirit of Yoga by Kathy Philips (second hand book store find)
  • Dec. 2005 Yoga Journal Magazine
  • Beth Shaw’s Yoga Fit
  • Babar’s Yoga For Elephants
  • The Runaway Bunny (in need of repair)
  • The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Organize Yourself by Ronni Eisenberg with Kate Kelly
  • Stones by Timothy Findley (a novel I have yet to read )
  • Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There: a mindfulness retreat with Sylvia Boorstein
  • Mother Nature’s Miracle Medicines (an herbal glossary booklet)
  • A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves
  • Kaplan Anatomy Colouring Book
  • Reading Magic by Mem Fox
  • Read to Me: Raising Kids Who Love to Read by Bernice Cullinan
  • Swimming with Ghandi and Einstien by William Colwell
  • Letter’s to a Young Artist by Julia Cameron
  • The Wheel of time by Carlos Castaneda
  • Krishnamurti’s Journal
  • Awakening the Spine by Vanda Scarvelli
  • Yoga Teacher Training Binder Notes

Stuffed in between the books are various papers and envelopes.

  • An envelope of info from the Writers Union of Canada/ Canadian Children’s Book Centre including “writing and illustrating children’s books: a guide to getting published, as well as a list of Canadian Publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts (this is from 2005)
  • An article printed out from Canadian Family Physician website: Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults
  • Natural Choices Guide to Swiss Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
  • Natural Choices Guide to Swiss Herbal supplements

This small collection of books is intended to be the "Yoga Centre" portion of my library, but it has a tendency to pick up strays overtime. And the majority of my Yoga books are not on the shelf because I bring them with me to my yoga classes. I will have to make a more comprehensive list of ALL my yoga books another time.

Anyone interested in sharing a bookshelf with me?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Okay, I didn't think that this blogging thing was going to be easy or anything.... but I'm already stuck in a rut. I have a folder full of drafts in the works and every time I open it up, I end up just sitting here... staring at them. Feeling overwhelmed, overthinking things, overwriting, rewriting, over analysing, feeling paralysed.

Which one should I post today?
Which one should I at least finish today?

Then, I read the blogs I'm following and feel discouraged.
"I can't write!"
Then, I surf new blogs and keep finding more and more great people to read and feel even less inclined to write.

I know that I just need to bite the bullet, forget about all my folders full of drafts and insecurities and just post something...ANYTHING, to get myself rolling again.

What I have decided to post (besides this rant) is a journal entry that I wrote back in January.

January 21, 2009

I’ve been sitting at home all day with a sick child laying here beside me on the sofa. She hasn’t had a very good day and I feel for her pain. Having a fever of 102 all day isn’t nice. Thankfully she spent a good portion of the time sleeping.

And I did not give her any Tylenol. Some may call me a bad mom, but I believe that fever is the body’s way of fighting an infection and therefore a necessary component in healing and recovery. I also believe our society is far too quick to “band-aid” the symptoms to avoid pain and discomfort at all costs. This does not build strong and capable human beings, in my humble opinion.

I, on the other had have had a very nice day feeling very comforted and grounded in my role as “Comforting, Fluid-Pushing, Chicken-Soup-Making Mama”. The very few domestic tasks I accomplished today covered the basics. Two loads of laundry washed and hung on the indoor drying racks (I don’t use a dryer); dishes from last night, breakfast and lunch washed and put away (I don’t have a dishwasher); and dinner started.

Mostly I spent the day online surfing blogs, reading a few different topics of interest to me including book reviews, yoga, creative inspiration. Spending time trying to decide what it is I want my blog to be about, exactly. Still not quite there, but I have a much better idea.

And I feel good. Better. Renewed, relaxed, remarkably unstressed and… well… very present.

Okay. There we go now. Back on track.
I'll be back again tomorrow!