topiary cats

topiary cats

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Zombie Maze

It is Saturday night.  We got home a little while ago and I am exhausted.  Daya is already fast asleep. I do not have a blog post lined up for Sunday.

So here are some pictures from the birthday party today.  It was a blast.  We got to shoot each other in a very cool zombie maze.  I got the special Rick Grimes gun and vest, and I won the most shoots in the secret unofficial adult game.

That maze was cool.  We need to go back...without kids.






It;s good to have friends to be zombies with

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Green Team

I am so stinking ridiculously proud of Daya- she was invited to join the All Stars dance team! There are sub-teams, and she is on the Green Team.  She has been wanting this for a long time, and she has been working very, very hard to show her teachers that she is ready.  She wanted this so badly.  I am proud of her hard work, and I am also glad that she had to work for it.  I want her to know the feeling of accomplishment of working hard, of delayed gratification.

A lot of things come really easy to Daya.  Sometimes too easily. She is very clever and ahead of her age in maturity and independence. She learns quickly. She has high standards for herself.  I do not have to push her at all in school- she is highly motivated already. She does her work on her own.  The dreadful ELA test is coming up, and she asked me if I could email her teacher asking for a copy so she can study and prepare more.  I told her not to worry about the test- but she wants to do well.  She wants to get into honors in middle school.  She is driving herself to excel.  All I have to do is support and encourage her, and tell her I am proud no matter what.

I see every single day how dance has helped her.  I see it in her confidence, her physical health, her social health, her mental and spiritual health.  I see it in her joy. I knew this would be the outcome- that's why I started her early and have been consistent about her lessons. She loves it.   She is always practicing.  The studio is a wonderful environment.  The dance team is very community-focused, which I like.

My Sneaky-Mom Plans are in full effect though- I have Planned Ahead.  When she hits middle school, I want her BUSY.  I want to know where she is, what she is doing,  I want her involved in something positive.

And I am thinking about high school as well.  She wants to go to a performing arts high school, and I also want that for her.  It's a much better environment.  I would absolutely LOVE for her to get in to LaGuardia.   If she works hard enough, I think she has a real chance.  But if not, there are other arts high schools.

The money, the sometimes hectic schedule of getting her to and from class- it is all worth it.

Pre-Pointe class

Friday, March 27, 2015

Selfish

Carey wrote a post in which she mentions being selfish.  Except that she's not selfish.  Not at all.

The whole use of the word "selfish" is, to me, greatly mis-used.  It has a negative connotation. No one is "selfish" for taking good care of themselves.  We must take care of ourselves. Like Carey, I require a lot of alone-time.  And quiet.  I definitely need much more of this than the average person.  I go nuts if I don't have solitude to reset and recharge. And so I take this time that I need in order to remain stable.

That certainly does not make me selfish.  Doing things for myself, pursuing and nurturing my interests and likes- for me as a person- is not selfish.  Being my own person is not selfish.  Having boundaries is not selfish.

Not wanting to have any more (or any) children is not selfish.  I cannot stand when people tell women they are selfish for not wanting children.  Not everyone does, and that is absolutely fine! I do not believe in constant self-sacrifice at the expense of your own well-being. There is a balance here that needs to be maintained.  If you are doing your best with what you have and what you know, there is never any reason to feel guilty or selfish.

Selfish is an overall lack of regard, care, or concern for others, or your advantage at another's expense.  You can still take care of yourself, meet your needs, pursue your interests etc while being mindful and caring towards others.  Selfish is making decisions based  on what you want as the primary motivation with little, or lack, of concern for others who will be affected.  Selfish is the world revolving around you.  Selfish is putting your wants and needs ahead of others with little or no concern and reciprocation.  Selfish comes from a place of "It is all about me and others must revolve around me." Selfish is self-importance over others' importance.  Selfish is entitlement.  Selfish is a lack of gratitude. Selfish is arrogant.  Selfish is a lack of empathy. Selfish is dismissing other people and their perspective. Selfish is blaming others for your drained energy when you are the one not taking care of yourself.

We need a different word for healthy self-care.  We have to stop using the word "selfish" to refer to something that is healthy, normal, and essential.

Mothers especially need to nurture themselves, as we do a lot of care-taking for others. I have Daya do as much for herself as possible, as much as her age and capabilities allow.  Children have needs that they are not able to meet themselves, which change as they age.  Yes, as parents we do have to meet those needs before our own- that is true- however it does not- ever- negate our own needs or require us to completely sacrifice ourselves as the people we are.  Besides, everyone knows that if Mom is happy everyone is happy.  :)

Be good to yourself.  Be kind to yourself.  Be your own best friend.  Do not judge yourself, or speak to yourself in a way that you would not speak to someone you love.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Energy Cultivation

I started meditating regularly about 20 years ago, when I was in college. The first meditation I learned was a basic chakra meditation I found in a book.  It was my "gateway meditation".  I was hooked.

Since then, I have experimented with all kinds of meditation- guided meditation, silent meditation, laughing meditation, chanting mantras, visualization meditation, staring at a candle flame meditation, contemplating death meditation, focusing on the edge of a blade meditation, japa meditation, breathing meditation, walking meditation, stillness meditation, fasting meditation, full body relaxation meditation, alpha and theta brainwave meditation- these days I have yet to meet a meditation I haven't tried in some form.  And I love all of it.  I am a verified meditation junkie.

Depending on what I need and where I am, I switch around my meditation practice.  But all of them bring me to that deep place of peace, joy, and serenity, that place of divine connection.  Unless I am really upset, I can access that serene place very easily. It has absolutely and dramatically changed the way I think and what my mind focuses on. It gives me structure to get through difficult moments.  It augments my positive moments. It has changed me from linear into holographic. One of the great benefits of meditation is that it teaches you to not judge yourself, to be gentle with yourself.  In turn, that extends to not judging others.

I had a lovely insight at yoga the other day. Before class I was relaxing with my hands in anahata chakra mudra. And in that space between my hands, I felt a lovely strong energy of deep love...a vortex... and I can visualize and put things in that space, in that energy. People, situations, places, whatever or whoever I want to hold in that space and pass that amazing energy to.



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mornings

This will sound odd, but I really like my current morning routine.  Even though I am naturally a night owl.  As life changes so do mornings.  And my mornings have gone from really difficult to really easy.

My first alarm goes off about 5:30ish.  I snooze it- several times. This is the signal for Isis and Furball to come swarming over to say good morning. (Pebbles is confined to the bathroom overnight, which makes life a thousand times more wonderful.) Then my (optional) ipad alarm goes off and scares me.  I shut that off.  Actually, I should just disable the damn thing, it is annoying and unnecessary. Then my phone alarm goes off and tells me point blank to wake up for work.  That is at 6:12.  I usually don't get up for another 15-20 minutes.  This is the time I should be doing my morning meditation.

Bathing at night....with cats

If Daya is up before me she will come make sure I am up.  If I am up before Daya, I will wake her up. Yesterday morning when I woke her up she literally fell out of bed head first.  I'm not sure how she managed that, but she did fall out.  We both thought it was hilarious.  It is good to start the day laughing.

We both bathe at night, so mornings are short and simple.  We each do what we need to do, gather what we need for the day. We usually have very little drama or stress.  Daya gets breakfast at school, if she wants it. The Bus Alarm goes off at 7:05. We are out the door.  Daya likes to chat on the way to the bus stop- about school, dance, dreams she had during the night, whatever is on her mind.  She gets the bus and I go to the subway.  I get to work right around 8.

 On the lookout for the school bus

My wheels

I like being in the office early- it is quiet and few people are around.  I get my first cup of tea and do my makeup at my desk, while I check my email and calendar, and see what I have going on for the day.  It is a very nice relaxing ritual.  Then I get my second cup of tea and I am in full swing.


Tea and Urban Decay
  
When Daya was a baby and mornings were much more difficult, I made a Control Journal.  It was so great because I didn't have to think, and I got to cross things off a list.  I found my old Word document with my routines from Feb. 2007!

Evening Routine

Morning Routine

After Work Routine

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cinderella

On Saturday I went with Millie and her son, and Daya of course, to see Cinderella.  And I absolutely LOVED it.  It didn't matter that we all know the story already.  It was just so beautifully done, with a wonderful and powerful theme.  I loved it so much I will get it on DVD when it comes out.

The movie must have touched a nerve with me, though, because that night I had a really bad dream.  Who the heck has a bad dream from Cinderella.....me.  Nightmare isn't the right word- it was just a very sad dream about the way things are with certain people.

I understand the dream completely and I even know why I had it.  The whole thing makes absolute perfect sense.  I woke up and was just SO GLAD to be home.  I fell asleep again and went back into the same dream and had some words with a few people. When I woke up- again- I was SO GLAD to be home...again!  The dream left a strong lingering sadness though, which thankfully dissipated during the day.

It's funny how things we have already resolved and come to terms with can still come back sometimes.


If you haven't seen Cinderella it really is worth going to see.

Monday, March 23, 2015

This Year


Sharon's words above are pretty much a good summation of how I feel about this year.  I feel energetic shifts happening.  I have a lot of hope for positive change.  I need some change.

What I really need to do is bring new external energy in.  I'm so internal- very good at the internal stuff, but I am not so good at external.  And this is my challenge.  I need to bring in new energy, new people, new positive influences, get involved in new things.  One would think in a city like NYC that would be easy.  In some ways it is, in many ways it is not.

My starting point is going back to yoga.  IYI has a lot of events as well, which I will check out.  The nice things is that I can either go alone, or I can bring Daya with me now that she is old enough.

So, while I have a good attitude and am doing the right things, I am struggling between the balance of having hope and having expectations.  Expectations lead to disappointment.

It is good to not have expectations, but how to balance that with attaining what you want?  I don't know.

But I do know I need to open up externally more.  It's a paradox; a while ago I wrote about being too yang- but in this respect I am way too yin.  Spring is the perfect season to bring in new energy.

My personal mantra and challenge is to stay open and positive. This is something I constantly have to remind myself when negative and doubtful thoughts surface. It is a constant, ongoing effort.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Holey

For my friend's birthday,  we got our noses pierced. I got a little tiny white opal and she got a little white crystal. It really did not hurt very much at all, much less than I expected.  Mostly, it just felt weird.  The weirdest part was having someone else stick a q-tip up my nose...and then their finger...that's just awkward no matter what.  And then it was over.


Daya wanted to get a second set of earrings in her ears, so I said ok.  It looks really good on her.  She chose tiny amethysts.




 Not painful.  Really.

AND, to make the evening even better, we got a pretty snowstorm!
I think I was the absolute onliest person in all of NYC who enjoyed the snow.

Pretty White Trees



Saturday, March 21, 2015

Yoga with Daya

I took Daya to yoga with me last Sunday.  IYI offers a free intro class and I knew Daya could handle it, so I took her.

She did really great...and it helps that she is already very bendy.  She really enjoyed the class and said she would do it again. The inner meditation that yoga offers would be so excellent for Daya, so I will definitely take her again.

The most wonderful thing, however, was that our class together was in the very same room where I did prenatal yoga.  It really was very special.

IYI Yantra
One Truth, Many Paths

Friday, March 20, 2015

Childproofing

When babies get mobile and start creeping around, then walking, people usually childproof dangerous places.  I put a lock on the bathroom cabinet under the sink, which was a source of constant toddler obsession.

Daya broke through the first lock so I got a better one which worked great.  She still remembers that lock!

Now that she is much older, we don't need to childproof anything.

Um, except that we do.

Because of the stupid cats.

One night sometime last year, I woke up in the middle of the night to a scary horrible smell.  I went into the kitchen to discover that Pebbles had turned the stove on. I have a gas range.  I had left a pan on the burner with a plastic spoon in it- which completely melted.  And I know for a fact it was Pebbles.

So I childproofed the stove with those knob covers.

Now, I have to childproof the freezer because of Isis.  She has opened the freezer several times, my chocolate ice cream being the latest casualty.  I know it is Isis because I have seen her do it.

The cats are far worse than Daya ever was.

Haha!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mantras and Mudras

                                           ॐ

The things we need find us when we are ready for them, when we need them.  It is never coincidence.  Our job is to stay open, listen, and pay attention.  Accept the gifts that are constantly offered, and keep the flow going and extend to others.

I started working with mantras almost 15 years ago.  They are a lovely way to meditate. Sometimes I use my mala beads and sometimes I do not.  I practice them for a while, then I leave them for a while and come back to them eventually.  The first mantra I worked with...

Om mani padme hum 

...is a compassion mantra.  Some say that all the teachings of the Buddha are contained in this mantra.

When I was pregnant I sang this mantra a lot, which is a Divine Mother mantra:

om ma pahimam
om ma rakshamam

hey ma Durga pahimam

Of course I love the Gayatri Mantra, which is just an amazing, incredible, and awesome mantra. There is a ton of into on it already, which an easy Google search will locate.

ॐ भूर्भुवः॒ स्वः ।
तत्स॑वितुर्वरे॑ण्यं
भ॒र्गो॑ दे॒वस्य॑ धीमहि ।
धियो॒ यो नः॑ प्रचो॒दया॑त् ॥

Aum Bhur Bhuva Svah 
Tat Savitur Varenyam 
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi 
Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat

I have found a new mantra (or it found me...same thing I guess) which is:

Jaya Jaya Shiva Shambho 
Mahadeva Shambho

This is a happy mantra which opens your heart.

Shiva represents the power of transformation and is pure consciousness. Shiva is that which you are capable of becoming. Shiva is often called Mahadeva, the Great God, and also Shambo, the abode of joy.

*****
So, mudras.  Most people know Anjali Mudra, which is the hands together in front of your heart- the traditional hands together in prayer.

Anjali Mudra

Most people have some familiarity with Dhyana Mudra or Jnani Mudra, which is the tip of the thumb and index finger touching.  This creates a closed energy circuit which is useful in meditation.

Jnana Mudra

These are the two I always worked with.  But I am exploring mudras more.  There are lots and lots of mudras and they all do different things and have different benefits- physical, spiritual, and emotional.

The one I have started working with is the Anahata Chakra Mudra. (Heart Chakra Mudra) This mudra improves health heart and lungs, chest, and breathing. it is also good for compassion, love, and healing abilities.


Anahata Chakra Mudra

                                              ॐ

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

This is What Happened

All is said and done now.  In my entire life, I have never been as furious- absolutely furious- with someone as I am with someone who was a best friend. My anger with her outstrips all anger I have ever had towards anyone in my whole life.

The beginning of this year brought something very unexpected, which was a final straw in a whole series of events which has broken a deep friendship forever.  My friend was very much my sister, part of my heart. Our kids were best friends and have grown up together. I gave and forgave until I just could not anymore. I am done.  Forever.

  • In 2012 my friend had to move because her landlord was converting the apartment into a daycare for a family member.
  • She is a single mom with no family around, like me.  She has 2 young boys.
  • Due to bills from her ex and her divorce, her credit was not so great.  But she is responsible and has a fantastic job.  The same thing happened to me, so I understand.  It took me years to fix my credit, which is now awesome again.
  • She couldn't get an apartment because of the credit check.  She tried.  She was at the point of having to uproot the kids, leave her awesome job, and move in with her mother in Florida.
  • So I signed as a tenant on her lease, which was actually the leasing company's suggestion, that she finds someone to do that, but it had to be a NY resident.  So I did it.
  • Our agreement and promise was that it would only be for ONE YEAR, and she would do what she had to do to pay things off and bring her credit back up, then she was to get her own lease without my name.
  • In 2013 she renewed the lease in my name without my knowledge or consent.  I didn't find out until after, because I asked about it.  She said she would get me off the lease, but she procrastinated or forgot, and she did not do it even though I was on her case about it.
  • Also in 2013 she was laid off from her job, but she found new employment within a couple of months.
  • In October 2013 she drafted a notarized letter that we both signed to get me off the lease.  
  • A couple of days later she came home from work to find out she had been evicted from the apartment.  She pretended to be shocked and surprised and to not know anything about it.
  • I took her, her two boys, AND her boyfriend at the time in and they lived with me FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH.  I asked nothing in return and she gave me nothing.
  • She got a new apartment in her name.
  • I have an eviction on my public record, which might affect me if I need to move.  My friend swore up and down she would research to see how we could get it sealed/removed/transferred to her. That never happened, I did follow up with her several times.
  • In Jan 2014 I received a letter from the leasing company saying I owed money.  A lot of money.  I spoke to the leasing company and I also gave a copy of the letter to my friend who said she would take care of it.
  • When I followed up she said it was taken care of.
  • All was forgiven, we remained best friends.
  • In Feb 2015 I received a phone call from an attorney telling me they were taking legal action against me to collect a debt---it was that January letter.  She didn't do it when she said, then she forgot about it.
  • I freaked right the hell out.  Did some research.  Found some things out about evictions.  Went to court to look at the papers.  As it turns out, THERE WERE TWO SEPARATE COURT SUMMONS AND JUDGEMENTS AGAINST ME from 2013- one earlier in the year and one for the October eviction.  The eviction was due to non-payment of the rent over time. 
  • My friend swears she never stopped paying but she is obviously lying and never did anything to prove it,  It is her vague word against court papers. The court papers win. She knew about it, I saw the service notifications, she just ignored it.  TWICE.  And then she just lied and played dumb.
  • Last week I told her that if she had made those payments she is obligated to prove it and we have to re-open the case and go to court. I gave her a number to call (so much for her research). She said she would call almost two weeks ago and let me know.  She never did it; I have heard nothing. Because it obviously has no importance to her whatsoever.
  • I  have confirmed with the law firm that she paid in full.  If she didn't, it would have come out of Daya's college savings.
She just accepts that it ruined our friendship.  She has no intention of making it right.  So I am stuck with the eviction.  It is absolutely unbelievable. I have no words.  ..............

I was a good friend to her and she just treated my friendship like garbage.  Over and over.


**************
........until you abuse it and take advantage 
and lie and put me in harm's way.....
I am loyal to a fault 
but I also respect myself 
enough to have limits.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A History Lesson

I love Ireland, I love the Irish, I love green, I love its magical and wonderful heritage, I want a cool Irish accent, all of it, I love.  I do.

But I'm not a fan of St Patrick's Day.  (and I don't like Guinness, which some might see as the greater crime)

It's not the drunken revelry, or celebrating Irish heritage, or the parade, or any of the modern celebration I object to.  I object to the "holiday" itself because of its origins.  As anyone will tell you, drunk or not, St Patrick's Day celebrates St Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland.  But I really have met very, very few people who know more than that or care to know further.  No more snakes, sounds great, let's have another round and toast to it!

But hang on a sec.  St Patrick driving all the snakes out of Ireland means that St Patrick wiped out the Druids.  Religious warfare, genocide, cultural destruction of natives- that's what driving the snakes out means.

From Wikipedia:
Murchiú's life of Saint Patrick contains a supposed prophecy by the druids which gives an impression of how Patrick and other Christian missionaries were seen by those hostile to them:

Across the sea will come Adze-head, crazed in the head,
his cloak with hole for the head, his stick bent in the head.
He will chant impieties from a table in the front of his house;
all his people will answer: "so be it, so be it."

St. Patrick's Day Facts: Snakes, a Slave, and a Saint
No Snakes in Ireland
The St. Patrick mythology includes the claim that he banished snakes from Ireland.

It's true no snakes exist on the island today, Freeman said. But they never did.

Ireland, after all, is surrounded by icy ocean waters—much too cold to allow snakes to migrate from Britain or anywhere else.

But since snakes often represent evil in literature, "when Patrick drives the snakes out of Ireland, it is symbolically saying he drove the old, evil, pagan ways out of Ireland [and] brought in a new age," Freeman said.

The snakes myth and others—such as Patrick using three-leafed shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost)—were likely spread by well-meaning monks centuries after St. Patrick's death, Freeman said.

IrishCentral.com says:
So why has St. Patrick been so heavily hailed as the hero that banished snakes from Ireland? Well, some believe that the snake was a symbol of paganism and it is St. Paddy that can be accredited for ridding Ireland of paganism and bringing Christianity to the green isle.

*********
This is something to consider if you have any love for anything Celtic or Druid.  Or if you disagree with cultural destruction.

*********
As a side note St Brigid (aka St Barbara) was the Irish goddess Brigid (there are countless other spellings). She was so beloved by the people the church couldn't get rid of her, so they turned her into a saint,  They also took all the pagan holidays and converted them to Christianity.  I will post about that when Easter comes.

Yggdrasil by Jen Delyth

*Yggdrasil is the Norse tree of life but there is a lot of cross-over and influence between the Vikings and the Druids.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Hela

Drusilla posted a Valkyrie for the March ACEO contest.  It was an absolutely amazing and powerful image, so of course I made sure that I won the auction.  And it got me thinking...I should commission Dru to do a Hela ACEO card for me.

Hela is the Norse goddess of death. (also spelled Hel or Hella)  I was ordained (ordained as in priesthood) to her back in my pagan days.  I have only ever met one other person who was also called to Hela- and interestingly enough we both discovered we had a couple of the same dreams regarding Hela, and we also have the same tattoo in the same place.  Which we had both gotten before we ever met. FWIW, it is interesting.

I do not work with Hela very much, despite her being one of my patron deities.  I don't talk to her. Actually, I have gone several years without ever thinking of her.  I can't really say at all that I work with her- it's definitely more accurate to say she works with me.  And all of this is ok.  I do have a very deep connection to her which is very unique.  Because of this, I can get very dark sometimes- but that is ok.  I am not afraid of this energy.  It is not harmful or hurtful energy.

Although she is very dark, there is nothing "evil" about her.  Modern Western culture really doesn't deal with death energy very well, so I suppose she might appear frightening, but really she isn't at all.

In Norse mythology, Hela ruled the land of the dead- Helheim- and it was said that all those who did not die in battle went to her. She is depicted as half living and beautiful, and half dead skeletal.  Her realm was not viewed as "bad" or "evil".

Hela has a very special care and protection for children who die as well as the very elderly.  She is also very protective towards those who have a physical disfigurement or physical disability, or any noticeable physical abnormality. (that's not in the Eddas- that is my own experience with her energy)

Death energy can be physical death as well as metaphorical death.  I didn't understand Hela for a long time because I have not experienced much physical death in my life at all.  So I didn't know how to relate to her.  In my case, understanding of her energy has been something that happened through time, as I matured and went through my own life transitions.

I have walked through her realm three times now.  It has always been unpleasant but it's also ok in the end.  And I usually don't figure out what is going on until it is over.  In my case, Hela's energy is going through spiritual death and transformation, leaving parts of myself that really do need to die at her door.

Hela is very, very, very still.  And silent.  She is not a dynamic energy goddess but she is a trans-formative goddess. She is the ultimate badass of microbiology. When she speaks it is direct and to the point. She is a paradox of subtle and not-subtle.  She is deeply wise.  Though her energy is death energy, and all that entails, it includes preparation for rebirth and that type of transformation, There is very deep love in her energy.

Anyhow, I wanted to honor her, so I commissioned this wonderful ACEO.

Hela

Sunday, March 15, 2015

It's Not Personal

I almost never take things personally.  Almost always, peoples' negative or nasty behavior is all about them. Sometimes I happen to be in the way.  Which is unpleasant, but it's really not about me.

Not taking things personally doesn't mean I don't get upset- I might- but I don't internalize it as a direct attack against me as a person.  Things people do and say tell me about who they are as a person, which really has nothing at all to do with me.

Even directly awful things spoken to or about me are just people showing their own ugliness.  For example:

Ugly #1
When a relative of mine heard I was marrying a black man, her response was "I hope she is infertile!"

Her ugliness has nothing to do with me, even though it was directed at me.
How ironic that when she saw my daughter she said how beautiful she was.

Ugly #2
When my ex dropped the bomb on me, it hit me hard and I wasn't doing so well. A friend (at the time) told me to come over.  Her husband said to me, "No man will ever want you now.  You are used goods."

Wow, what an asshole.  I actually did believe this for a long time.  It was how I really felt.  A lot of that was because a man who (I thought) was my friend said it to me, at a time when I was extremely vulnerable.  It stuck with me for a long time. Eventually I got over it. It was my deliberate choice to get over it and call it the bullshit it is.

But again, this is an example of someone just showing their true character.

*****
It is true that our words have great power- power to hurt, power to heal.  But it isn't one-sided, meaning there is both action and reaction.  We each have the choice on what we hold on to.  We can accept the energy of positive words or reject it.  We can hold on to hurtful words or let them go.  And not taking things personally really aids in doing that.

But it is still a very important thing to choose our words (and thoughts) carefully, as they can and do have a profound effect.  I read once that it takes seven positive reinforcements to un-do one negative reinforcement.


I like this blog post about the power of words.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Guard Your Peeps!

The other day I needed some pineapple gummy bears, so I went across the street to Toys R Us. There is a big Easter Peeps display.  With its own dedicated guard.  For real.  I checked a few times because I could not believe it.

The Peeps Corner was also the only spot where there were no people.  No one.  I'm guessing because of the guard, because about 2 million people were swarming and loitering everywhere else.

I remain unsure if the guard is protecting against stolen Peeps, or if this employee had to set up the display and they don't want anyone messing it up.

The Peeps have a dedicated guard

Friday, March 13, 2015

Daya's Name

I often get asked about how Daya got her name.  It's a good story.

While I firmly believe that everyone should name their babies after me (Carey), I myself would not do that. It is much better to have someone else name their child after you.  But I was pregnant and the baby needed a name.

I certainly didn't know what to name a baby.  I did know Daya was a girl (I knew that at 2 weeks and I was correct), so I thought about girl names.  A name is a gift- it is important.  I did have certain criteria- I wanted it to begin with either a D or a J, it had to be uncommon (at least in my culture) but not obnoxious, and it had to have a good meaning.

Being completely at a loss, I decided to ask the baby what her name was.  Maybe she would tell me.  So I asked, and I waited to encounter a name- not just once, but several times. I was on alert.  And that is exactly what happened.  I encountered Daya at work, when I was doing some training.  It was the last name of the training host.  And then I heard it in my midwife's office.  And then- the Gayatri mantra found me.  The last word of the mantra is "dayat"- which is a conjugation of the Sanskrit word daya.

So, the baby's name was Daya.  I did not tell anyone her name until after she was born.  Not even her father, but he didn't care anyhow.

In Sanskrit, Daya means divine kindness and mercy.   In Hindu culture, it is a very popular name.

Daya is one of the five fundamental teachings of the Sikh religion.

It is a very powerful spiritual name.  It is her gift, and also her lesson.

Daya at the Temple of Dendur

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Circle

This week I started taking yoga again.  Yoga has been one of those things I always wanted to pursue- since I was 12 years old.  I was babysitting and there was a small green hardcover book called "Yoga for Everyday Health".  It pretty much smacked me over the head with a YOU NEED TO PURSUE THIS order and I never did until I got pregnant.

My pregnancy was a really awful time- I was in a lot of emotional pain and confusion due to my ex husband bailing out on our marriage because he found another girl (with a full bank account).  I was pregnant, alone, and scared and just...hurting a lot.  Going through that transition.  Going to yoga was one of the nicest and most comforting things I had during that time, and it really did help tremendously with pregnancy aches and pains.

I always wanted to go back, and finally I did.  It took me 10 years, but I made it back.  Going to a class after work isn't really the most feasible thing when you are alone with a child who has to be picked up from childcare, and who has her own classes on the weekends.  DVDs aren't the same as a class.

But now, finally, I can do it.  I am back at Integral Yoga NYC in the West Village.  It is also a block and a half from where Daya was born.

IYI has not changed at all in 10 years, and I love that.  The whole building is completely saturated with wonderful beautiful energy. Being there again felt like I completed an energetic circle, with my today-self telling my 2005-self that everything will be ok.

On the second floor there are several pictures on the walls of Yoga people, gurus, important people in the Hindu tradition,  etc.  There is also a picture of Jesus.  I remember this picture very specifically from 2005, and what was posted underneath it.  I found it comforting at the time.  It is still there, in exactly the same place, unchanged.




Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hope

Aside from having no painting mojo, I am also having a dry spell when it comes to blog posts.  Doing a post every day was never a specific intention- it just kind of happened.  I often have them scheduled days in advance.  Now, since I am on a roll, I don't want to stop. But I don't have any posts lined up.

Not having a blog post for yesterday was a major incentive for sitting down and doing some sketchbook painting, but it felt so forced and it looked that way too.  My brain might be over-assaulted with input again...if that is the case then I will just have to go off Facebook.

So I need a focus. A defined point from which to start.   I'm thinking about it.  Sometimes tarot decks or oracle cards are good for that.  I have a few that I have gotten just for the art.  I also have a couple of decks I got for the subject matter but the art is so bad and cheezy I can't look at them.

So, hope.  I think about hope a lot.  Sometimes I don't know what to do about it.  Whether to keep it, lose it, or re-direct it.  That might make for an interesting painting, actually.

Here is a nice image for Hope.  This is from the Wisdom of the House of Night oracle card deck, which really is gorgeous.  I'm not a House of Night fan and I'm not interested in it. I never even heard of it until Amazon showed me the card deck in recommendations.  But the deck is gorgeous.


*****
TRUE STORY: When I was in high school I knew a girl named Hope who was married to a guy named Chanse.



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My Focuser is Broken

I don't know what my problem is, but I can't paint. When I sit down to paint, I just can't get into it.  I can't focus.  I have zero inspiration, zero art energy.

That's kind of a bummer.

I was going to post a sketchbook page but it looks so forced...well, because it was.

My stupid muse took off again and she left no forwarding address, has not been in contact... I have done all the things I know to do for inspiration... and...nothing.

My well is dry and I'm annoyed about it.

I bet stuff like this never happens to Drusilla.


Monday, March 09, 2015

Namesake

When Carey was pregnant with her first child, I strongly encouraged her to name the baby after me. Since she had a boy, she was off the hook.

Then she had TWO GIRLS.  I tried everything to persuade her to name one of them after me.  even a middle name.

And now she is growing #4.  I pulled out all the stops to get this child named after me, including reverse psychology and giving the baby a different name every single day.  Although I am steadfastly optimistic that this child will still be my namesake, I actually think it is a boy.  Which means Carey will have to have another baby.

BUT.........she went to the store the other day and she sent me this wonderful picture of a cactus she adopted!  I suggested she names it Jessica AND SHE DID!!!  I have a cactus named after me now!

So happy.

Jessica the Cactus

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Drag the Cats Around!

Because I am a geek, I have made an interactive guessing game published as HTML5 and I figured out how to put it here on my blog!!  So exciting.

It will work in any browser that supports HTML5, and on most mobile devices.  No Flash!  Yay! Tested on Android (Thanx Carey) desktop (Chrome) and iPhone!

If your browser does not support HTML5, try using Chrome.

Enjoy!


Saturday, March 07, 2015

100% Chance

  • If you have at least one child, there is a 100% chance you will have odd things on the floor.
  • If there is something circular on the floor, there is a 100% chance it will get occupied by a cat.
  • If the circular object does not get picked up, there is a 100% chance it will become a favorite napping spot.
  • If you move the circular object, there is a 100% chance you will feel guilty about it.
  • If you feel guilty, there is a 100% chance you will not move the circular object on the floor no matter how inconvenient a place it is in.





Mid-Yawn
Isis yawned at me then went back to sleep.

Friday, March 06, 2015

The Winchester Bible

Last Sunday I went with Daya to see the Winchester Bible exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was just AWESOME.  I love all things Medieval, especially books. And I love the Met madly.

Here are some pictures.  Being around this kind of thing is a really profound and humbling experience- the time it has been through, the people who made it, the culture it came from, people who have preserved it- and by being in it's presence and honoring it, we also become part of its history.


















I did not, until just now, see the no pictures icon.  Like anyone is going to notice that.  Even if I did see it, I still would have taken pictures.