21 Day Yoga Challenge Day 10: Get Creative! #yogagirlchallenge

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I did it. I wrote a song! No I’m not sharing it. But I did it. Never been bold enough to sit down and write a song, but I’ve wanted to for years. Now that I’m checking items off my bucket list, this was my inspiration after yoga and meditation. Rachel asked us to listen to ourselves. This is what came out of my head, heart, and hands. It’s a love song. It’s imperfect just like me, and now that I have the first draft out, I can continue to work on it and other songs too! I have ideas for all kinds of songs.

It’s written in the key of C and uses the c, g, d, am, and c add9. I wrote a couple verses and a chorus.

If you’d like to see me play guitar and sing, here are a couple of links to my YouTube channel.

Blackbird

Short Blues

Good Riddance

Did Ashtanga vinyasa, sat in meditation, committed a random act of kindness (donated to a charity), drank lemon water, and was on time everywhere! So grateful for everything and every one.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

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Self Care Sunday: Sleep

Sleeping is so important for our bodies.  It’s the main way we metabolize cortisol, the stress hormone from the adrenal glands.  Our bodies repair themselves when we sleep.  Our brains assimilate information, and we grow while we sleep.

I can never seem to get enough sleep.  Generally, once I’m asleep I will sleep for a long time with some tossing and turning to change positions according to pain during the night.  However, there are some nights when I find it hard to fall asleep.  My mind is busy with different thoughts, and my body gets tense causing physical pain.  Once I realize I’m not sleeping and it’s getting late, I wake up even more.  That makes it more difficult to sleep.  So, it becomes a vicious cycle.

Here are a few things I do to help me unwind and get a better night’s sleep:

  • Calm down.  Breathe.  Inhale, exhale, repeat.  Count to ten, then repeat.
  • Do some yoga.  Specific yoga poses like child pose calm the nervous system and help with sleep.
  • Click here to read more about yoga poses that help with sleeping.
  • Click here for another list.  I typically do these poses on the floor in front of the tv at night to start winding down.
  • One naturopathic doctor told me if I was going to do one yoga pose a day, I should do downward dog.  It’s an easy pose that stretches the spine and massages the internal organs.
  • Have a bedtime routine of some sort.  It’s not exactly the same thing as the kids’ version but similar.  Shower time, quiet time, reading, and stretching all are effective bedtime routine activities.
  • Listen to nature sounds or a playlist of favorite songs.  I enjoy listening to ocean sounds and birdsongs on my iPhone app called Nature Space.
  • Take a hot bath or shower.  Epsom salts in the bath are super relaxing.

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What do you do to help yourself sleep well?  Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

Reverse Bucket List

Here’s a list of 40 things I did by age 40 (a reverse bucket list):

1. Played Suzuki violin at Wolf Trap, VA and the Kennedy center in DC.
2. Met President Carter.
3. Met Jewel.
4. Got my masters degree (4.0 GPA).
5. Had three babies.
6. Married twice. (Divorced once).
7. completed a 95 day semester on the Rockies.
8. Assisted a midwife at approximately thirty home-births.
9. Got arrested for hanging off the Triboro bridge in NYC to protest ocean dumping for Greenpeace.
10. Edited and self-published my dad’s book for him after he died.
11. Travelled to Europe (Rome, Florence, Siena, Venice, Paris, Amsterdam).
12. Travelled to Hawaii (Kauai, Maui, Hawaii).
13. Got licensed to teach all subjects 4-8 and math 8-12.
14. Started my own math tutoring business.
15. Worked as a classroom teacher for eight years.
16. Went rock climbing all over (VA, WV, WY, CO, AZ).
17. Had sixteen surgeries.
18. Spent two winters studying and teaching in Yellowstone National Park.
19. Kayaked around Isla Espiritu Santo in Baja. (Spent a month there).
20. Played college soccer freshman and sophomore years.
21. Spent a month above tree line in Colorado learning about alpine ecology.
22. Saw the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band many times.
23. Spent a month living on a hippie commune in Northern California.
24. Started writing a blog.
25. Studied French for six years.
26. Learned to play the guitar.
27. Wrote my first guitar solo.
28. Learned how to do yoga.
29. Lived outdoors in Colorado for a year and half.
30. Was featured in a newspaper for a school project.
31. Wrote nineteen episodes of fiction.
32. Survived a fall/slide all the way down a frozen ski run on Mt Rose, NV.
33. Did gymnastics for eight years.
34. Went on a first date to Paris, France.
35. Drove across the country a few times.
36. Saw over sixty live concerts.
37. Hung a banner from a building for Greenpeace in Louisiana (and didn’t get arrested).
38. Grew up without a father.
39. Completed a sprint distance triathlon.
40. Went to Disneyland and Disneyworld.

What does your reverse bucket list look like?

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

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Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam played in Dallas November 15, 2013 on their Lightning Bolt tour. Although I’ve been a fan since the beginning, it was my first time seeing them live. I got to see Eddie Vedder last year on his solo Ukelele Songs tour but hadn’t seen the entire band ever before.  Not only do I love Eddie Vedder, I love the guitarists from Pearl Jam (Mike McCready and Stone Gossard) too.  They are like guitar gods to me, so I really enjoyed the show watching them perform what I’ve only seen on MTV before.

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I remember their breakthrough hit, Even Flow, back when Eddie was young, shirtless, with long messy hair and often hung off the rafters while performing it. I’ve had a crush on him ever since. Over the years he’s ventured out on his own and continued to write new music with the band too. Some of their new music still has some of that punk edge (Mind Your Manners) while some of it is mellow and introspective (Sirens). I like every song on the new album.  One thing is for sure, he writes what’s in his heart and the music makes me feel a wide spectrum of emotions.

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Recently I learned they don’t play the same set list on tour (similar to the Grateful Dead). It’s a bit self indulgent not to play the hits the crowd wants to hear, but in a way it makes it more special to hear the hits. Eddie Vedder is a quirky guy and has never been known to follow the mainstream’s expectations. This spirit was evident in his soundtrack to “Into the Wild” and I also noticed at his solo show he was very strict about not taking pictures or videos. I almost got my phone taken away for taking pictures, and when I posted video on YouTube, it got taken down and I got a copyright warning. Oops! Going into the show, I reviewed all my favorite songs and made a wish list of the ones I hoped to see: Jeremy, Better Man, Yellow Ledbetter, Black, Elderly Lady Behind the Counter in a Small Town, Just Breathe, and Even Flow topped my list. Out of those, I got to see and hear Jeremy, Small Town, and Better Man, three classics. But I left the concert wishing they had also played Even Flow. How could they not play that one? Keeps fans like me wanting more and ready to buy that next concert ticket.  That’s the trick I guess.

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Setlist Dallas, TX 11/15/13

 

Here are some video highlights from the show:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wqraA3Y79E  (Small Town)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arM-qMvOTQU (Better Man)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad_3WFFENvc (Jeremy)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJXsUfuVGHs (end of Jeremy)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ESD7hcDmos (Daughter)

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Eddie’s grown up over the years and kept his shirt on for the entire concert.  However, he did swing around on the stage on one of the lights at the end of the show!  It was an awesome night that I won’t forget. Can’t wait to see them again.

 

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Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

 

25 Things About Me

I’m flashing back today, looking back over some of the old notes I wrote on Facebook before I started blogging.  Found this list of 25 things about me and got a kick out of re-reading it and thought I would share with updates where necessary.

1.  Like my friend Eve who tagged me in this note, I have a genius IQ, but I knew it when I was a kid and resented the pressure to be an overachiever.
2.  I like beans….and I make a yummy bean salad.  Whatever I cook if I can throw in some beans I will. (Update-I no longer eat beans!  I’ve been following a mostly paleo diet since August (no grains, no dairy, no beans/legumes, no refined salt, sugars, or oils). 
3. I like to cook, and I am obsessed with eating healthy food like lean meats, lots of fruits and veggies, and whole grains. (Update-no more whole grains!  Was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity (click here to read the entry I wrote about it) in May and have been off most grains (except a little rice since August).
4.  I always wanted to be a wife and mother and never really knew what career to pursue when I was growing up.  Click here to read why.
5.  Because of #4, I went to three colleges, took two years off (one to work for GP and do a NOLS semester (click here to read about it) and the other to work as a cook and live in Telluride, CO), and changed my major twice (#1 French #2 Philosphy/Religion #3 Environmental Studies)….didn’t graduate until I was 25.

Telluride, CO from a gondola.

Telluride, CO from a gondola. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6.  My first ‘career’ was an environmental activist for Greenpeace in Washington DC.

Washington DC

Washington DC (Photo credit: eGuide Travel)

7.  I got my master’s degree in Education and became a teacher after my GP job got moved to Amsterdam;  I was a single mom so I didn’t want to go.
8.  When I was a teacher, I discovered a passion for math, and now that I am a stay home mom I love tutoring math because I can help students learn to love math.  Click here to read about my love affair with math.

Dansk: Dedikeret til matematik

Dansk: Dedikeret til matematik (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

9.  I love to sleep and will sleep until noon if nobody wakes me up.  I also love being pampered like getting massages.
10.  I met my husband, Joe, at the gym when he was working there and going to school and I was his 12:30 appointment for personal training.  We started running together and the rest is history.  Even though he is a lawyer now, we still go to the gym every weekend and love exercising together.

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11.  I am lactose intolerant (like most Asian Americans).
12.  I am an extrovert and love to get together with friends, pot-luck style, with good food, drinks and conversation.
13. When I go out, my drink of choice is gin and tonic (Bombay Sapphire) and my favorite shots are Jaegermeister and Tequila. (Update-no more gin or jaegermeister due to food allergies.  The only liquor I drink is Patron silver tequila).
14.  I drink wine (chardonnay) when I’m cooking and with dinner.
15. I am kind of a control freak and always am trying to avert danger and/or accidents, especially with my kids. Like we don’t let them play outside in the front yard without an adult and don’t even get me started on how hard it is to have a 15 yr. old who is about to date and drive etc. (Update-since I wrote this post, I wrote nineteen episodes of fiction. I realized this theme came up in my fiction writing. Click here to read my fiction episodes).
16.  I like heights and exposure, hence my affinity for climbing trees as a kid, my love for rock climbing and high mountains where the earth meets the sky.  When I stand on a cliff or overlook I get the urge to fly like a bird, but of course I don’t have wings so maybe I should take up hang gliding or something?

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Split Rock, WY 1989

17.  On the flip side, I am claustrophobic and I would really hate to go scuba diving or caving or anything like that.
18.  I am a big flirt, always have been, in fact I won ‘biggest flirt’ in 8th grade with Bill Schraa who ironically was also voted ‘best couple’ with his girlfriend.
19.  When I go shopping I am all about the sales and hardly ever will pay retail price.
20.  I manage all the money in our household and am good about paying our bills on time or early.
21. I correct people when they use bad grammar (I know that is annoying, but I can’t help it).
22.  When I am going through a hard time, I make music mixes full of songs that reflect whatever it is that’s going on.  Before CD‘s I made mixed tapes.
23.  I always try to complement people and tell them what I like about them (something I learned as a teacher when conferencing with parents).  There is always something nice you can say, no matter who it is.
24.  I spend alot of time on the computer.
25.  I give my kids ‘mommy homework’ if they don’t have any from school and make them do reading, writing, and math all summer (for about an hour a day, it’s not so bad) to keep them challenged.  Click here to read about summer learning.

My Life According to Lil Wayne

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to 15 people you like and include me. You can’t use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It’s a lot harder than you think! Repost as “my life according to (band name)”

Pick Your Artist: Lil Wayne
Are you a male or female: Mrs. Officer
Describe yourself: I’m Me
How do you feel: Down
Describe where you currently live: Got Money
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Cali Dro
Your favorite form of transportation: Fly Out
Your best friend is: Sweetest Girl
You and your best friends are: Unstoppable
What’s the weather like? The Heat
What’s your favorite time? Let it Rock
If your life was a TV show, what would it be called? My Life
What is life to you?  Can’t Believe It
Your last relationship: On My Own
Your fear: Fireman
What is the best advice you have to give: Love Me or Hate Me
If you could change your name it would be: Weezy Baby
Thought for the Day: Go DJ
How I would like to die: Last of a Dying Breed
Biggest secret: Inside
My soul’s present condition: Comfortable
My motto: I Run This

Fireman (song)

Fireman (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inspired by These Female Celebrities

rachel pinterest

http://rachelbrathen.com/

Rachel Brathen is a yogi living in Aruba, spreading her love of yoga each day over her social media accounts.  She travels the world to teach yoga and inspires me every day to look up to the sky, be humble and grateful.

laurenrudick

http://blog.backtoeden.ca/2013/09/11/the-365-day-handstand-challenge/

Lauren Rudick is the yogi who inspired me to start the #handstand365 challenge.  I only did 29, but I tried. And I felt inspired. I am still inspired daily by her pictures, her messages, and I also love her yoga jewelry that she hands makes with care.

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http://www.jenaniston.net/

Jennifer Aniston. Where do I start? I love her. She is probably my favorite actress. And she does yoga too.  I think I’ve seen every movie she is in.  I think my favorite role was when she starred in the Good Girl.  She is regular and ordinary, yet cool.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZXynl7z4hU

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwyneth_Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow became my idol when Brad Pitt asked her to marry her.   I also love how classy she is and how she can adapt to various accents in her acting roles.  My favorite movie she was in was Shakespeare In Lovehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3Zi2N1Q8-Y

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leelee_Sobieski

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wknrgJlv_Y

Jewel-Closeup-In-T-Shirt

www.jeweljk.com

avril

http://www.avrillavigne.com/us/home

Summer 2013 In Review

It’s been quite a summer. So much going on that I took a bit of a break from blogging for the past couple of weeks. Haven’t had as much time or energy to commit to it lately. But now that it’s the last day of summer, I’d like to take a few minutes to wrap everything up. Tomorrow, another school year starts, and there will be another major shift in our daily routines as a family.

One of the joys of being a stay home mom is having ‘time off’ to take care of the kids during the summers. Early mornings rushing to get to school on time turn into lazy mornings, sleeping late, and mostly unstructured days. The kids have activities, but it’s hardly stressful because there is nowhere else they have to be. I also structure learning into their days, but all in all we have a laid-back, relaxing time during the summers. Staying home with them and being with them all day in the summers also means I’m busy with them all day and taking care of all of their needs. So, it means a busier mommy with more to worry about.

My youngest is a joy. He is eight years old, starting third grade tomorrow. He is so easy-going. From the minute he wakes up, he usually has a great attitude and does whatever he is told or asked. He is still at that innocent age and has such a nice life with both parents who live with him and love him without measure. He has been taking swimming lessons and doing Taekwondo lessons over the summer as well as having private baseball lessons. My husband coaches his baseball team, so he also has lots of daddy time playing sports.

My middle daughter is thirteen years old and is starting eighth grade this year. While parenting a teenager is certainly a tough job, luckily I’ve done it once before. She spent the summer mostly dancing, attending intensive day camps as well as evening classes. After eight years of gymnastics, age 3-11, she switched to dance but was behind the other girls her age. After two years of training and practice, she officially made the Elite competition company at her dance studio this summer. We are super proud of her and recognize all the hard work she’s put into reaching her goal of becoming a competitive dancer.

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Oh yea, and she also dyed the ends of her hair hot pink again this summer (with my help).
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My oldest daughter is twenty and is starting fifteenth grade this year as a junior in college. She recently changed her major to business accounting, and this was her first summer staying at school during the summer, living, working, and taking classes. I took two trips to visit her there this summer, and she also came home for a week. How nice! When I was her age, I also lived and worked away from home, but I didn’t also stay and take classes, so it really was a new experience. Both weekends I was there, I had a blast, but I also had my first introduction to parenting an adult child. We moved her into her new apartment, and I helped her out with several other logistical aspects of her young adult life. It really made me realize how much time and energy I spend running other peoples’ lives. Just being away from the two little kids for the weekend left me with a feeling I wasn’t used to, and then of course, all the different ways of mothering an adult child were new experiences to me. I’ve never helped one of my kids move and decorate apartments, made a resume, or helped with the logistics involved with finding a job and living independently as an adult. She and her fellow classmates are living a lifestyle where they have almost everything provided for them, and all they have to worry about is themselves and their classes. It’s an amazing window of time on the verge of adulthood.

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My visits both made me reflect on my experiences as a twenty year old and on the kind of mother I am trying to be. I aim to be a different kind of mom than I had. I want my kids to be able to talk to me about anything going on in their lives. Kids are going to do what they want to anyway, so I would rather accept that and guide them than to hide my head in the sand and be an unapproachable parent. I would rather have open communication with my kids so I can try to help them navigate the waters of life. However, knowing what the kids are doing can also be quite stressful for moms. We worry about safety and well-being. We want our kids making safe, smart decisions that usually come from a lifetime of experience and a brain that is fully developed; two things that twenty year olds don’t possess. So we worry. Then we communicate and brainstorm solutions, so I think we are on the right track. I loved having the chances to get to know her friends and be part of her life for a few days!

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I’ve had a really rough summer with my food allergies. I got diagnosed with gluten sensitivity in May and have been off gluten three months now. But, I keep accidentally getting corn in my diet, ‘corn poisoning’ as I call it. I haven’t been diagnosed with a corn allergy, but I react and get sick every single time I have it, so I think allergy or not, I really need to completely eliminate it from my diet. This summer, it was a margarita (corn in the lemon/lime mixer), a gluten free pizza (corn in the dough) and a protein smoothie powder (xanthan gum – which is corn – used as an ingredient). Each time, I get sick for a couple of weeks, so put those three together and you can see that I’ve been feeling pretty sick all summer unfortunately. I’ve had such bad swelling and eczema that I finally saw my allergist the other day and got a steroid shot to make it all subside. When I have reactions to foods, my stomach hurts, I get joint and muscle pain, and I have a bad rash of eczema. So, it makes me really grumpy. Unfortunately, I’ve felt grumpy for a long time recently.

We did do some fun things too: we took our annual beach vacation in Destin, Florida. I’ve written about this place and the beach in general before. I love what the beach does to my soul. I wish we could live at the beach, but I’m thankful we get to take a yearly trip.

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I also went to some fun concerts. My husband and I saw Kid Rock, and my daughter (13) and I saw One Direction. Great times.

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Last week, we went to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science as a family. We bought a membership, so we can go back anytime we want to for the next year. There are also special events and other perks for members. I was fascinated by the architecture and impressed by all the interactive activities. I especially loved seeing the dinosaur bones, gems/minerals, and the human body exhibits. There were even slices of real people, one man and one woman, who had donated their bodies to science. They were embalmed, frozen, sliced and displayed in plastic with a light behind them. It was FASCINATING to say the least. We could see all the anatomical parts and compare the younger, healthier female to the older, less healthy male.

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I continued guitar lessons over the summer, and my son also started taking weekly lessons. We are learning “Carol of the Bells” to play together at Christmas. He loves the lessons and can’t wait to start rocking out! I am still working on improvising and have been working on a couple hard songs this summer: “Uncle John’s Band” by the Grateful Dead and “Over the Hills and Far Away” by Led Zeppelin.

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Watching the MTV VMAs on the last night of summer. Mine was Miley Cyrus “Can’t Stop.” “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke was my second favorite.

What was your favorite song this summer? How was your summer?

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 23 Music

This is a picture of me with my favorite musical artist, Jewel! I’ve seen her perform multiple times, but I had never met her or bought a VIP ticket until her most recent performance in May in Texas. I wrote about how I excited I was to meet her here.It was a weird experience. We went to this room with other VIP ticket holders, and the room was entirely silent. I could barely contain my excitement and didn’t understand why everybody was being so sullen and quiet. Maybe they were nervous? It was very casual. We waited there until she was ready, and then she just came in the room and we lined up to meet her. I expected a table where she would be sitting and some kind of fancy backdrop and lighting or something, but no, it was just a regular room, and she just stood there awkwardly ready to meet us. It must get so old for her. But, I knew I would only have a few moments with her, so I got in the back of the line and tried to figure out what the heck I was going to say to her. What do you say to your idol?

My husband met her right before me and told her I was her biggest fan and then gave me the rest of his time with her. I’m not sure exactly what I said, but I know I had a huge smile on my face and rambled on about how much I love her and her music, that I also play guitar and enjoy playing and singing her songs, and that I had seen her perform many times and was super excited to meet her. I laughed and said, “this MIT get so old for you.” She was very sweet and said it doesn’t get old. We posed for a couple pictures then it was someone else’s turn. That was it! Then we found our seats and enjoyed the concert. It was amazing also because we got to go up on stage and see all her guitars. What a fun experience.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

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30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 14 Joy

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My son (8) took his first guitar lesson today, and just look at the smile on his face. This is a candid shot I took during his lesson. He has been so excited to start taking lessons, and his mind is open to a whole new world of learning. I’m looking forward to his weekly lessons and the future when he and I can play guitar together. Music education is so important and helps kids be more successful in school, especially in math and science. It helps with understanding patterns and fractions, as well as many other math and science related skills.

If you are interested in guitar lessons (for yourself or your kids) check out my teacher’s website. He has a large video library and can also teach over Skype. Here is his website:

http://www.mikesguitarlessons.com

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!