Archive for ‘Laughing at Life’

October 22, 2012

Nearing The End of The Challenge: Lessons 1 & 2

This is it.  Week 8 of the 8 Weeks to a Better You! challenge is here.  I have to say, this challenge did not end up as I thought it might.

If you recall, I decided to use this challenge as a Mindful Living Journey/Practice/Challenge.  In the beginning I was spending a lot of time “in my head”.  Digging deeper, trying to figure myself out (and everything else).  I set out on my 8 week challenge on a mission to practice living mindfully.  I was very serious about this endeavor.  Too serious, in fact.  It took me a few weeks to realize this (okay, more like 7 weeks to realize this) but about a week ago, as I was busy thinking everything over, and over, and I realized I wasn’t happy.  I was miserable.  I was spending so much of my time and energy trying to be mindful, focusing on every little detail of everything I was doing, analyzing whether I was doing it mindfully and how I could be doing it better, that I found I was taking everything in life far too seriously.  I decided that I didn’t like who I was becoming.  I’m not a serious person.  I like to have fun.  I wasn’t having fun.  I’d become so serious that I couldn’t stand to be around myself.  Something needed to change.  That’s when I realized that I needed to take a step back, I’d been trying too hard, delving too deep.

It’s like this: Imagine you go to the beach to watch the sunset.  You sit down in the sand and soak up the warmth of the evening sun.  You feel the breeze gently brushing your cheeks, then you look by your feet and notice the sand, really notice the sand, and wonder, “How did I miss this?  How did I miss how soft and beautiful the sand is?”.  You continue looking ever closer at the granules of sand, thinking, “Here I am on the beach, made up of all of this beautiful sand, how did I never notice the shape of the granules?  They’re rocks, tiny rocks, miniatures of big rocks, all slightly different in shape, size and color but have the same wave-washed texture and they all work together to create such as soft surface…”  While you’re admiring the sand the sun is setting, the colors are lighting up the sky, but you don’t see it because you are so focused on the details underfoot.  By the time you lift your head, raising one granule of sand in your hand, you look up to the sky and realize you missed the sunset.

Bummer, right?  Well, I didn’t have any real missed sunsets on the beach during the challenge, but there were plenty of daily life situations that I kicked myself for going “too deep” and felt like I missed out.  So I realized that while it’s important be present, it’s equally important to keep things in perspective.  Sometimes we need to limit ourselves or we’ll miss out on what we really came for.

After a number of these sunset on the beach situations, it finally it dawned on me that perhaps I’d been taking mindful living too seriously.  I started to wonder, do you have to be serious to live mindfully?  Can’t mindful living be fun?  I started thinking of people I know who seem to have a good grasp on mindful living and started recalling whether they are/were ultra serious.  Nope. Everyone I could think of has a pleasant, peaceful, welcoming, relaxed disposition.  I grabbed my mindful living books, the authors had a sparkle in their eye and a smile on their face.  The Dalai Lama almost always has a smile on his face for crying out loud.

Hotei Buddha

Then, as I was watering some of my multitudes of plants, I saw the Buddha a friend had given to me.  He’s not a serious Buddha, he’s a happy Buddha (Hotei Buddha).  Ha, ha!  Again, proof!  It was almost as he was saying to me, “Mindfulness can be fun!  You can be happy and mindful.  Don’t take life so seriously!”  From that point forward, the focus of my mindful living journey has shifted.  Yes, I know, that was Week 7 and this is Week 8 so my shift was only a week ago.  And I realize that I only have a few days left of the Challenge, so I don’t have a lot of time left to practice this during the Challenge, but this Challenge is just the beginning of my journey.  I have the rest of my life to continue practicing.  🙂

Challenge Lesson 1: Live mindfully, but keep everything in perspective, don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.

Challenge Lesson 2: Don’t take life so seriously.  (You can be happy, have fun and live mindfully!)

By the way… if you like my Buddha as much as I do you can find him, and others, at my friend Ryan’s website:  If you stop over there, tell him I said, “Hi.”


May 25, 2012

Where are you on the jerk-o-meter?

By now most of you have probably heard the report that those of us who eat are exposed to organic food are jerks.  That’s right, a study just published online in Social Psychological and Personality Science has now proven that once exposed to organic food you will become all “judgey”.

Okay, so I mock.  As with any study, I’m sure there is truth to it in whatever capacity it was taken. But I can’t take this study seriously.   Seriously!  Part of what I find humorous about it though is how fast it spread.  Even Leno was talking about it tonight.

But I have to be honest, when I first heard this report I thought, “Organic food make you “judgey”? Ha, whatever! Oh, wait, ew… Did that sound harsh?  Was that judgey?”  Then I read the part where those who eat organic food volunteer less.   Holy smokes!  If that’s true I don’t know what to think.  I just spent the past 3 months volunteering so many hours to my son’s school I’ve literally lost count.  Just imagine what I could have done if I’d only looked at a brownie instead of looking at a picture of organic food!

By the way, did you notice the word “exposed” earlier?  Yes, the study “exposed” people to a picture or organic food versus a picture of a brownie.  Again, really?  Oh, my!  What would have happened if they had actually eaten the organic food (God forbid)?  I can’t bear to think about it!

More humor, the Abstract of the study reads:

Recent research has revealed that specific tastes can influence moral processing, with sweet tastes inducing prosocial behavior and disgusting tastes harshening moral judgments.  Do similar effects apply to different food types (comfort foods, organic foods, etc.)?

Really?  The equivalent study is sweet vs. “disgusting”?  In other words suggesting that comfort foods, like a brownie are sweet (and good) and organic food is disgusting (and bad).  Nice study!  Who wrote this?  My second grade son?  I’m sorry, but I had to laugh.  (And I had to keep checking to make sure I wasn’t reading The Onion.)

I’m sure some aren’t finding humor in this report or my comments, but I honestly have to say that if someone has the time and the money to spend on such a study to find out if looking at organic food makes people judgey then all the power to them.

In the mean time, I’m going to go eat some, shhhh…. (organic) food, then quit volunteering and go judge all my neighbors.  And watch out!  I sure hope you don’t need anything today because I’ll have already done my good deed for the day by looking at my organic food before I ate it.

However, you might get lucky.  After all,  I was thinking about a brownie while I was writing this.  Do you think that can un-do the organic apple I ate?   Nevermind.  I did see organic salad in the fridge on my way to get the apple.   Oh, and the organic milk while I was closing the door…

Yep.  You’re out of luck.  If you run into problems, definitely ask the person with chocolate brownie stuck in their teeth for help, because I’d just let you sit there and rot.


May 17, 2012

What hairstyle does your yard have?

Maybe it’s the lack of sleep that makes me think these things, but have you ever noticed that yards have hairstyles?

The other day I read something that said everyone’s yard has a style, even if you don’t know what it is, your neighbors do.  That got me thinking, okay, traditional, cottage, natural.   Okay, sure, makes sense but kind of boring and obvious, isn’t it?   Then my mind started to wander off and I realized that I don’t think that’s true.  I couldn’t put my yard in just one bucket.  Why?  Because my yard has a Mullet.  That’s when I realized yards are more than just a style, they have a hairstyle!

So think about your yard for a moment.  What kind of style does it have?  Does it have one?  And furthermore, what kind of hairstyle does it have?

Here are a few hairstyles I’ve come up with for yards.  Take a gander and see if any of them fit you?

The Mullet

If you lived through the 70s and 80s, then you remember the mullet.  Business in the front, party in the back.  The mullet was predominantly worn by men, although I do remember some women with them too.  They kept the front of their hair short and the back of their hair long.

The same goes for yards.  Take mine for example.  I try to keep the landscaping neat and clean in the front and try to keep the lawn mowed on a regular basis for curb appeal.  Although I let my personal style come through a little in my choice of plantings and bedlines, I don’t get too adventurous.  I save that…. for the back!  The back is where I let it all hang out.  That’s where I conduct most of my plant experiments and I’m not overly concerned if it’s not looking neat.  That’s also where the patio is, the veggie garden, etc.  It’s relaxed, messy at times and fun.  See?  Mullet.

The Bob

The bob has been around for decades in various forms.  Typically worn by women with straight hair it has also been modified for curly hair.  In general, it’s a very simple, neat and clean style.  The stylist needs to know what they are doing because in this style flaws are very obvious.

Yards, again, can have the bob.  Very clean and simple.  Everything has its place and there is a consistent flow of uniformly shaped plants regardless of whether you’re in the front, the back or the side.  Rarely do you see a plant out-of-place or a weed in sight.

The Hippie

Okay, technically I don’t think the hippie is the name of a hairstyle, but if I say the word “hippie” what do you envision?  I envision, glasses and long hair that hasn’t been trimmed in years. Think au naturel.

The Hippie yard… you’re catching on now aren’t you?  The Hippie yard is well, just there.  Not much in the way of maintenance, an occasional mowing of the lawn and trees and shrubs haven’t been pruned in years.  And naturally, you’ll see weeds because the owner of the hippie hairstyle would never harm a fly.

The Crew Cut

Simply put, the crew cut is short and simple.  A little on top.  Not much on the sides and back.

The Crew Cut yard?  Pretty basic.  A few basic shrubs or foundation plants in the front and nothing but lawn on the sides and in the back.


Pretty self-explanatory style is it not?

Yard?  Yes, sadly, I’ve seen this.  No plants.  None.  And lawn?  Well, I didn’t even realize mower blades could be set that low.

Well, that about wraps it up.  What do you think?  Do any of these hairstyle fit your yard? Let me know! Or if you think of a style I’ve forgotten, please share!  I’d love to hear your thoughts.


May 1, 2012

What happened to U through Z?

A, B, C, D… sing with me… E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P… Q, S, R…  T.  What?!?

Okay, we all know the alphabet doesn’t stop at T.  So what happened to U through Z? Perhaps you wonder why I lost my momentum? Maybe you don’t wonder at all.  But I’m gonna tell ya anyway.

Spring sprung in Minnesota.

For those of you who live in a warm climate you might be saying to yourself “So what?!”, but for those of us who live in the arctic tundra (although this year really didn’t count as arctic or tundra) we go into our caves (a.k.a. houses) in about October and hibernate for about six or seven months.  We peer out of our windows all winter long waiting for a sign from above telling us that it’s safe to come out.  Those signs come in the form of melting snow, buds, blossoms and birds migrating North.  Once the robins appear, we think we’re safe.  We cautiously poke our heads out of our doorways, clinching our teeth as we await one last cold blast from the North.  When the frigid wind doesn’t come, we slowly move forward, easing ourselves through the doorway, looking left and right for other signs of life.  All the while leaving one foot in the door so it doesn’t shut behind us “just in case” that last Alberta Clipper quickly whips around the corner and smacks us in the face.  However, the foot trick doesn’t always work.  That arctic blast usually causes a ricochet effect starting with our face, then rapidly moving through our bodies, snapping every, single, muscle into rigidity a Colonel would be proud of.  Unfortunately, that includes the foot, which then releases the door, allowing it to slam shut and latch behind us leaving us stranded, outside, unprepared for the hypothermic chill that is about to set in over our bodies in record time.

But we didn’t get that this year.  In fact, we didn’t even have snow to watch melt.  Instead, we just peered out the windows and waited.  We waited until about a month ago, when spring came early.  Actually, winter went right into summer, and then Mother Nature came to her senses and we went back to “normal”.  Anyway, about two weeks ago, when everyone poked their heads out of their caves they were greeted with mildness.  Actually, we were greeted with mild weather most of the winter, which is probably what caused the distrust we were having for spring.  We kept waiting for that one last nasty blast of cold, but we never got it.  Anyway, as you looked down Minnesota streets the past couple of weeks, you could see a series of heads poking out, surprised to see other heads poking out.  Then full bodies emerged.  Followed by even more bodies.  Before you knew it, people were everywhere.

Then it happened… mowers fired up, people started cleaning out gardens and planting, and then… the phone started ringing.  And I started running!  Not in the running for my health sense, but as in running to keep up sense.  And I love it.  However, spring and running, tend to leave me little time to blog, at least not much during the daylight hours.  In the spring I become more of a vampire blogger and so it will remain until, well, we all get blasted by that first arctic chill of the fall.

So what happened to the rest of the alphabet?  It’s simple really.  Spring sprung, life got busy, I got busy and although I tried my darndest, I couldn’t cram any more hours into the day, so my A-Z April Challenge ended with T.  Am I proud?  Nope.  Am I a titch frustrated with myself?  Yep.  In fact I’m really bothered by the fact that my alphabet went from A to T, and that I even managed to transpose a couple of letters in the middle due to an oversight in realizing one of them never went “live”, but because I have a couple of fun posts in the works to wrap it all up, I will complete the alphabet.  Later.

That’s right, the end of the alphabet is coming.  When you least expect it.  When you’re all nestled safely in your beds, all of a sudden there will be a U, then a V, followed by W, X, Y and finally Z.  So when you’re resting, rest well, but keep one eye open for the vampire blogger because you never know when she might strike.