Wednesday, December 23, 2009

now


now
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
been a long time since i just took a bunch of self photos.

the power of the pj

Don't underestimate
the power
of cute sleepwear.

merry chirstmas

this could have been mine

i was born one day early and have been perpetually late ever since. Thank goodness for "no turn on red" signs. Gave me enough time to snap this photo of the vehicle that has a license plate that could have been mine.

Incidentally, I was on my lunch break and did return on time that day.

buddha with a snow fro


buddha with a snow fro
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
First storm of the season. Long Island and the Buddha got blanketed.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

duke, i love you so


Driving home from work today, I had the pleasure of listening to the best version of The Nutcracker Suite EVER. Duke Ellington on the album Three Suites...phenomenal
Check it out on
HERE.

retooling the undesirables


Land sakes, I have a busy schedule! Between working full time, yoga every day and kickboxing three days a week, plus "bunny time" (at least an hour a night) and regular tasks like laundry, I feel like I am going non-stop. Exhausting? Yes. Fulfilling and enjoyable? You better believe it!

A major factor to finding joy in busy schedules is loving what you do. Most of my activities are deeply enjoyable. Physical activity that you love is amazing. Time with loved ones and animal companions, divine!

As for the less than desirable tasks, I am working on making them more enjoyable or changing them all together. Sometimes we need to take stock of the "ease-ful" and stressful in our lives and see what we have the power to change and what we can learn to stop resisting.

Time to add to my schedule: retool the undesirables.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

so full of mini rants lately


(Paraphrased with actual date error)

College radio DJ: "...and the song before that was John Lennon "God" in which he mentions the line 'I don't believe in Buddha'. Here's a conspiracy theory for you: John Lennon was shot dead in front of the Dakota on December 7 and the Buddha reached enlightenment December 8th. Coincidence?"

Excuse me, Ms. Unenlightened College DJ, Lennon was murdered on the 8th, but that error aside... Conspiracy theory? Are you f'ing kidding me??? You are a dolt. Scholars, historians and theologians debate what year Buddha was born, and you know his exact enlightenment date how??? The Buddha is not worshiped as a deity. His teachings express that he is just a man not to be worshiped, so why would it be a problem to not believe in him? Plus, do you really think that someone who taught non-violence and avoidance of suffering (including causing no harm to others) would be tied into a conspiracy murder.

Okay, I am done ranting now and am going to go meditate to let go of my annoyance with radio DJs who talk out of their asses. Ommmmmmmm...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

small victories but i'm happy about them

Two small victories:

Thursday's yoga class will be day number 365 in my 30-Day Yoga Challenge.

Wednesday of next week: yellow belt

Yeah, yeah, I know, the belt just means I attended enough classes to advance, but both of these accomplishments are huge for me considering historically I have a really bad record in "staying power." It used to be that I would go into a new endeavor all gung-ho...which would soon fizzle out as I lost interest. For whatever reason, I have found passion in both yoga and kickboxing. (Contradictory activities? Only at face value.) I have reconnected with parts of myself I had been missing for far too long through these practices and that is also why I am celebrating these "little" victories.

Yay me! (patting self on back...then realizing being humble is a good thing...opps!) Yes, I am happy.

love

We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it & leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it & nurture it.

– John Lennon

Monday, December 7, 2009

PS1


PS1
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
This place is awesome. Yes I said awesome.
Long Island City. Check it out for some art to educate the art center of your noggin.

PS1

dear mr. parking-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-road-at-night-with-your-headlights-on guy

Dear Mr. Parking-on-the-Wrong-Side-of-the-Road-at-Night-with-your-Headlights-on Guy:

While you are sitting there in the dark awaiting your friend/family/drug dealer to come out of the house, I would really appreciate it if you would be so kind as to SHUT YOUR DANG HEADLIGHTS OFF AND STOP BLINDING OTHERS!!!

Honestly, I have no problem of you breaking parking laws, I have no problem that you do this parking technique rather than inconvenience yourself, and I even have no problem that you are self-important. What I do have a problem with is that you are so clueless about the fact that you are blinding everyone driving in the opposite directions. Just SHUT THE DARN LIGHTS OFF...please.

You don't even have to strain your wrist by double clicking to get the parking lights off as well. Really, just one small click off and on small click on again when you are ready to pull off the curb. It is not difficult to do and I believe you have the capability. This simple move would take the urge away from me of smashing into your front bumper out of principle subsequently forcing some behavioral modification on you since you would not do this again after such an accident. You and I both know that voluntarily creating a new habit of shutting of your lights would be a much cheaper lesson.

Thank you and happy holidays.

Sincerely,

Melissa

going going gone


this is getting freaky
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
Some people have the ability to up and move to new states they know little about. I have done this twice myself and, despite some struggle along they way, I find such changes exhilarating. Like a mini adventures to personally uncharted territories, you can be both Lewis and Clark.

Eric the Red (right) is doing such a move in the upcoming days (moving in the winter is familiar). Luckily, we got to his going away gathering filled with laughing, reminiscing and well wishing.

This, however, has stoked the fires of desiring change. My next move will not be far, will not be to another state, but it will bring me out of the subterranean living, that is for sure.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

open letter to all the katie couric's of the world

Dear Media:

Please stop beating stories to death, especially when the are inconsequential to most people in the world. I am tired of hearing, over and over again, about celebrity indiscretions, or about the tree the fell due to wind that did minimal damage and did not affect anyone or thing other than the tree. We, the viewing public, get it: people may or may not cheat on their spouses and strong wind can knock trees down. No need to repeat ad nauseum.

Instead, tell us about vital news stories that affect us and the world, repeat some positive uplifting happenings on human experiences, and stop answering your questions within the question of interviews.

Much thanks,

Melissa

Sunday, November 22, 2009

kicking and bending and a lack of turkey (for me, at least)

Six weeks of kickboxing has lead to an additional six month commitment.

December tenth marks my daily yoga practice turning one.

Both of these endeavors have benefited me in many ways. I am reveling in the stoking of motivation. I always feel alive when I am working towards goals.

These activities are helping me focus my mind, keep grounded and grow healthier physically and, most importantly, mentally. They are helping me reconnect with my athletic side. They are the source of fuel for me. I am grateful to have integrated these life changing activities.

Despite these practices, I have been finding myself lately feeling agitated and sometimes down right angry when I sit down to write. There is something underneath that is upsetting me and I am apparently not ready to face whatever it is. I have awareness of the sources of stress in my life, and I know one of these in particular is linked to this agitation, but that is something I do not wish to air here. (Perhaps I will write about it on finding maitri over the next few days. We will see.)

Thanksgiving was a blessing. Family and loved ones, comforting home cooked meals and laughter filled the day. I even made a pumpkin risotto that came out pretty tasty (Why I experiment with new recipes on my family during holidays, I have no idea. Maybe I'm a rebel risk-taking chef...or my family are daring taste testers? Cooking something myself also guarantees something vegetarian for me to eat, too.) I enjoy cooking new meals and I find joy in sharing with others. Thanksgiving gave me an extended weekend break from work which was well needed. I even got a chance to wrap up the weekend with a lovely trail hike in beautiful weather. Life is grand! See? Even when I am agitated, I am blessed to be able to still find joy.

Hope life is happy and joyful, and your agitation is minimal for you all!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

inequity

Odd how good news for the masses can mean more work for one.

mood = annoyed

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

(deep breath)

addendum to yesterday's post:

Glad I had the reminder earlier in the day to remember the quiet moments. Turned out that there was much chaos at work; people were in serious crisis, including two that required police involvement. Many were in increased need and within it all, I remembered to breathe.

In another synchronicity, I found my "om" ring that was lost months ago. Yesterday morning, it was sitting there, glistening in the sun six inches off the edge of the driveway. Quite an anchor for me.

See? The Universe provides when it is needed most.

Monday, November 16, 2009

quiet moments

I realize today that I have not been taking as much time lately to enjoy the quiet moments. Life is so full with friends and family and activity (which is truly a blessing) but I also must remember that there are those pauses between breaths. Before the inhale becomes and exhale there is a pause, nearly imperceptible but it is there. This is a constantly available reminder to enjoy those moments. Those moments where nothing needs to occur but simply exist.

Why not take one of those moments for yourself right now?

walnuts

The enjoyment of walnuts
in their little, unassuming shells
waiting to be cracked open
revealing the intricately convoluted flesh
simple pleasure

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

writer's block? more like writer not sitting down at the computer enough!

I realize my posts go through phases. Lately that phase is: I would rather be doing other things then sitting at the computer. Then it happens, I sit down and just start writing and it feels oh so good! I do not know why; I am not a writer by trade nor a writer at heart, but I like expressing and connecting with people in various forums (including online).

What have I been doing with my time not spent on the computer? Keeping very, very busy. Between work, my daily yoga practice, three days a week of Thai kickboxing, spending time with Groovy and Sherman, and visiting family and friends, I barely have time to sit in this wooden chair.

This is a good thing! I have been living life. Perhaps it's time to carve out a moment each day to writer about life?

The updates:

Kickboxing is kicking my butt into shape rapidly.

Eating is getting healthier and healthier.

My 30 Day Yoga Challenge is at day 321.

I have reconfirmed the fact that I am week at event planning.

I have also reconfirmed that my least favorite chore is hand washing the dishes.

I finally found a new pair of eyeglass frames and am seriously thinking about going back for the second pair that I dig.

Sherman is going through a serious shedding phase.

I need to repair or replace a slow leaking tire on my car.

I stand taller than I used to.

I am a true athlete again. (I have missed you, Athletic Melissa of Yesteryear! Welcome back.)

I have embraced my beauty again. (Another serious "welcome back.")

I visited PS1 (MoMA) in Queens with Groovy and a friend visiting from Wisconsin. Great space!

I took a personal day last Friday and ventured into the City with my father to go to the Photo Expo at the Javits Center, with a stop off at B&H. All I can say is "Holy Crap!" Great day.

I stand taller than I used to.

Last but not least, I got myself to sit down and write this post! See you soon!

Monday, October 12, 2009

full up

As of late, life has been full

full of friends
and loved ones

full of yoga
and kickboxing

full of bunny
and bunny fur tumbleweeds

full of joy
and joyful moments strung together like fairy lights

full of ambitions
and ambitious endeavors

full of hope
and pleasant celebrations

full of local apples
and juicy enjoyment

yes, indeed, I am full up with life!

love this and love that my love has great taste in music



Ray LaMontagne
Trouble

Thursday, October 8, 2009

good ass or good icing?


Standing on line at a local Walbaums (food store...opps, grocery store*), I read with a chuckle the dichotomy of articles in a popular magazine.

Main article title loosely paraphrased: "Lose Weight Fast with this Miracle Plan"

article just at the bottom left corner: "Delicious and Decadent Cupcake Recipes"

Now which article do you think more people are going to follow the directions of?

*When I lived in Colorado and Rhode Island, people reacted oddly when I called them "food stores"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

today i am

I am blessed and stressed and surviving and thriving!
Life: the ultimate dichotomy.

Oh wait, there is only oneness. Okay, never mind.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

shamless self promotion


Hello loyal readers and newbies alike. I am trying to find the spark to post more here and on my second blog.

What is this other blog, you ask? It is titled Finding Maitri. Maitri, or metta, means lovingkindness. It is a forum where I am documenting my journey of find lovingkindness towards myself; my struggles and self discovery. Though I am mostly open and honest in this blog, I am allowing Finding Maitri to evolve into a documentation of my personal journey where I am allowing myself be more vulnerable and open about my struggles and growth, my pains and discoveries, and my fears and joys.

Finding Maitri is by invite only, however, I am opening it up to anyone whom I know personally, those that I trust and/or have already developed online friendships with, and those of you that I can verify who you are (If I do not know you, as long you can give me some evidence that you are and I am comfortable with it, I'll grant you access.

Let me know if you want me to send you an invite (most of you know multiple ways of getting in touch with me). I just need your email address to send you an invite. Thanks to those of you who have already read Finding Maitri.

spare some change?

In four months, my one savings account has made a whopping 86 cents in interest! Two dollars sixty-six cents the past twelve months. Whew! At this rate, I can retire in forty-seven lifetimes. Then I will finally be able to "stick it to the man!"

one of the reasons that i love my friends

Jeffery Hyde Thompson

This is a bit of his silliness, but he is quite a talented musician and a really great human, to boot. After enjoying this, check out his serious work. It is well worth it: Jeffery Hyde Thompson

Friday, September 25, 2009

8 out of 9

  • Rest, Rest, Rest CHECK
  • Eating lots of garlic and turmeric (anti viral/bacterial, anti inflammatory) and getting in some protein despite the lack of appetite CHECK
  • Echinacea and extra vitamin C on top of my regular vitamins CHECK
  • Drinking lots of water and decaf teas CHECK
  • Watering the wilty flowers and sitting outside in the fresh air for a spell (hope the neighbors do not mind my unkempt appearance) CHECK
  • Taking some time to do some reading
  • Watch some really bad television CHECK
  • Do something creative CHECK
  • Engage in some gentle yoga CHECK
Eight out of nine ain't bad! It seems to have done the trick.
Off to work I go!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

sick day? more like sucky day

So here I am, home from work. I think I was fighting a bug since last week, but did not start feeling off until this week. I have had a few random intermittent hours of sniffles (not too bad), swollen glands, tiredness and a temperature. Tuesday, I noticed a lot of mind-fog/spaciness (insert "so that's different than normal how?" joke here) happening and Wednesday this worsened. Normally, I will just push myself through feeling blah, but I got home last night and realized that if I do not rest up, this is going to get worse. There was a moment of hesitation in my mind thinking of my clients whom I had scheduled appointments with but I realize that none are in imminent crisis and sharing my germs with them and my coworkers would not be an act of kindness (my office is of meager size and there is NO air circulation).

Now here is the annoyance of staying home: being pent up in a basement apartment is not exactly a healing environment. Grrrr! I will do my best despite this.

Dr. Schnookleheimer's Feel Better Plan:

  • Rest, Rest, Rest
  • Eating lots of garlic and turmeric (anti viral/bacterial, anti inflammatory) and getting in some protein despite the lack of appetite
  • Echinacea and extra vitamin C on top of my regular vitamins
  • Drinking lots of water and decaf teas
  • Watering the wilty flowers and sitting outside in the fresh air for a spell (hope the neighbors do not mind my unkempt appearance)
  • Taking some time to do some reading
  • Watch some really bad television
  • Do something creative
  • Engage in some gentle yoga
Hopefully all of this will do the trick. If not, does vegetarian "chicken" soup work too?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

now i know my abc's

do you know the feeling?

Do you know the feeling when there is change in the air and you have a longing for something new, exciting and different, but you just can't put your finger on what that new thing is?

I am so at that point right now.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

ladybug picnic


ladybug picnic
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
Holy-moly, This ladybug was gigundo!
And fast as can be!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

*gulp* no! not rabbits!!!!


gulp
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
I stumbled on this quite by accident while making a round about u-turn. Right in the heart of suburban Long Island, just off the expressway, is a source for fresh killed meat. Though I am vegetarian, I would rather see people get their meat from a local source where the animals get to actually live until they are ready for consumption. I would think that there would be less of a chance of the meat going to waste compared to mass produced slaughterhouse product that is frozen for lengths of time, but this is just a guess. I also think that someone buying local like this would be more apt to buy only what they need and, since it is fresh, consume it soon after purchase. Again, another guess.

I know, some people will be up in arms about this post and call me a hypocrite. Go for it. I do believe in kindness towards all creatures, but I also respect people for their own food choices (and I have been known to swat a mosquito on occasion...okay, many occasions). We are mammals and many mammals eat other creatures for sustenance. Again, those upset would argue that we do not HAVE to eat this way. True, but people can choose to and that is fine by me. My hope is that everyone takes a moment to appreciate all the food they eat and what sacrifice people and/or animals have made to bring it to their plates. Live consciously.

Just my three cents (inflation).

Bring it on Peta, bring it on!

Monday, September 14, 2009

life indeed is good

Kids running around terrorizing the bunny
with laughter and spunk
The bunny responding in sprinting glee
Spit up running down my arm
My best guy and best friend chilling

I take a breathe
and am reminded
that life, indeed, is good.

retooling

It feels like I am in a constant retooling of my perspective and expectations, and this is a good thing. Life, the world and the Universe is in constant motion. If we stubbornly keep the same mindset, it may not apply to the new form of things. I have retooled things big and small.

I have retooled my career goals a few times. As a child, I wanted to become a doctor. I was inspired by the kindness of my own pediatrician who always had a little koala holding onto her stethoscope; an animal I adored as a child (The koala may or may not have swayed my earliest career goals). Come junior high and high school, my desire shifted towards art. I had planned on attending community college to complete basic courses at a better dollar value. (I was blessed to have parents that funded my entire undergrad education and I did not want to overtax their wallet...Sorry, mom and dad, about choosing a private college for junior and senior years, but it was a great school and I made sure I worked hard at earning good grades because of that.) Within the first week of college, I changed my major to Deaf Studies and interpreting. Career choice three: sign language interpreter. During the course of my Deaf Studies degree, a Deaf professor mentioned that the Deaf flock to psychologists that can sign since they would not have to have a third person (the interpreter) in the room while discussing their personal stories. The seed was planted and I studied psychology for my BA. After working as an interpreter for about six years, I began feeling like a paid parrot and started working over the next six years at various jobs. AIDS education, public relations, physical therapy aid, equity theatre ticket sales, science educator and office management, though not careers, became part of my resume. I had to retool my approach to work for each and every one of them. All of this non-career work prompted me to refocus on career. Back to school I went to earn my MA in Counseling Psychology. Now I am retooling my focus on the next career goal: private practice and the eventual return to school.

I have retooled my idea of where I wish to take up residence. After leaving New York to pursue my MA and life in Colorado, I had planned to end up in or around Oregon. As life and relationships changed, the plan became returning to the East Coast, close enough to Long Island, but NOT Long Island. We landed in Rhode Island, which is a great little state to reside in but the economy started to tank there before the rest of the country. Groovy had plans on returning to school so our thoughts were retooled to residing again on LI for a few years. As wonderful as it is to be near family and friends, it does not feel like the right place for me long term. Having experience the mountains while being too far from loved ones and being close to loved ones but too far from any mountains (yes, Bald Hill certainly does not count), my thoughts have been retooled towards upstate: closer to mountains but not too far from loved ones. This feels like an appropriate retooling.

We have retooled the apartment in which we currently live (a few times). Most recently, the dining area of the kitchen (which we had rarely used for dining) has morphed into an art, bunny, reading nook. The space is again being used.

I have retooled my approach towards fitness and eating. Fitness was about competition in sports alone, not about what is best for my body and mind. Food was strictly about what I wanted. Yoga has become a daily necessity since beginning my challenge. It does not matter if I get it in at midnight, my day is not complete without my practice. After experiencing a month of raw foods, and realizing that one hundred percent raw is too much for me to sustain, incorporating a higher percentage of raw foods is doable. I am now trying to retool my approach food as nutrition. When I allow a food for pleasure, I will enjoy it at such in order to feel satisfied. All of this is different from my approach of the past.

Each view and approach that I retool is not set in stone, for the World and I will continue changing. It is all part of the adventure that is life.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

lewd midgets?


Yes, someone found my blog via Google searching "lewd midgets." Brilliant!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

calm begets calm

Life does not need to be as complex and stressful as people, organizations and government makes it, but often it is. Since chaos tends to beget chaos, carrying a sense of calm can defuse the some of chaos that may surround us and make daily living full of ease. The more people take this approach, the more the chaos in the world will dissipate.

In my life, chaos mostly surrounds me at work. Sometimes it is a single client that is immersed and emitting erratic energy and behaviors, sometimes it is the inherent manic energy of the mental health system and sometimes it is an internal struggle that is riling up the waters of the soul. There are times when all of these and more happen concurrently.

How do I deal with this? For me, it's a combination of rational thoughts, keeping myself grounded, surrounding myself with supportive, loving people, setting solid boundaries between work and life, and having a daily yoga practice. There are times when some of these get off-kilter. I can feel this immediately and know I need to consciously get them back in check.

I often wonder if being submerged in chaos will eventually take it's toll on me. This makes me ponder how to make work itself more calm and also makes me think about future career goals. One thing I am sure of is having a private practice in a model that works for me; one which is calming for my clients and myself.

I am excited about what the future holds on so many levels.. My hope is to continue facing it all with as much calm as I can embody. Om shanti.

Monday, September 7, 2009

the gods give me a thumbs up


dear money god and/or gods,

please provide me
and my family
with a huge windfall of money

i promise to do right with it

i will pay off my debt
give a better life to me and my family
and give back to humanity
more than i am capable to
at the moment

i (and my bank account) eagerly await your reply
thank you

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

liar, liar pants on fire

Yesterday, I had the elderly father of a client yell at me in the waiting room that I am a liar*. Deep yogic breath kept me calm. This was over his confusion about the son's appointment time. They had the incorrect day. I always give clients a written appointment card and the father had confirmed the appointment with me the week before. I even had him repeat the appointment back to me to make sure he got it right. Regardless, I apologized for any miscommunication and asked if he would like to reschedule. He angrily replied that "all of you social workers are the same!" Ha! The knowledge that I am an MHC and not a SW gave me an internal chuckle, which also helped me stay level and calm.

I am sure my supervisor will be getting a phone call soon. Ah well, it is all part of the job and I can keep good humor about it. At least there is rarely a dull moment.


*People who know me, know that honesty is a quality of mine.

lose some blood, people

For someone who is not a fan of any form of medical settings (including the veterinarian's office) and for someone who donated for the first time in his life in July, guess who pointed out that it is almost time to donate whole blood again?

Groovy, I'm impressed!

Looks like this weekend includes giving blood. Yeah!

Monday, August 31, 2009

blogs i loosely follow

I did a quick and incomplete update to the "blogs i follow" list in the side bar. I know there are one or two that I need to delete due to bloggers shutting down their blogs, but I do not want to do this without confirming that these are permanent closures. Happy reading, folks!

me in my office


me in my office
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
So here I am at work. No clients at the time, but lots and lots of paperwork. I figure I have about seven months to finish up my 3,000 supervised hours and then I will have my full license. This seems so far away yet so close. Seven months seems to be a good time frame for planning a private practice. Not only will a private practice provide additional income, but it will also give me the opportunity to practice in the mental health field in a capacity that would feed my soul while helping others.

Working in an outpatient clinic, like I do now, is a non-stop onslaught of busyness. There is a never ending source of new clients that need services. Unfortunately, many clinics and programs have closed due to cutbacks making the remaining ones are inundated on a daily basis. The population appears to be getting sicker and sicker as well. I do not fully understand how the whole mental health system works, but I wonder if it is designed as efficiently as possible. My guess would be no, it is not. Perhaps it worked years ago, but the design may not have evolved along with the needs of clients. Sometimes I wish I studied sociology to get a broader view of the needs of today's society in order to serve the population better as a whole. We as therapists may not be able to change the system in it's entirety, but we can choose to respond to it differently. Perhaps approaching the chaos with our own calm with play at least a small role in stabilizing the system.

In starting a private practice in the model that I am planning, it will be a good balance to the busyness of clinic work. I cannot wait until "my office" will truly mean MY office. Until that time, I will continue using prana in facing down the clinic chaos.

Happy mental health to you!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

natural flavor with other natural flavors

Because nothing goes better with natural flavor than OTHER natural flavors. Go Nabisco and your kooky package designers!

rabbits rabbits everywhere!


painters rabbit IV
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
The other night at yoga class, I had my mat set up near an exit door that has glass panes top to bottom. While in a seated twist position I peered out to the lawn outside and there was a little rabbit munching away at the grass. He then sat himself down and watched the rest of yoga class.

Such things bring me joy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

i don't wanna, i don't think so

Sometimes songs pop into my head that I have not heard in years. This is what is in it now, Sonic Youth's Kool Thing. Brings back memories from the past. Good ones with good people. A past era in my life. It is nice to reminisce, but I am glad to be in the present.


When you're a star, I know you'll fix everything.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

now to see which neighbor smokes parliment

This is our front garden, with the lovely flowers. I suppose the neighbors thought is was an ashtray, too. How annoying. It's bad enough we get some downwind smoke when we're sitting outside enjoying our garden, but too find butts in the garden...bleh!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

joy, joy, dancing joy!

being okay with the power of intention


I believe that we need to put intentions out to the world in order for us to reach our goals and get what we want. We need to have our eyes set on achieving what we want in order to know the path we need to take in order to get there. Whether it is for personal growth or something as tangible as buying a house, the focus needs to exist, be clear and be focused. A powerful adjunct to basic and concrete goal setting is putting our intentions out there. If there is a goal we want but there is no intention behind it,we will never achieve it unless, or course, you have amazing luck.

I find personal growth goals easy to put intention behind. This intention feels extremely accessible . However, I have difficulty putting my desires out to the Universe for the tangible things I desire. Is it a selfish act? Is being occasionally selfish permissible? Will there be a negative backlash if obtaining the desired thing? Is desire for the tangible a bad thing? Am I deserving? Should I be focusing my energy into more "important" things?

In reviewing these questions, I find myself responding in my head:

Is it a selfish act?
Often, but what difference does it make as long as you are not causing harm to others in the process.

Is being occasionally selfish permissible?
Of course it is. We are human and deserve to put ourselves first at times. I encourage clients to give themselves permission to be selfish since many of them are always putting others first, especially those that are mothers. Those that put others first all the time, neglect themselves so much that they get to the point of not being able to provide for others because they are so depleted.

Will there be a negative backlash if obtaining the desired thing?
Backlash? From what? The world does not work in a "tit for tat" kind of way. If we receive something that we wanted, the good that we receive from it can very easily be "paid forward," right? Of course, we might create a backlash if we gloat about things and rub it in other peoples' faces, but that is another issue.

Is desire for the tangible a bad thing?
Who is the judge of good or bad? If you get so attached to the desire for the tangible, this can lead to negative responses...remember the whole "love of money..." thing? However, our chosen reality is that a certain level of tangible items make our lives more comfortable. Some tangible items, such as shelter, are necessary for survival, some strictly for greater enjoyment of life but to judge the latter of the two as "bad" is a judgment.

Am I deserving?
I am human and I live my life with as much kindness as possible, and do not wish to cause harm to others. So I would say, yes, I am deserving of putting my intentions out to the Universe for the things that I would like.

Should I be focusing my energy into more "important" things?
I can focus concurrently. As long as I do not lose focus on the important, then it is all good. The things that I want may also put me into a better position to do more for others. That is important.


You know, going through this thought process, I am feeling better about setting my intentions towards tangible goals. Thanks for reading. Now, about that house I want to buy......

Sunday, August 16, 2009

beyond fertile years


beyond fertile years
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
...but not beyond voicing her opinion of what you should do with your uterus.

do you ever...

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like there is a raging fire inside of you that is just waiting to burst out from the center of your soul to fill the World with creative expressions of joy?

Yeah, me too.

Monday, August 10, 2009

the karaoke cure

Lately, there have been many thoughts running through my mind but none of them wanted to come out in a blog post. However, one thing that is begging attention today is reconnecting with my uninhibited, outgoing self. (Oh, I have missed you so!)

Throughout much of my life, I walked with the confidence as a sure kid/teen/woman, easily talking to people I did not know, engaging in activities that garnered attention and freely expressing myself artistically and intellectually without pause. This has always brought joy and excitement to my soul. I approached tasks and endeavors with vim and passion. Challenging tasks were like crack to me.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the line I ventured away from this vital part of me. Fortunately, I reignited the pilot light this past weekend. How? Oddly enough: karaoke. Before singing, my inner dialogue went something like this:

"Okay, Melissa, look at the song list and maybe feigning interest will make you blend in and go unnoticed that you don't actually get up and sing."

"Unnoticed??!! You'll look so interested that someone is going to make you get up! What are you so afraid of? You used to do theatre, remember?"

"Of course I remember! The memories intact, it's just the stage freight that we never had back then has accumulated and is rearing it's ugly head now."

"Wimp! Even if you totally suck, it's more about having fun. You do remember fun, right?"

"Alright, screw it. I'm going in. **insert semi-palatable belted out karaoke song here** Hey, that wasn't so bad! It was (dare I say?) exhilarating!"

"See? You really have to stop being such a wallflower, because face it, deep down you are a loud, boisterous, life-filled beam of light! Let it shine, sister, let it shine!"

--end of internal dialogue--

This three minutes of unbridled karaoke crooning got me to thinking about how to truly delve back into the authenticity of myself.

Today I vow to simply be me.
Today I conquer self-created fear.
Today I nourish the self emotionally, artistically and with utter self-kindness.
Today,
I sing!



Wednesday, August 5, 2009

yay

I passed my professional license exam today.
Finally I can exhale.
One more step to complete
before I get my full license.
Just need to finish my 3000 hours
of supervised work
in NY since none of my hours
from Colorado and Rhode Island count.

c'est la vie

wow

I am always fascinated by movement of the human body. This is an enthralling performance. Please take the time to watch it start to finish. I doubt you will be disappointed.

Pilobolus perform "Symbiosis"

from Ted.com

Monday, August 3, 2009

procrastinating

...but only because I am entertained by the Universe. Just hysterical! I won't go into it right now (because it will only add to my procrastination). Instead, I am going to head over to the public library of my childhood...which looks nothing like it did back then, it's simply an amazing library with a coffee shop and gallery space in it..and I am going to do some practice tests for my professional license test that I am taking this Wednesday. (Wednesday at 1:30 EST, send some supportive, you'll-pass-the-test-on-your-first-try positive energy my way, please.) I need to go to the library because there will hopefully be less distractions for me...hopefully. Except maybe the coffee shop, art display, and all those books! Arg! Must focus!

Later, my lovelies!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

and now for something completely different

Jaan Pehechaan Ho

happy birthday


groovy's hands
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
to my sweet love.

as things go to seed

As the parsley and cilantro start going to seed, change is in the air. (So is the humidity, but that's another story. A horror story for us curly girls.)

I tweaked my work schedule to a more conducive pattern where exhaustion shall decrease. Groovy changed his age (Happy Birthday, Sweetie). My perspective and view of the World is changing daily.

Change is something in which I have always found joy. Stagnation dulls my mind, but change is refreshing.

Those parsley and cilantro seeds are embedding themselves into Mother Earth to begin next years harvest. The seeds of though plant deep in my mind. What change is coming next? What adventure is pending? What newness will spark flames of joy?

I will sit with the anticipation.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

alec's first gig



My nephew, Alec, makes his debut. Click the image for the actual commercial.

Monday, July 20, 2009

weekend fun


lawn chairs
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
We went to Bethel Woods and saw the Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and John Melloncamp concert this weekend.

Amazing!

Friday, July 17, 2009

flo's moment of zen

My Austrian grad school friend Flo, now living in Japan with his lovely wife Kyoko, shared this little moment of Zen. And now I share it with you for your amusement:

Flo: "I just don't understand why there are no dishwashers in Japan."

Father in law: "We have junken (rock-paper-scissor)...so there is always a dishwasher!"

And there you have it!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

google search

New search that brought someone to my blog:

"chaos fuels me"

This tickles my chaotic funny bone.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

i love being the newbie

"Gotta take the first step"

I love trying new things. There is something about the energy that gets sparked in my soul and keeps life from getting stagnant that makes me want to seek out the next thing in which I can be a newbie. I like to keep a list of things to try. In general, this list is quite long. The time has come once again to create and examine my options.

Some previous goals can be revisited:

Taking a new art class
Training for a 10K (this time not concurrent with writing a thesis)
Taking violin lessons
Relearning Yang style short form tai chi
Getting back out on both the skateboard and inline skates to learn new tricks

Some new things to try:
Learning wood working/furniture building
Learning a new form of martial arts
Writing an academic journal article
Trying rock climbing
Learning how to fly on a trapeze (there's a local school. for real)
Learning some BMX tricks

Some goals are minor:
Learning recipes that use coconut oil (yum!)
Adding weekly weight training to my fitness regime
Getting to bed an hour earlier on most nights

Some goals are lofty:
Get my PhD
Restore a car myself

This list is not all inclusive and I am always open to suggestions. Please leave a comment with some ideas, no matter how minor, offbeat, practical or outlandish. What new things have you tried?

Monday, July 13, 2009

inxs...is just the right amount

Monday morning music.
I love the way music affects the mood.
It can conjure feelings of nostalgia, joy, sadness, pure energy, etc. For me, listening to bands from my youth and beyond always makes me happy, even if the song is gut-wrenchingly depressing.








Saturday, July 11, 2009

blood bummer


First time ever I was rejected from donating blood. My darn blood iron was 0.2 below the allowed level. Time to eat lots of lentils and spinach and try again in a few days. On a good note, Groovy donated for the first time! I'm so proud of him.

Friday, July 10, 2009

one-third life crisis

I think I am having a one-third life crisis.

Lately, I have been obsessing over changing my hair color (okay, I've been doing this since 16 years old, but, whatever), working a job strictly for a kick-ass salary so I can live a lavish life, getting tattoos, getting a boob job and buying a motorcycle.

Or perhaps it is just the food coloring in the Italian ices affecting my noggin.

i always kind of thought...

...Micheal Jackson was recreating himself as a Gelfling.

Just a thought. I'm just saying.

dictionary.com...

...had the name of my car today:

Word of the Day for Thursday, July 9, 2009

fervid \FUR-vid\, adjective:

1. Heated or vehement in spirit, enthusiasm, etc.
2. Burning; glowing; intensely hot.



Tuesday, July 7, 2009

frightening

I was just considering... ...watching Jerry Springer in order to NOT hear about Michael Jackson.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

casualty of teen boredom

It's probably been about twenty years since my parents' mailbox became a victim of teen boredom.

Their luck ran out.

Senseless violence, innocent victim.

too good not to share


From The Writer's Almanac, July 5, 2009:

It was on this day in 1937 that SPAM came onto the market. The canned meat product from Hormel Foods Corporation was given its name by a contest winner; the prize for his ingenuity was $100. On one occasion, a Hormel spokesperson said the name was short for "Shoulder of Pork and Ham"; on another, a company official said it was a conflation of the words "spice and ham." All sorts of parodic acronyms have circulated over the years, including "Something Posing As Meat." The original recipe, still sold as the "Classic" flavor, contains pork shoulder and ham meat, salt, water, sugar, and sodium nitrate. There's a gelatinous glaze on top, which forms like that after the broth cools down.

Spam sold in the Americas is mostly produced in Austin, Minnesota — "Spam Town USA" and home of the SPAM museum. Hawaii's residents consume more Spam per capita than the residents of any other state, and the canned meat has been nicknamed "The Hawaiian Steak." Spam is the main course in the Israeli Defense Force's combat meal kits, but the pork is replaced by beef so that it's kosher.

There's a Monty Python sketch that came out in 1970 where the actors go into a café and try to order breakfast, but almost everything on the menu contains Spam. One woman doesn't want Spam in her breakfast and gets into an argument with the waitress, who tells her that the menu consists of "Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, baked beans, Spam, Spam, Spam, and Spam." It's from this Monty Python sketch that "spam" acquired the use so familiar today: unwanted or unsolicited e-mail. The first recorded use of the word in this way is in 1993. It's also become a verb in the English language, for the action of sending out spam.

And the word "spam" itself, untranslated, is now a noun in French, Portuguese, and Vietnamese. The verb "to spam" in German is "spammen"; in Czech the verb is "spamovat"; and in Italian it's "spammare." There's a new Monty Python's musical, SPAMALOT, currently playing in San Francisco.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

bye bye aphid and fly

The ladybugs did their jobs, devoured the devourers. No longer are the aphids sucking the life out of the chrysanthemums and the white flies are no longer flying. Unfortunately, the ladybugs seemed to have moved on with the (now) lack of food. I cannot believe how quickly they did the work. They must not be union labor!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

12

This weekend consisted of a sick Groovy and my own doctor appointment. On a positive note, the white flies and aphids will now be a feast, for I picked up a bag of ladybugs and we set them free at dusk!



Groovy is getting over his icky-sickies, but more tests for me. I am feeling positive, though.

Friday, June 26, 2009

eudemonic

This term should be used more often.

eu⋅de⋅mon⋅ic

from www.dictionary.com

–adjective

1. pertaining or conducive to happiness.
2. pertaining to eudemonics or eudemonism.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"i am not eating that unhealthy tidbit...."

"...but I'll feed it to my family."


Oh this annoys me to no end. So often I hear adults on personal weight loss journeys talk about the junk foods that that are rebuking in their quest for better health. This is wonderful, but unfortunately this is often followed by, "My kids will eat it." It upsets me that people would be so concerned with their own weight and health, but find it perfectly acceptable for their children to eat unhealthy stuff in their own houses. Do not get me wrong, I understand that kids will often buy and consume unhealthy items when at school or when hanging out with their friends, but their deep seated habits are formed at home.

Though I have had my struggles with food and healthy choices. I am grateful that my family of origin made healthier foods and behaviors a staple in our house. I was always the kid with whole wheat bread for my jelly and banana sandwiches and skim milk was introduced early on. Going to fast food restaurants was a rare event. To this day, I could not imagine buying white bread (even "enriched" - what a joke) and gag at the thought of whole milk. Today, the only thing that I choose to put cow's milk in is coffee. My whole grain cereal gets nice cold rice milk.

My parents have been into fitness for as long as I remember. Jogging, yoga, weight training and sports were a given in my household. My brother and I were encouraged to go play outside and run around on any (and every) nice day...and we did and we loved it! We now have so many fun and fond memories thanks to this.

Our parents' positive influence is helping us well into our adult years. My brother, who is a few years older than me, still plays ice hockey and softball (on multiple leagues, no less) and I have reignited my inner yogini and fitness nut. I shop for whole foods and find joy in healthy eating now. All of these healthy habits were established and reinforced in the family. Heck, my father still weight lifts and plays golf, mom hits her weekly yoga class and walks most days.

I thank the Universe every day for the family I have. Hey, Universe! Thank you for giving me parents that were not "health hypocrites."

image from health in motion

Monday, June 22, 2009

art, music, movement

I find deep inspiration in experiencing (viewing, watching, hearing) passionate creative individuals demonstrating their crafts. Every time I hear musicians' melodies in my ears, watch the strength and fluidity of bodies in motion or view artists' creations my heart swells and my soul dances.

I believe we all have a musician, dancer and artist inside of us. Mine get sparked by viewing others who embody these parts fully in themselves. Recently I have been pondering what would happen if I begin to tap into each of these parts in myself. Will they work in harmony? Will they compete for attention? Will they create a fuller me? Will they distract from each other? Will each one enhance the others or be their cheering section? Will stimulating all of these parts in me create such joy that I burst?

The time feels right to explore the possibilities and answer these questions and more.

Now this is maitri.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

s.o.s. (search of snapshots)


In my "unique organizational style" I have completely misplaced my camera battery charger. I even recall telling myself, "I am putting the charger here, so it does not get lost." Unfortunately, I cannot recall where "here" is located.

I wonder how much a personal organizer costs since my "system" is apparently not working. Any volunteers?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

a little late...

I never did follow up on my "i said yes" post so here it is. Groovy completely surprised me and proposed to me on Christmas. The silver band he presented with a "will you marry me? circle yes or no" note were pure perfection. Very apropos, not only because we share moments of silliness together, but also because we first met during our high school years. (Not that we went to the same school, so there would have been no note passing between us but just the symbolism.) The silver band, which I now wear on my right hand was the perfect placeholder until we went out and found the perfect ring together. It truly was a surprise considering I had all but given up on the idea of marriage, or at least I was trying to convince myself of that.

Now we are planning a simple, yet personal wedding. Thus far a tentative guest list is made, a vague date is set, the wedding favor is possibly decided on, a hiking honeymoon idea is a potential plan and I am finally getting past my wedding planning panic attacks. Luckily, I'm not a bridy-bride. I really want to keep it simple. Honestly, the most important thing is becoming Mrs. Groovy. That will be my name, right? ;)

Monday, June 15, 2009

bug on my finger


bug on my finger
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
oh bug off!

as the garden blooms, so do i

I have this amazing sense of joy permeating my life.

I am growing and changing daily, and peace is the reward. Life and work entail a lot of stress, but I have learned to approach it with new eyes. Even though I have experienced a lot of exhaustion the past couple of weeks, I feel wonderful deep down.

This past week, I crossed over the half-year mark on my daily yoga practice. Holy shhh....shanti! This practice is truly integral to my journey. This has become part of me.

A couple of days ago, we added the addition of some lovely pink/salmon impatiens. I find myself drawn to the salmon and green colors in the garden. They are inspiring.

I want to paint.

Joy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

good thing i'm dragging my butt...

...because, with the slow but sure caffeine withdrawal, I don't have the energy to beat up the people that I am finding more irritating due to said caffeine withdrawal.

I am on day three of only one cup...ONE CUP!!!! Me!?!? Driving past a Starbucks yesterday, I longingly stared out the window...non-fat hazelnut latte', I miss thee so! Already? Of course! We truly want that which we cannot have! HA!

As I sit here sipping my first and only cup o' joe of the day, I am grateful of the fact that I have not suffered the dreaded withdrawal headache. I will be giving myself some time at one cup before I cut down more. Perhaps, this week was not the ideal week for the cutback due to being extra tired and stressed at work already, but I feel it is time and I am as ready as I am going to be. I truly hope that my natural energy level will improve with no stimulant dependence and I look forward to experiencing the outcome of this "experiment."

You will know I have truly changed, when I can get myself to order a...what are those things called? Um... Oh yeah! D-e-c-a-f *GASP LOUDLY*

And now, for your viewing pleasure...

I know I'M working for the weekend!
Cheers,
Melissa

Thursday, June 11, 2009

how apropos

After yesterday's post, Newsday had this article:

newsday.com/news/health/ny-hs-caffeine0611,0,1180742.story

Newsday.com

Kick the caffeine habit and kick up your energy level

NATURALLY SAVVY.COM

By Caroline MacDougall

6:10 PM EDT, June 10, 2009

It's the common complaint you hear uttered by friends, family and co-workers throughout the day: "I just can't get going without my cup of coffee!" Although we hope to boost our energy levels when reaching for a cup of coffee, in truth we're actually inducing a state of stress.

Caffeine drives the adrenal glands to produce stress hormones that can remain in the bloodstream up to 18 hours after consumption.

These hormones produce the "fight or flight" response that nature designed to help save our lives when every bit of energy is required to survive an impending disaster, such as an attack by an enemy. In today's world, where we're more often sitting at a desk, driving, or eating a meal, caffeine can put us into a chronic state of stress with no way to burn off the extra fuel and hormones.

Caffeine-induced stress can produce mood swings and insomnia, increase muscle tension, impair digestion and nutrition, restrict blood circulation to the brain, elevate blood pressure, create blood sugar swings, and accelerate the heart rate.

Yet the lines at the local coffee bar still stretch out the door with people desperate for their next caffeine "fix." In addition, while your adrenal glands are busy pumping out cortisol to send energy to the muscles and divert energy from the digestive and immune systems, there's a very important hormone they aren't making: DHEA. It turns out that the adrenals have to reduce their production of the most important anti-aging hormone your body requires for youth and longevity in order to produce the stress hormones that ultimately weaken your immune system and impair your health.

DHEA is the mother hormone for all the sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, and it also increases your brain's seratonin levels naturally. So if you've been feeling down in the dumps and your lover no longer interests you, check out how much caffeine you're consuming daily in that coffee mug of yours!

It turns out that a "cup" of coffee is not your normal 8-ounce cup, but a mere 5-ounce cup. So when you read that a couple of cups of coffee a day shouldn't be any problem to your health, think of one 10-ounce mug. When you add to that the statistics for caffeine content in a cup of coffee brewed at popular coffee bars, you'll find out that you can expect up to 300 mg in that 10-ounce serving, not the 150 mg you might find in a cup of coffee from your own coffeemaker.

Decaf coffee drinkers who think they've switched to a healthier choice will be surprised to find out that a Stanford University study showed that decaf coffee raises the cholesterol higher and faster than regular coffee. A cup of decaf coffee still contains around 7 mg of caffeine. Plus, the beans chosen for decaf coffee have a higher acidic content than regular coffee to compensate for flavor loss during the decaffeination process.

You may be wondering what alternatives exist. Stephen Cherniske, M.S., author of "Caffeine Blues" (Warner 1998), recommends switching to caffeine-free herbal coffee over a 2-week period. Herbal coffee, made from carob, chicory, barley, dates, figs and almonds can be brewed right in your coffee maker.

It's not as hard as you might think to ease yourself off of caffeine. If you use a 2-week weaning program, by slowly reducing the amount of caffeine you consume daily, you can avoid withdrawal headaches and help your adrenal glands recover. You may be surprised to find in two to three months that you feel better than you've felt since you were a kid and once again have an abundance of energy and enthusiasm for life!

KICK THE CAFFEINE HABIT

Caffeine withdrawal headaches can be incapacitating. Often they're accompanied by fatigue as your body starts to recuperate from its former caffeine-driven pace. Caffeine constricts blood vessels in the brain and decreases circulation. When caffeine is not present, the sudden increased circulation causes headaches.

To slowly wean yourself off of caffeine, start by making a pot of coffee by mixing of your normal coffee with caffeine-free herbal coffee. Gradually reduce the percentage of your coffee in each pot until you're drinking 100 percent herbal coffee.

You should be able to avoid the headaches and also gradually adjust your body to less reliance on stimulants.

Try these herbal tonics to help rebuild adrenal health and detoxify the body (speak to a holistic practitioner for dosages and directions on how to use them): Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) Panax Ginseng (Panax ginseng or quinquefolius) Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera)) Milk thistle (Silybum marianum)

Some serious coffee drinkers experience "brain fog" in the first month or so after quitting caffeine. Good nutrition along with a bio-energetic supplement, coupled with some herbal extracts including gotu kola and gingko biloba can help you clear that "fog" and restore your normal brain clarity.

Naturallysavvy.com

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

i may have lost my mind


I am contemplating giving up caffeine. Yes. Me. Without coffee. Can you imagine?

My current habit consists of two cups of coffee in the morning and an occasional cup of tea or coffee during the day. Yes, I know this is not a tremendous amount, but it feels more and more like a necessity rather than an enjoyable beverage. Plus, I wonder how I will feel after a period of caffeine-free goodness.

The idea of stopping bubbles up the anxiety. (Or perhaps "percolates") Can anyone say, "addicted?" Ugh. That is not good. That is the perfect sign that it is time to purge my system of the stuff.

This morning I stopped at one cup. This does not seem so bad but we will see how I feel around noon. You might want to avoid me for a spell. I may be cranky. Ha!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Vajiradhammapadip Temple


grrrrrrmmph
Originally uploaded by misslissa13
We attended the 25th Thai Fair at Vajiradhammapadip Temple in Centereach, NY. Events like this are such great ways to get a taste of other cultures (and sometimes your own). Quite an enjoyable afternoon. (more pictures on flickr) Good food, beautiful people, lovely costumes, and lively music and performances.