Former columnist for the Los Angeles Post Examiner, the Baltimore Post Examiner, and Gatehouse News Service

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Think I Just Might Be Royalty...


This is a photo of the beautiful huge bandstand on Revere Beach, Massachusetts.  Revere Beach is America's oldest public beach, and has gone through a lot of beautification efforts in the last several years.

That is me on the bandstand at dusk, doing my version of a royal wave, in my tribute to Kate and William's wedding day.

Why they did not choose Revere Beach is a mystery to me...and really, always will be.

Speaking of the wedding - up at 4:15, at my girlfriend's house by 5, where scones, pudding and tea were on the menu.  Then to work (in Revere, home of the amazing bandstand) where I drooped over my computer, babbled inexplicably to potential new members of the Revere Chamber of Commerce, and spilled a large toasted almond coffee all over someone else's desk.  Not very royal of me.

I wish I could buy (or lease) a royal title...it's been done, right?  (Hey, I watched The Tudors.)  I believe in my heart that I was meant to be royalty - come on, check out that wave.  The seagulls were clearly impressed.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Donald Trump and President Obama and defining gravitas down...

I have been doing some thinking about Donald Trump's pseudo-candidacy for President of the U.S. of A.,  (he cannot actually declare his intentions until after his reality show wraps up this season), and the idiocy that goes along with even the sentence I just typed - cannot run for President until his reality show finishes?  What country is this - or has this become?

I have come down to this, in terms of some type of clarity: this is not a statement on the craziness of Donald Trump, or the shallow nature of (and influence of) the media and what they bring us every day in their service to the Gods of Attention and Ratings.  Instead, I relate the temporary ascendancy of "The Donald" to the idea called "Defining Deviance Down"; except instead of "deviance", let's use the word "gravitas."

Defining Deviance Down is the idea, first coined years ago by Senator Patrick Moynihan, that we sometimes sink to a "new normal" in what is deviant - for example, many sexual leanings/activities deemed "deviant" in the past are now viewed as quite normal today.  Following this theory, we have a new "gravitas" today, which is, in fact, not gravitas at all.  We have lost our sense of seriousness about ourselves, and act desperate now, as a country, living day to day and even hour to hour, without any bedrock to support us.  I have come to think that this is a very deep and probably sustained loss of both critical thinking and of collective values.  And it began with the election of President Obama, not with anything that has happened since, and certainly not with Trump.  (Some may arguably say that it started with President Bush 2, or even with Reagan, but I most heartily disagree.  Governors are acceptable candidates, in my way of thinking.  (A governorship is very good preparation for the Presidency, offering both executive and legislative experience.)

The problem with not "outing" Obama as a vastly unprepared and potentially dangerous candidate was that his candidacy carried something so wonderful that it possibly will still be worth it after all (provided we are talking a one-term Presidency!): we elected an African-American. This was just outstanding, and high time, too.  But we still elected the wrong man.

We traded seriousness about our own state of affairs for soaring rhetoric, a TV-friendly visage, and our own insecurity that we wouldn't elect an African-American.  And now we have the man we elected; someone low on experience and more worryingly an unknown quantity then, and now.  How I miss the days of boring, average-looking, capable Presidents and Presidential candidates.

So why is it surprising that Trump is gaining traction?  Obama is doing Oprah, and we sold our fate several years ago.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Erin...avoiding the Mom Jeans!!

Day 22


I thought that I was becoming obsessed with yoga when I found myself wearing my yoga pants and tanks all day long, without care or concern for my fashion-challenged (or un-showered) self. But, when I do things like sign up for a Springtime Rejuvenation Cleanse on a super-busy Saturday afternoon, I know I’m going over the edge.

To wit: My yoga studio recently offered a Spring Rejuvenation Cleanse course. The cost of the course was quite reasonable -- $45 for a two-hour session that provided education on why we should cleanse our system of toxins in the spring as well as clean food lists, menus and daily email check-ins from the course instructor.

I looked at the wall-hung flyer each day as I went into the studio and finally decided after a few weeks to sign up. Now, the course was on a Saturday from 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. – in my house that is prime hockey, soccer and lacrosse time and my family tends to run in 50 different directions. But I rationalized I that if I’m working so hard to cleanse my mind with yoga, I should do the same for my body with a whole-foods cleanse.

I don’t remember much from the course discussion because I went into mental shock after I heard this: A whole food cleanse means no sugar, alcohol or caffeine. I can handle the sugar – but alcohol or caffeine? That is just not possible for me. I’ve tried it before with a self-imposed detox program after one-too many nights out with friends. It was an ugly couple of days, to say the lease.

But I’m going to give the cleanse a shot. Maybe I’ll be more committed this time since I’m feeling so focused and balanced with my yoga? Or maybe things will be different since I promised a friend I would be in her fashion show – in 21 days. I need to start cleansing yesterday if I want to avoid being remembered as the one in the Mom Jeans!

Erin's Yoga Challenge Cntinues...Last few Days!

Day 21


My husband needs to stop living vicariously through my yoga practice. Today, when I came home from class, I decided to quickly sit down at the computer to check my email. I was quietly clicking away when I saw this fluttering blur of navy blue out of the corner of my eye.

I made the mistake of turning my head to see what was going on because what I saw stopped me in my tracks. There, in the middle of my kitchen, was my husband attempting the Triangle Pose: legs shoulder-width apart, left arm leaning down the left leg to touch the shin, right arm pointed straight toward the ceiling. He doesn’t even know he’s doing the Triangle Pose – which makes the sight of him even more ridiculous.

“Look at my yoga,” he says. His face, slowly turning bright red, can’t hide the fact that he is in a great deal of pain. I tell him that’s not yoga and he then jumps into First Position – a ballet position by the way.

With hands at heart center, he contorts himself into a squat and utters a quick, “Namaste.”

As he pulled himself together, I realized that my husband actually talks about my yoga challenge more than I do, so I can only conclude one thing: He secretly wants to join me at the yoga studio. But when I mention him coming to class with me, he says, “Only if I can wear my blue wresting singlet from high school.”

Although I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see the expression on my fellow yogis faces when they try to focus in class next to this completely inflexible bald man in a blue singlet, I do know that I would be banned for life from the studio if I let that happen. I will never make the offer again.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

You Gotta Laugh...

Okay, so it has not been the best week.  Last week I was a chaperone on a middle school field trip, where I may or may not have "misplaced" two kids.  Then this week, it was school vacation week, spent begging my sixth grader to pick up his book and read a little, removing and then replacing my winter clothes in my closet (curse you, New England weather patterns!). I spent the week covered in sweater fuzz.  In between lugging clothes around, I went to work and called home 50,000 times to see a) if my son had eaten, b) if he had read, or was he still playing street hockey, and c) could he please put his dad on the phone, and yes, he had to go all the way upstairs to his home office and get him - NOW.  It was a long and exhausting week - I was also up early thinking and shedding some tears over a few recent losses my family and a particular close friend have gone through, that I can only watch and be there to listen to; helpless to stop pain.

So, I dragged myself in today, grabbed a coffee from Dunkin Donuts, and put my key in the lock of my building's front door, then went up the stairs and turned to go into my office.  The long week was almost over, and soon maybe spring would come and this weird dark patch would begin to lift.  My usual positive disposition was winning again, and I was happy to see it return a little bit.

When I turned to go to my office, I saw that there was splintered wood all over the floor of the small upstairs lobby, and my office door was hanging at a funny angle.  I was standing with my beautiful hot toasted almond Dunkin Donuts coffee staring at an office that had recently been robbed.  All the offices on my floor had just been robbed.

Standing in a conference room with other building tenants, we waited for a detective to come and interview us.  It was just like "Law and Order", but without the suspense, or action, or glamour.  I mentioned to my co-tenants that I had to go to the bathroom, but the detectives would not let us move or leave the room, and I was REALLY needing to boogie to the closest bathroom stall..  My friend Dino, from the office next door, dealing with the fact that a 62-inch TV had been ripped right off his office wall, grinned and grabbed a nearby empty coffee pot with one hand, and a Rubbermaid trashcan with the other.  "Your choice, sweetheart," he said, his Italian accent heavy as usual, one eyebrow arched at me in sly delight despite our circumstances.

I don't know if it was Dino's grin, or the absurdity of the day (not to mention the scariness), or the comfort of friends newly-made, but I started laughing, and could not stop.  You just never know what life will throw at you, so you've just got to hang in there.  You've got no other choice, and the clouds will drift away, some day.

Happy Holy Thursday, everyone.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Helicopter Parent Quiz

 Are You A Helicopter Parent?  Take This Helpful Quiz!
 You have heard of them - or, God forbid, you are one - a "Helicopter Parent."  Somehow, somewhere along the line you forgot to losen the reins a little bit, and are now living for, and through, your kid.  If you are a helicopter parent, "date night" vanished years ago (your choice) and you are darn proud of it.   So, I have developed this helpful helicopter quiz to let you check and see if you are A-OK, or in need of an umbilical-cord snip...stat!  Ready?  Here goes!


1.You are a Helicopter Parent If... you are still cutting up your kid's french toast - and you have to drive to his college cafeteria to do it.

2.  You are a Helicopter Parent If...instead of you calling your kid in sick to school, the school calls itself in sick...to you.

3.  You are a helicopter parent if...you carry glue sticks in your purse or pockets like other people carry car keys.  You are always a gummy mess, sticking to everything (like that wine glass you can't ever seem to let go of!)

4.  You are a Helicopter Parent If...You have a child-therapist, Sylvan Learning Center, and the guidance counselor on speed-dial.  Because your kid made a "fart-noise" in school.  And other kids laughed.  And the teacher growled.  And the teacher has to like you, or you'll just...I don't know...you'll just die!

5. You are a Helicopter Parent If...You catch yourself cancelling your vacation to Mexico because "our" solar system project is due that following Monday.  You'll be much too busy Googling the solar system while your cherub lays on the flloor and plays video games!

6.  You are a Helicopter Parent If...the referee in your kid's game calls a penalty...on you.  Apparently it can't be possible for your kid to need his sweatshirt and a drink of water while he's also catching a pass from his teammate.

7.  You are a Helicopter Parent If...you have a tent set up down at the mailbox to be the first to see whether "we" got into that Ivy League college or university.  You should; that was a darn good essay you wrote...ooops!

8.  You are a Helicopter Parent If...you can't realize that with kids, sometimes the view is better the farther away you are.  That's the only way to see all the confidence and self-esteem that is growing in the space you have allowed around them.

How did you score?  Be the helicopter that flies away - back to your own life.  Have some fun, and your kids will, too!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Unofficial Uptown Girl Music Video

This funny video stars our dearly beloved and recently lost Chris Williams (in blue and white baseball hat), his best friends, and his sister Laura (my unofficial daughter) in a re-make of Billy Joel's "Uptown Girls." Chris lived with CF, and died last Sunday. What a full life it was.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Building a Wall


5:30 AM:

This morning, I have woken up early, to have coffee alone, and to read a little bit; to mentally and spiritually somehow get ready for the day ahead. I find myself grateful that my friend Erin has filled this space with funny, enlightening words about her yoga experiences, to remind me of the capacity for change and the gaining of all kinds of strength. The past few weeks, for me, have brought the death of a dear friend's mother, and now another death - so sharp is the pain that it is like being doused in cold water.  A dear friend has lost her son this week, and today is the wake.  Her son was only 23, and passed away after fighting cystic fibrosis for years.  Seeing my friend the night of the morning her son died was not something I will soon forget; it was the saddest thing, but it was also an honor to be with her and her husband and daughter and their numerous friends and family in their grief.  There is nothing like watching someone you love go through something like this; you are helpless and all you can do is be there.

It is raining outside, to match the day ahead.  If you go to church or read the Bible at all, you find a measure of comfort; all of this has a purpose; sadness will have an end.  But it is so hard to feel when we do not seem to live in an age of miracles (although we know that they do happen every day) and Good Friday seems closer than ever to me this year; Jesus saying, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Where is God when these things happen?  Why can't we just be allowed to see beyond the veil, to know that we will all be reunited, and that suffering will have an end?

I guess because that is not faith; that strong wall made brick by brick through trial and error, sadness and tears, dawnings and realizations that span a life.  At our own death, we are aloud to sit on top of that wall of our own making, in partnership with God - the years of believing despite all supposed evidence to the contrary - and on the other side we see faith rewarded, family reunited, and our own unique destiny.  The first side of the wall is forgotten - except for the love.

His name was and is Chris Williams. He lived, laughed, and was so loved.  He was here.  He left a mother, a father, and a sister, as well as so many others who want - and are waiting, now - to see him again.  And on this rainy morning, I need to believe that they will.  So many love them, and so many will grieve with them today.  God, bring us Easter, that follows the darkness.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Namaste...Estaman...Erin's 30 day Challenge Continues!

Day 20


Against all odds, I found my way back to the yoga studio today.

The odds that plagued me over the past few days – namely ear infections, migraines, dirty dishes, dirtier floors, unmade beds, thank you notes, lacrosse, hockey and sleepovers -- didn’t even get a second thought from me today as I prepped myself for yoga class. I worked hard to keep these damaging images out of my head, although I will admit that vision of me walking out the door to yoga with the dirty dishes and unmade beds staring me in the face did give me pause.

But I went and I am blessed that I did because I found out today that I have “yoga friends.” Three women that I have run into over the course of my life in different ways – one from high school and two from my old gym – have become regulars at my yoga studio and I see them several times a week now.

When I walked quietly into the yoga studio, we were so happy to see each other that we immediately greeted one another with an enthusiastically whispered, “Hi!” We then plunged headfirst into low-hushed discussions about where I had been the past week (“We were worried about you!”), my husband’s thoughts on Namaste (or Estaman!) and how we were each doing with our yoga practice.

It was one of those unexpected moments of goodness that happens every once in a while and I am going to savor it. Here I was thinking that my 30-day yoga challenge would yield the predictable results: newly toned and flexible muscles, and possibly a brighter, more peaceful outlook on life. But I’m getting much more – and that “more” has Namaste written all over it.

My husband was home this morning when I returned from yoga. I felt so full and happy – much differently than I had last week when he made the “Estaman” discovery. So, I told him there was a slight possibility that he was correct about me being bitter and embodying the opposite of Namaste. When he heard my full confession, he bowed to me with hands at heart center and simply said, “Namaste.” I laughed – but if he starts saying that word 100 times a day again, things are going to get ugly.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Erin's Yoga Challenge Days Are Flying (Monkeys)

Days 17 and 18


Day 17 and Day 18 are really like Groundhog Day for me (please tell me you’ve seen that silly movie? It’s a classic!) so I am lumping them into one blog post. My son is home again today. His docs claim his Strep test is negative – again, I am thinking they are now in on the conspiracy - the one the germs have been planning all week to thwart my yoga practice. The score now reads:

Germs: 4

Yoga: 0

I have been to yoga ONCE this week. I assumed that my lack of attendance is what has put me in such a dark, want-to-strangle-the-world kind of mood but my husband has a different theory. He thinks it’s actually the YOGA that is making me a scary person to live with these days, not my missed sessions.

He shared his theory with me this way:

“What’s the opposite of Namaste?” he asked very innocently as he was writing “Namaste” in his little work notebook.

“I don’t know exactly but I think it’s a pretty peaceful word,” I respond. “I like saying it.”

“Well, I think you should actually start saying “Etsaman” instead – that’s Namaste spelled backward,” he stated in a bold, matter-of-fact manner.

“Why would I do that?” I asked, clearly missing the point of the conversation.

“Well, I actually think you’ve MORE bitter and grouchy since you started this yoga – Namaste doesn’t fit but Etsaman clearly does.”

That’s just great. Here I am thinking I’m oozing all of this knowledge, insight and peace about the world but in reality, I’m just oozing anger. Not the expected outcome of my 30-day-quest.

Which got me thinking . . . could he be right? Could my yoga be turning me into the Wicked Witch of the West when all along I thought I was becoming Glinda the Good Witch? I’m going to have to give this some serious thought during my next session – and hope against hope that I don’t have the urge to yell: “I’ve got flying monkeys and I’m not afraid to use them!”
Namaste,
Erin

Government Shut-Down Averted...

I am thrilled that there is no shut-down; it sounded like military personnel were going to miss every other paycheck (roughly) if the shut-down occured, which I tend to believe.  We can never let that happen; not even one paycheck can ever be missed by our modern-day heroes in uniform. 

On the subject of Planned Parenthood, I was absolutely psyched that the Repubs were initially holding their ground, as I am very pro-baby, no matter what stage of growth that baby is in.  (I am not just interested in fully-formed, viable babies, in other words.) I am tired of paying taxes into this group, and there apparently is nothing they won't do to stay funded and keep cranking out abortions - beginning the airing of commercials that talked about how many Pap smears and cancer-checks they were going to be prevented from providing should they be de-funded made me sick.  Planned Parenthood has been known (and in years past, loved to be known) as abortion-providers, period.

Planned Parenthood is on notice and under scrutiny now.  What a concept!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Erin's Challenge - Foiled again...

Day 16

I’ve concluded that the ear infection and nasty cough germs that have taken over my house are working together to sabotage my 30-day yoga challenge. Trust me, I’ve been keeping score:

Germs = 2

Yoga = 0

If the germs win out again tomorrow and my kids stay home from school for a THIRD day in a row, the score will be 3:0. Namaste will be wiped from my vocabulary and I will be overcome with Lysol fumes. Fingers – and toes for that matter – are crossed for a speedy yoga recovery.

Namaste,
Erin

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Blind-Sided...

For some time now, I have been toying
with the idea of becoming a parent again.  (Get up, honey, get a glass of water, now, there, there...) No, I don't mean having another baby, I have not gone completely, irretrievably insane.  I mean raising another person, by adopting a foster child.  Well, to be honest...actually, three foster children.

Here is the story. Two years ago I fell in love, swiftly and forever, with three siblings when I happened to see them on a TV program called "Wednesday's Child" here in Boston, a show that showcases foster children that are legally free for adoption. I still remember it - I was propped up in bed with a book, the tv droning in the background; I was sick with the flu. Three adorable kids appeared on the screen, and I glanced up and saw them on a duckboat tour down on the pond downtown, and was arrested by their seriousness, and the angular beauty of their faces. One was my youngest son's age (then 10, now he is 12,) the next a little girl, now 10, and their little brother, now age 8.  I saw them, dressed up for their interview, hoping that some family might notice them and want to bring them home - and something in my heart not only melted, but felt settled, as if I were recognizing something I already had.  I was absolutely smitten with these kids.  I grabbed an old envelope or flyer from my bedside table, found a pencil in my bedside drawer, and wrote the number down. And then I called it.

Well, there were too many question marks, and too many people that could be hurt instead of helped - my own kids had to be considered first - especially my youngest, who is in many ways an only child, his brothers being 10 and 13 years older, respectively. Getting three African-American siblings all at once?  And what about the older boys - how would they feel, as if they had "aged out" of our hearts?  And what about our marriage - already busy, where would we land, adding more people who we were committed to?  When was it gong to be our turn?

Two years passed, our family having opted for the safe choice - the status quo.  I quietly put my tattered envelope with the phone numbers on it back in the drawer. Oh, I had called the number, and gotten the information - we would have to attend courses, and be home-inspected - the usual - and all that was fine.  The hard part isn't making the phone call, the hard part is looking at all the faces that need you so much, and making that call - what is best for you? And  it was the correct choice for us - at the time.  But a funny thing happened on the way to forgetting - these three children lived on in my heart, and to a very real extent in my life, too.  I would find myself wondering about the little girl I never met - could I have learned to do her hair? - and the oldest boy, so serious; so intent on his siblings in the three-minute video I had seen; my only glimpse of them thus far.  A video artfully made to capture someone's heart and see all that these three children could be.  And the littlest boy - did he still love basketball?

The only thing I could do for these three was to pray,  and it was thus that I began one of the richest and most mysterious relationships of my life, as a sort of prayer-mother to my unknown kids.  My task; to ask God to watch over the children, and to guide us all - three African American kids from the city, and a white family from the suburbs - to each other, if that was His plan for the children, and for my children, too. For us all.  To know what I couldn't know, and to make it right, whatever right was. I dumped us all into God's lap, all eight of us, and prayed that although I was not the children"s mother, that in some sense I was as constant as any mother could be - in prayer.  In this way, they became mine.  And I, theirs.

I was as constant as the sunrise with these prayers, and I still wondered, from time to time, about how they were doing.  Their names became names my family knew.  My husband dreaded taking me to "The Blind Side," and had to deal with my raised eyebrows pointed right at him when the film was over.  "We're not them, and we are not the families in "Extreme Home Makeover," sweetheart, we are us, and we have a lot going on..." the story went.  And he was right, and I respect him and his sense of
just how much we can take without staggering under the weight of my good intentions.  I am the impulsive one, and he is the thoughtful and more practical one.  Together, we are perfect, a finely-tuned machine that has taken years to perfect, and is both strong, and fragile.  Still, we never forgot about the three beautiful children dressed up for the video that was meant to make someone love them.  Well, it worked, and now, I did. 

Continued tomorrow...

Erin's Yoga Challenge - Halfway Ain't What I Thought it Would Be!

Day 15

I have fantasized about Day 15, the mid-point of my 30-day yoga challenge. I envisioned myself in full self-congratulation mode -- I’m talking the kind of congratulating that involves high-fives and chest-bumps with my 12-year-old son. I deserve serious credit for making it to the halfway point without seriously injuring others or myself.

But instead, I’ve greeted Day 15 with this: two girls, home from school, each with the kind of hacking, horrible cough that makes you want to bury your head in the sand so you don’t have to hear it. Not even close to my planned celebration. Another thing I didn’t plan on – a little bit of sarcasm from my 9-year-old. Upon learning she wasn’t going to school, she stated simply: “I guess no yoga for you.”

So instead of quieting my brain and enjoying my yoga success, I will be spending the day ensuring the girls are taking their inhalers every four hours and their Delsym cough medicine every 12. I will be knee-deep in Popsicles and SpongeBob. And if I am lucky, I will get in a shower and possibly make a little headway in my book during my required “nap time” for the girls.

I also have my first early morning yoga session to look forward to tomorrow– and if I hear someone coughing at 5:30 a.m., I simply will tiptoe out of the house and pretend I didn’t hear them. Dad can be on call while I’m trying to get my positive prana energy flowing.

Namaste,
Erin

Monday, April 4, 2011

Something's Gotta Give - Erin's 30-Day Yoga Challenge!

Day 14

If some morning, you find yourself lucky enough to have an extra few minutes between school drop off and your morning yoga class, DO NOT – I repeat – DO NOT stop at home to make the beds and load the dishwasher. I made this drastic error this morning and paid the price – as did the person sitting next to me in my morning yoga session.

I had it goin’ on this morning – everyone made it to school on time, teeth brushed, and lunches in hand. My yoga bag was packed with a cold water, towel and headband. Because I wasn’t scrambling (my usual morning scenario), I decided to pop home to get the house together so I could maintain my happy, cleansed self when I came home from class. As I made the beds, fed the dog, put in a load of laundry and emptied the dishwasher, I thought about how nice it was going to be not to face a morning-trashed house when I got home from my nourishing yoga session.

I was so lost in the fantasy about my clean, organized house that I totally lost track of time – the next thing I knew it was 8:53 and class started promptly at 9 a.m.! I quickly grabbed my keys, flew out the door and sped through town to my yoga studio. It wasn’t until I lay down on my yoga mat that I came to terms with a few sad realities: I forgot to brush my teeth, didn’t put on deodorant, and I had dog hair all over my black yoga pants.

My only hope was that my fellow yogis were able to keep their eyes on their own mats... and not become fixated on the obvious disaster in the room.

Namaste,
Erin
Day 13


I have one very basic question: Where the heck was yoga when I was a teenager? I continue to be blown away by the life-changing insights I gain during each class about how to live my happiest life. These lessons certainly would have come in handy when I was melting down about prom dates, girlfriend issues, boyfriend issues and how I measured up.

Today’s lesson was about keeping your eyes on your own mat. The teacher said over and over again that if you were having a hard time paying attention to what you alone were doing, just close your eyes. If that’s not a life lesson, I don’t know what is! Think about it – if I could just worry about myself (WAY easier said than done) I would eliminate a huge amount of unnecessary (and often self-created!) stress in my life.

So, tomorrow’s mission: Eyes on my own mat -- and not on the close-to-perfect yoga student in front of me.

Namaste,
Erin

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Erin's Yoga Challenge continues...who has the TV clicker?

Day 12


I am sad to report that yoga took a backseat to hockey and baseball again this Saturday – I have come to terms with this fact and recognize that this is now two Saturdays in a row that my Warrior 1 lost out to my son’s sports schedule. I have lowered my expectations for any future Saturday sessions so if I actually get to go, it will be a serious bonus!

Actually, I was OK with not going to the studio because I had a great back-up plan – yoga on-demand. Exercise TV offers quick exercise options so I thought this would be an easy way for me to stay committed to my 30-day-goal. (I also did the math and realized that I am now running a tab with five skip days – today was a day to get creative if I want to save face!)

Well, let’s just say that on-demand yoga is a scary second option to a studio class. For starters, my basement family room isn’t quite as Zen as the YogaSlim instructor’s studio on TV. Her room was draped in pretty sage green floor-length curtains; I found myself trying to quiet my mind while surrounded Barbie’s Townhouse and dozens of Play Doh canisters.

I also had a difficult time transporting myself to my “happy place” while my husband threatened my girls with solitary confinement if they bothered me. Hearing my husband state quite emphatically, “Unless your head is now detached from your body or you are bleeding profusely, you are not allowed to bother your mother,” doesn’t exactly set the tone for a meaningful yoga session.

So, when I realized about 10 minutes into my YogaSlim on-demand session that this wasn’t working for me, I quickly turned off Exercise TV, plopped myself on the couch, put my feet up on the coffee table, and tuned to the Entertainment channel to catch up on a bit of celebrity gossip. What my family didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them . . . .

Florida Pastor Inflames the Middle East

The pastor of a small Florida church decides to burn the Koran, and this sparks violence against foreigners in Afghanistan that leaves nine dead and 53 wounded.  Some of the dead were beaten to death, with rocks and sticks. 

The truth is, most of us do not understand Muslims.  We have never read their holy book; many of us have barely read our own, the Bible - even if we profess to be Christians.  On some days - too many days - the world is a dizzyingly complex and violent place. The Middle East knows and practices their faith - stopping to pray multiple times a day -while much of the West dips into their faith now and again, while not really knowing it at all.  Because we have no biblical knowledge with which to view and parse events, we respond with our so-called intelligence; analyzing and de-crying violence instead of turning to our God and praying for peace.

This pastor was not following his faith when he burned the Koran.  Were the Muslims following their faith when they killed innocents?  Some say yes.  If the answer is yes, then logically this is not a faith that we can understand, nor ever be aligned with.  Do we have to respect it, and live in that hazy middle ground we currently occupy when it comes to the Muslim faith, trying to respect what in truth we don't know a lot about? To answer that, we had better understand their faith, and we had better understand our own.  As a Christian, I can never be aligned with this pastor, who feels bad about the violence, but not bad about his actions.

We may never understand this region of the world, nor their centuries-old faith, which seems to have elements of destruction and suppression at it's core, if you follow the stricter tenets of being a believer.  Alternately, some who profess following Christ do not understand what it means to follow Christ at all - burning a faith's holy book is about one person's hatred, not a whole faith's beliefs.

Many say, well, when they kill Christians in the Middle East, or if they ever did burn a Bible in public, we wouldn't ever dare or dream of killing Muslims.  Thank God, I say; thank God.  This is what it means to be Christian; it is a rocky, mysterious path whose wondrous end is not seen in this lifetime.  It is time to put down the guns, rocks and sticks, and pick up the books.  It is the only thing we haven't tried.

Friday, April 1, 2011

And Mother of the Year Goes To...

Day 11


My 9-year-old daughter has been complaining of a sore throat for two days now and woke up last night at 2:30 a.m. with a stomachache. When I first heard her early morning shuffle in the hallway as she approached my room, my first thought was not, “Oh, I hope she’s not sick” or “Oh, I hope she didn’t have a nightmare.” No, my first thought was, “Oh great, I’m not going to yoga.”

Of course I rallied my motherly instincts, crawled back into bed with her on her top bunk until she fell asleep and made a doctor’s appointment first thing this morning for a quick Strep test. I’m doing all the right “Mom” things and I DO feel badly that she’s not up to snuff, but I can’t shake this horrible feeling: I’m becoming obsessive/compulsive about my yoga . . . and I’m kind of OK with it.

Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that when I commit to something, I don’t just jump in with both feet: I jump in over my head! So, as I continue on my 30-day yoga challenge, I will have to keep myself in check so that my headfirst plunge into the yogi world doesn’t take over completely. My fear is that if I let it go too far, my children will have cold cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner; my husband will have to go to Target at least once a week to buy new underwear as there won’t be any clean; and my house will constantly look as if we have just been robbed.

My husband, thankfully, has stopped saying Namaste – so I can now dedicate my next yoga session to finding a balance between perfecting my Warrior 2 pose and keeping my husband out of Target.

Namaste,
Erin