Thursday, February 26, 2015

Funny Friday Photos: Physics Addiction

Guess what day it is!

That's right!

I don't know about you, but this weekend totally snuck up on me. I'm sure happy it's here though!

Let's get started with last week's winner:

Are you ready for the new ones? Here you go!

I'd think the camera was on its side, except for the goats in the background.

He looks so dignified--until you see the birdie.

I've been hanging with my kids too much again...

An introvert's daily struggle.

This gave me a giggle. Actually, though, I wish I was a physicist.

Here's the puns for the week!

Have you ever seen A Clockwork Orange? My mom saw it and I don't think I want to.

A different kind of snowman.

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? We're supposed to get a ton of snow (we'll see, Wyoming weather is notoriously unpredictable), and BBC America is running Doctor Who all day Sunday, so that's my plan. Write on Saturday and watch Doctor Who on Sunday. I'll probably write on Sunday, too, but rather distractedly.

On Wednesday I was picking up my boys from school, and Boy 2 pointed into a dark hallway.
"Do you know what I think is down there?" he asked.
"No, what?" I said.
He gave me a knowing look. "Vashta Nerada, that's what."
It's times like those that make me such a proud geek mom.

My favorite this week is a tie between the Wombutt and the Physics Addiction.

What's your favorite?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Funny Friday Photos: How Cool Is Your Food?

Happy Friday to all!

I'm afraid to admit this, since I've started the Mindfulness posts, but lately this is what my life seems to be like:

This also goes with asking questions of people, and having to ask them to repeat their answers because I'm distracted. I'm definitely trying to do too many things at once. Anyone else relate?

Another thing I learned this week is:

A couple of days ago I finally noticed the hashtag #nofilter going around on Twitter. I didn't know that photoshopping or filtering your own photos was happening to the extent that people have to declare that they haven't retouched the photos. But, should you suspect someone is lying, there is a website called Filter Fakers, who polices the hashtag and calls out people for lying about using filters.

How do you even use filters? Do you have to be on Instagram only? It seems like too much trouble, to me. If you don't like the photo, then don't post it.

Last week's favorite photo was:

A three way tie between the lightbulb cat, the dog in a box, and hokey-pokey cat--so no favorite pic of the week today!

New photos below!

I love the little cape!

Nopen = not open?

A pun or two for the road?

My favorite is the ballet dog.
What was your favorite this week?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Mindfulness Monday: Yoga

My experience with Yoga has been life-long, but intermittent. It's not yoga's fault, but rather a symptom of my own lack of discipline to do things that are good for me.

Where It Began

Does anyone remember the television show on PBS called Lilias, Yoga and You? That was my first experience with yoga. My mother practiced yoga with the TV show, and also bought some of Lilias Folan's books. As a little girl, I loved Lilias's super-long braid and leotards. I also loved that flexibility was something my body could do. I was born with some minor birth-defects, including a heart murmur and hip dysplasia. The dysplasia meant, on one side at least, I was pretty flexible. The heart murmur meant that I've never been very good with cardiovascular type activities. I think the reason I keep returning to yoga throughout my life is because it is an activity I felt successful with in the "early years." Well, and also that it calms me mentally.

The Journey Continues

I returned to yoga in my twenties, and realized exactly how strong it makes your body. I'd been doing a fifteen minute practice daily (from a Lilias book my mom had) for a month. I was in a long-distance relationship with a guy, and we'd been apart for the month I'd been doing yoga. When we reunited, we hugged, and he commented on the change of how I felt to him (ie. not quite so squishy.)

In that month, I also noticed a change in my self-awareness. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I was learning to be present, instead of stuck in my head. Over-analyzing everything--and consequently anxiety--runs in my family, and I am one of the worst. During that month I found that I was looking at the world a little differently, and I liked it.

Over the next ten years there were occasional spurts of regular yoga practice. I attended a day-long workshop in Colorado. I found a class in the town where I went to college that I would go to every once in a while. My husband and I even spent part of our honeymoon at an ashram in Colorado for a yoga retreat.

Krishna and some happy cows.
The yoga retreat was an amazing experience. At that time I learned about yoga as more than just a physical activity. There were classes on meditation, incorporating chanting into meditation, and even on how yoga fits into the Hindu religion. It was the beginning of learning about the mind/body
connection inherent to a yoga practice. I also fell in love with what I call the happy cows. (Cows are sacred in Hindu belief, and the cows in Hindu paintings all look so peaceful. I love them.)

But, I digress.

Research Is Wonderful

Through learning about the neuroscience and practices of mindfulness, and teaching them to others, I have a better understanding of the physiology of why yoga has always been a positive experience for me, and why it can be a positive experience for others.

Some of my main reasons are:

1. The physical exercise does make your body strong and flexible. When my body feels strong, I feel better, more capable and mentally healthy.

2. Because yoga is not a competition, and you are encouraged to listen to your body and what it needs and how far it can go, anyone can have a yoga practice. My mom, who now has Pulmonary Hypertension, is practicing yoga with the modifications necessary for her physical safety. She still is receiving great physical benefits, even though she is not completing a posture the same way as someone of the same age who has been practicing yoga their whole lives. Another plus, it doesn't take long to see improvement in a person's abilities in flexibility, strength or balance.

3, The way of thinking about engaging in a yoga practice is calm and self-reinforcing. What you can do is enough, and it's accepted that what a person can do will change from day to day. This self-acceptance in practice leads to self-acceptance in other parts of my life. And since I'm pretty hard on myself, that's no small feat.

4. Breathing practices and meditation (which are parts of a normal yoga practice) are hugely effective for stress relief, increasing mental focus and emotional regulation. For me, connecting inhalations and exhalations to movement helps me turn off my brain by giving me something to think about besides the distracting thoughts that continuously run through my mind. (My mind is a very noisy place.)

5. Yogic philosophy is positive, connecting and accepting. I am not Hindu any more than I am Buddhist, but I appreciate and utilize the similarities in the philosophies of both to maintain a balance in an otherwise nutty world.

Where I Am Now

No, I do not have an hour long daily practice with a twenty-minute meditation. Honestly, I don't have the time. While there are now yoga classes locally ( I used to have to drive for an hour), I still don't have the time to go to them. This is not an excuse, it's just my reality.

What I do have is a lot of videos, and a meditation app that I recently found.

Most of my videos are from Gaiam, come in a variety of lengths of practice (15, 20, 30+ minutes) and you can find them about anywhere. Any video I've gotten from them has been thorough and knowledgeable, but sometimes fast moving and "exercise-y." The other video brand I have, which is more relaxed and contemplative, is from Element. I love their stress relief video. I also have all of my mom's old Yoga Journals, and will sometimes use the practices they have in them, if I need to have quiet. I love when I practice on my deck. Being outside is terribly important for me, and being outside and moving through a sun salutation is close to heaven.

I would recommend classes, especially if you are just starting, to at least augment using videos. Having a knowledgeable instructor is priceless, because they can give you important feedback on how to correctly do a posture. Some day I would like to go to a weekly class, but right now going somewhere would probably drive me away from practicing regularly.

I try to practice for at least 10-15 minutes a day. It's exactly like writing, where if I start with the intent of ten minutes the time extends to at least twenty minutes. I try to do a breathing meditation for 2-5 minutes, be that doing Savasana at the end of practice, or on it's own.

The app I just found is on my kindle, and is really cool for me. I don't know how to tell you how to find it, but just know there are meditation apps pretty much anywhere. I've found some for my i-phone, and on my Kindle. I imagine anywhere there are apps, there are meditation apps.

I am a far cry from a yogini, but yoga has been a regular and important part of my life for about the last year to year and a half. Some weeks I practice more than others, but the benefits have always been present.

Oh! And guess what. The circle has completed, because my kids (who are about the same age as I was when my mom did Lilias) now do my yoga videos with me! Isn't that funny!

Have you ever tried out yoga?
Have you ever wanted to?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Funny Friday Photos: Bad Gnus

Happy Friday!

I got a little carried away with photos this week. Not only do I have more than my normal amount of funny photos, I also am answering a challenge by my friend Veronica Roth, who is an amazing artist. (I especially love the birds she draws on sheet music or old maps.) She invited me to participate in her Drawing Challenge, which has the theme of Aqua. Since I don't draw, but I have a great photo, she said I could use it instead.

A little before Christmas we had the unusual combination (for Wyoming) of moisture in the air and cold temperatures for a couple of days in a row. The ice that formed as a result made the world look like a Fairytale. Or Jotunheim. Anyway, I had recess duty the morning it started warming up. The ice was falling from the trees and glittering in the air, and the sky, in contrast with the ice, was an awesome, shocking blue. It was an absolutely fantastic morning, and those pictures were the first thing I thought of when Veronica announced her challenge of Aqua, because the sky that day matched the beach glass she used in her picture.

Much thanks to Veronica for inviting me to play! It's always fun to be cross-creative. Although I guess I wasn't that creative, but I still had fun.

Last weeks funniest photo was:

I hope you enjoy the new choices!

None of us are as cool as hipster dog.

Um, no. I don't think so.

One. It takes one cat to change a lightbulb.

I wonder if they have guidelines to determine which you have.

He looks so earnest. I'd hire him.

And the dog will be totally justified.

Only one pun today:

They were born to be wild. (Ha.)

I love the Murdering Smiley dog. It's so sad it's funny.

Which is your favorite?

Monday, February 09, 2015

Mindfulness Monday: A Different "What If"

I know I said I was only going to post on the first and third Mondays of the month, but then I read the following quote from Ganga White, the founder of the White Lotus Foundation. I found it to be quite profound, and wanted to share it here. So, I guess the first and third Mondays are the minimum. Who knows when an extra post might just pop up, like this one did.

What if religion was each other?
If our practice was our life?
If prayer was our words?
What if the temple was the Earth?
If forests were our church?
If holy water--the rivers, lakes and oceans?
What if meditation was our relationships?
If the Teacher was life?
If wisdom was self-knowledge?
If love was the center of our being?
                         ~Ganga White

No call to action or need to comment. Just take a moment to ponder each line, and what it means to you. Of course, if you want to share your thoughts, you are most welcome to comment, but no pressure!

May we all have a good Monday and lovely week.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Funny Friday Photos: Turning Tides

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wow. This week went fast. I swear I was just watching the Super Bowl.

I decided to root for the Seahawks. I think that's why they lost. Just the act of me deciding I wanted them to win cursed them with bad luck. It's like every time I choose a check-out line, it always turns out to be the slowest moving line ever. So, I issue an official apology to all Seahawks fans. I should have rooted for the Patriots.

And I'd just like to say, although it was a bit of a bummer, I thought Nationwide's prevent child accidents commercial was awesome. Way to go with social responsibility. No child should die just because of lack of supervision or because their family didn't take the simple precautions to protect them. I see all kinds of neglectful situations working in a Title-1 school, and the families are just lucky nothing tragic happens. All types of people watch the Super Bowl, so it was a great opportunity to bring awareness to many people who might not normally get the message.

Of course, I'm the kind of person that shudders at the sight of mothers letting their young children stand up in the carts at the store. Once I saw a boy fall backwards out of the cart. The sound of his head hitting the concrete floor was nauseating. I think he was okay, but he fell right on his head and who knows if he had a concussion or not.

Okay, so enough about that. Let's see some funny photos.

Last week's favorite photo was:

And here's some new ones!

I'm having a similar issue between my children. Sibling rivalry is a pain.

The raccoon's got it all figure out.

The puns:

I don't think I've used this before...

Old school.

All right! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I'm not sure what we'll be doing, but I'm sure cleaning is in there somewhere. And grocery shopping. And writing. And maybe a trip to the museum to see the Whales exhibit. Then I can put off the cleaning. :)

I have a three-way tie this week. I like the jealous cat, the cat with the haircut, and the Tides have turned.

Do you have a clear winner this week?

Monday, February 02, 2015

Mindfulness Monday: There Are No Truths

I'm very excited to welcome my friend, Roland Yeamons, for a guest post on Mindfulness Monday. I "met" Roland shortly after I started blogging back in 2012. I have always found his writing to be thoughtful, with mindful attention to the world around us, so it was quite simple to invite him to share with us some of his Lakota wisdom. It's especially fun because, thanks to the timing of his post, we are celebrating the book birthday of his latest release, Return of the Last Shaman, as well! Without further verbage, I'll let Roland take over.


Lara has been gracious enough to lend me her blog to post today for Mindfulness Monday.

The Lakota way of looking at life seeps into my novels since my mother was half-Lakota.  

As a matter of fact, RETURN OF THE LAST SHAMAN, my latest, has the last Lakota shaman thrust into an impossible dual battle. 

First, he must salvage the souls of two young women bruised by their memories as Mossad assassins.  Second, he must somehow fight unstoppable beings that swim like sharks in the alien region of space into which the solar system has sailed.

To do this, Wolf Howl will need all of his Woksope (wo-ksa-peh) – Lakota for wisdom.


Once there was a quiet-spoken Lakota brave who had his village’s leadership thrust on him.  He did not wish it, but he humbly led his village well for two generations of increasing safety and prosperity.

Then, a young rebel wanted to be leader.  He approached the white-haired headsman.

“Grandfather, I have a sparrow in my hands.  Is it dead or alive?”

The rebel would either crush the bird or release it, depending upon the old leader’s answer to prove how unreliable his wisdom had become.

The people of the village tensely waited as the old man sadly stared into the rebel’s smug eyes and calmly answered, “Grandson, the answer is … in your hands.”

Likewise, the quality of our lives is in our hands.

There comes a time in life when the roads we have traveled begin to appear on our faces: laugh lines, frown wrinkles, worry creases, haughty curl of lips.

When young, our faces are wet cement but over the seasons, the expressions we wear most often become fixed and unchangeable. Our birth gives us one face.  Our choices sculpt another.

In like manner, the way we choose to look at life and others soon becomes easier and easier until it becomes habitual.  If we see life and others as fleeting and precious, we will treasure it and them.  If we see life as a race to snatch more and more from others, we will forever be hungry, forever alone.

It is a sad fact that “happily ever after” does not happen.  But if we choose the path of compassion – Waunsilapi (wah-un-shee-lah-pee), the roads we walk, even the hard ones, will enrich us and all those we meet along the way.

The answer is in our hands.


My family left Detroit when I was quite young so my last memories of Detroit are hub cabs and knee caps. The further south we went, the hotter it got. So I was glad when we stopped in Lafayette, Louisiana, because I was real sure the next stop would have been Hell.
A year there taught me to say "sir and ma'am" and to pronounce David and Richard in really strange ways when they were last names. And it was not a pretty sight when I said Comeaux for the first time.
Lake Charles was the next stop. I remember standing in the front yard of our new home, watching the neighbor across the street beating in his front door (his wife had locked it) with a fence post.
I looked up to Mom and said, "You know, if I had a degree in Psychology, I would probably understand what's going on there."
She ruffled my hair and said back, "Lot's of luck with that."
And she was right. A master's degree in psychology hasn't unlocked the why's of the pain I see. It just helped me put fancy labels on them.
I have been everything but a pirate, but since I once worked for a tax preparation firm, I guess you could say I've been that, too. I was a teacher for awhile. Then, a family counselor. My mother contracted cancer, and I emptied my savings, opening my own bookstore to give me freedom to go with her for her out-of-town treatments.
Mother died. The reason for my store died with her. I saw an opening at Lifeshare Blood Center in the Product Management department. I applied and was hired. And the rest is infamy, ah, I mean history.

You may enjoy my latest e-book:

And the book that gave birth to it:

Of course, you can find me at my own blog:

Or you can visit Wolf Howl’s very own blog:

Come pay me a visit and chat awhile.  I look forward to it.  J


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...