Sayonara, Google Reader

Let me join the hoards of people who are crying in their pillow, mourning the fate of Google Reader.  I keep up with a good few blogs and for the past several years Google Reader has been what allows me to aggregate all those into one, organized, categorized, key worded happy place.  But no more…. sigh.

I just hope the geeks out there are working their little tails off trying to come up with something to replace it.

Since I can’t come up with anything fun or interesting to write about at the moment, I’m going to send you over to another blog that makes a regular appearance in my RSS feed.  It’s a running blog, but don’t let that scare you. It’s written by a young ‘un (compared to me at least) with a zest for life as she deals with Chron’s disease and tries to run like the wind. As you might imagine, from time to time, those kind things can  at time to be tough to reconcile.

Her feelings about the current Chron’s flare-up pretty well line up with my feelings on my current pregnancy and my ability to get along with doctors. The single thing I’m looking forward to the most after delivery is of course to meet my doctor – and then upon going home, to not have to look another doctor in the face for what will hopefully be a very, very long time.

Patient care in this country has got to start moving forward and it has got to move away from lawyers and insurance companies. A big a part of that is on us, kids. We have to start taking an active role by having a healthy and vested interest in our own health and well-being – we are well overdue for that shift.
The studies telling us that the US spends more than any other country on healthcare but yet is in excessively poor health should be slapping us awake. As much I’d love to have seen NY Mayor Bloomberg succeed in his ban of gargantuan sodas/sugary beverages, I’d much rather see those items going the way of the dodo bird on their own, because the American public is smart enough to not buy them.

So. I guess I had some words in me after all. But enough about that, go read Ali’s blog post.
And then send me so me baby delivery vibes please, it’s time.


And then my water broke…

No no no, not *that* water.

It’s my damn hot water heater. Or it may be the flue above it.
It may be repairable or it may be scrap.  It may be made to limp a long for a little while longer.  The “repairable” and “limp along” options are the ones I’d prefer, as the husband is currently out of the country and dealing with plumbing is really something I hate. With a burning, deep-seated primal passion.

We have natural gas, and gas explosions are another fear of mine. A broken gas hot water heater thus nicely translates into a big fucking nightmare in my book.  Husband and handyman friends have helped set my mind at ease a little bit and a friend is coming over Monday to check out the beast – and hopefully won’t be issuing a death certificate.
I’m not going to go into detail about the “substituted a match with a burning kitchen towel” flue test, because in hindsight that may not be the smartest decision I made all day. At least I did gleam some valuable information from it, and didn’t burn the house down. Winning.

And lastly, I spent some quality time with the Internet today.  Alternating between sites about natural birth, mistrust of the medical profession, c-section mad OB’s, the “we will treat your FVL even if it kills you”  and then gas water heaters. It wasn’t exactly the light reading I had envisioned for a lazy Saturday following a fabulous yoga session, but it was entertaining all the same. And quite informational. It’s amazing to me how many people really feel that they can not fully trust their OB’s or doctors, because they are so busy covering their asses liability-wise. One article called it “defensive medicine” and cited quite a few recent studies where it is shown that the practice, while serving to keep lawsuits down, is not in the best interest of the patient. Sad damn state of affairs I’d say.

And on that note, I’m off to put down a fresh towel to catch the water heater drippings for the night, throw a load in the dryer and pretty soon turn into a pumpkin.  Party time on the pillow.



Snoozing into the new year

Ah, 2013. You are here. Let’s be friends, shall we?

Not going to launch into a big recap of 2012, suffices to say it will go down in history books as “the year it all changed in a big way”. Although maybe I should save that statement for 2013, since that will be the year “Project Baby” is formally launched into the world.
Still, 2012 was a year of a lot of little things and some major milestones. We rang the year in back home in Iceland, said our goodbyes to one of our old pups and then launched into the process of preparing our hose for sale and finding another one.  Buying and selling houses can be a bit stressful, but me and the husband took the opportunity to cut down on our worldly possessions – much-needed, especially as we were moving to a smaller house.  Simplifying has paid off in a big way financially and mentally and I’m sure that we will continue to reap the benefits for a long time. We have switched to a “cash only” lifestyle and are well on our way to be out of debt.

And then in early August, upon seeing that positive pregnancy test, the world did another backflip. It was a pretty big surprise, even if it was a very welcome one. Despite all the upchucking and ass-dragging, pregnancy has been a pretty fun and incredible experience. Now that I’m rolling into the third trimester things are getting a little uncomfortable and I understand that I have a whole lot more of that to come in the next few weeks. In a way, pregnancy is set up like a satanic out and back marathon, where the course starts downhill, meaning it ends up with an uphill finish. And that is just wrong, for any race.

So, all in all, I think 2012 was the best year of my life. But then again, I say that every year. I have a feeling 2013 will be no different. I hope yours will be one of those “best years ever” too.

On on.

Forced thankfulness and the real deal

Born and raised in Iceland, the turkey holiday was something I was only vaguely aware of until moving here. Then, spending my first few Thanksgivings at a dropzone surrounded by other foreign skydivers for the most part, I probably got a little distorted view of the whole event. It was kind of given that we were thankful and happy – we were out doing what we loved the most, jumping out of airplanes with friends in sunny Florida.

Nobody counted down the days on Facebook with “I’m blessed for this or thankful for that” status updates, because there was no Facebook or Twitter.  Imagine that.  I can’t put a finger on why those updates annoy me a little. Maybe because they feel obligatory and fake, rather than true thankfulness. Thing is, I have a lot to be grateful for – and I am.  Rather than a 20 second status update or tweet, it’s a feeling that I try to carry with me. It’s that feeling or reservoir that I draw from when I get bumped with a shopping cart at the supermarket and the wench doesn’t say I’m sorry.  Or when some jackass steals the parking spot I’d been so patiently waiting for. Or when one of the million little other things that are a part of this life come my way and try to rattle me. Or when people are being assholes. Or when I’m being one (yeah, that happens).  It’s then that I go within and see my happy jar overflowing with all kinds of blessings, big and small, and it reminds me that in the big scheme of things, it’s not worth getting upset about, and that I should make haste in getting my ass back to balance.

I guess it goes back to the yamas and niyamas, as most everything does. Ahimsa (non-violence), Santosa (contentment) and of course Svadhyaya (self-study) are the tools that year around keep me calm and composed in the midst of the fray, well, for the most part at least.

Namaste to all of you out there. Stay warm and fuzzy on the inside and outside. I hope you all spend the day with someone you cherish. My thoughts today will be with a friend just getting ready to welcome her son into this world. I’m really grateful that she has let me be a part of her journey and hope everything goes amazingly for her and the little one.

On personal responsibility

As I step deeper into the world of yoga and start to explore the instructional side, the area of “taking personal responsibility for yourself and your actions” is one area that keeps cropping up.
My teachers are big on this – over and over they remind us that at the end of the day YOU are the one responsible for yourself and your actions. You must be responsible for understanding your limits and when it comes to yoga, apply that understanding to practice. You are to know when you are just being lazy and can give more and you are to know when you need to show yourself some kindness and back off.

Turns out that advice applies off that mat too

One of my favorite bloggers, Erika from Redhead Writing, just touched on similar topic, approaching it from parental/child rearing standpoint. Her post was prompted by 10 minute long video posted about Karen H. Klein, a 68-year-old school bus monitor in Greece, NY being bullied by 4 of the kids on the bus. One of the bullies posted the video to Facebook, from where it hit YouTube and went viral wildfire style.
School authorities, parental units and the rest of the internet connected world are  in on this, and the world is pitching in to send Karen on a vacation of a lifetime. Click here to be a part of that action. The kids, assuming their parents are worth their salt, will likely eat enough humble pie to last a lifetime. I’m sure they knew they were being little shits, but they thought they would get away with it. The little bullies just got themselves a great lesson in what-goes-around-comes-around.

But back personal responsibility. In her post, Erika mentions a few things that struck her as she watched the video and read the surrounding news stories. What really resonated with me were these two points from her post:

  • If you’re a parent, schools aren’t foster parents or daycare centers. Start raising your fucking kids. Stop being their FRIEND and start setting limits.
  • If you’re a school administrator or teacher, bus driver, teacher’s aide…stop taking shit from kids. Stop it. Just fucking stop it. You’re not responsible for raising these kids, but you can demand the respect you deserve for doing one of the most admirable jobs in the world.

Now I’m not a parent, but this really is a good notion for those out there that are.
My parents are not my friends – they are my parents!  I respect the hell out of both of them, and I love them to pieces and I’ll always want to spend more time with them than I get to.  Friend – no – a parent is so much more. Ask anyone who has lost one. You can get new friends, but a great parent – you can’t replace really replace one of those.
Have respect for others, have respect for yourself.  Do not trample on others, do not tolerate being trampled on.

Simple really. So lets all pitch in to make this world a better place.
Let’s get kind, but firm that kindness up with a strong character that shows and asks for respect, on and off the mat.

Shutting up and minding your own business

Castle that way. Keep walking.

It’s fucking hard to see a friend suffering.
My best friend lost a parent as a teenager, and recently a relationship came to an end. And like in any good country song, the damn dog died. And it was a sweet, mischievous, fun little dog to boot. I personally liked the dog better than the partner, especially after the breakup. The combination of all of the above, along with a smattering of life’s little disappointments is hitting like a ton of bricks and the hurt is visible from a mile away.
It destroys me that I can’t fix it. I have no idea how to lift that burden, or how to help with moving on. At times, I’d like to deliver a smack to the head and say “get over it already” but at the same time, I don’t know that even a good solid punch would make a difference. If it was a broken leg, I could help with chores, get groceries etc, but when we are dealing with a hurting soul, I got nothing.

At the end of the day, I guess it’s not my path to walk.
And that is a bloody hard realization to come to, that perhaps my place is to just unconditionally give her my love and friendship, not to judge, except with the occasional eye-roll when the mood strikes, just to avoid complete sainthood. You do have to wonder why it’s so much easier to live other people’s lives, than your own. What kind of asinine dirty trick of evolution set us up that way?