The Effects of Music on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I cannot stop playing Mairi Campbell's version of Auld Lang Syne from the first Sex and the City movie. You can watch the clip here. I'm completely moved and I can't quite put my finger on why. So, this journal entry is dedicated to sorting it out. Please, indulge me.

The melody is a bit melancholy, as though accompanying a video montage you're watching years later and reliving those joyful moments, as one might with old reels of childhood footage. Mournful and joyful at the same time. There's also something about your friends getting out of bed, picking their way through the snow, and going all the way across town just to keep you company for a few hours that's very touching. There are festivities going on all over town, but not everyone is involved. And the viewer is sort of an outsider, peeking in on all the beauty and glamour, wanting to be there. Or at least desiring the beautiful clothes and parties.

The juxtaposition of a Scottish folk song with an all-American blockbuster fashion movie is endearing and brings some of the over-the-topness down to Earth. Plus the words themselves are heartwarming and haunting at the same time. They're about celebrating long-standing friendships for old time's sake, but they're also about realizing that there are years and years of stories separating you (seas between us). Most of the time Auld Lang Syne is sung with celebratory inflections with a group of people, arm's around each other, raising their glasses. This time, it's very melodramatic. There's happiness, uncertainty, loneliness, comradeship, celebration, restlessness, peace and dejection all rolled up into one scene. It's hard to process, it's so affecting.

Michael Polan Rules

Friday, January 21, 2011

If I were to recommend one book in this entire world for healthy eating, it would be Michael Polan's Food Rules. This is the best non-diet diet book I've ever come across. When you establish a healthy eating plan, you should pick something you can stick with for...well, for your entire life. Diets that are only temporary are usually inefficient and sometimes unhealthy. Changing your diet for the better should be something you can establish for a lifetime. That sounds daunting, but it's really not. Consider the three easiest diet rules you've ever seen:

Rule Number One: What should I eat? Eat food.
Rule Number Two: What kind of food should I eat? Mostly plants.
Rule Number Three: How much should I eat? Not too much.

1. For the most part, try to eat real food, not processed food. The more "pure" a food is, the better. It's not adulterated, altered, tainted with additives or ground into an unidentified substance. It still provides optimal levels of vitamins and antioxidants.

2. According to the pyramid, the things you should be eating the most servings of are fruits and vegetables. Whole grains are also high on the list. Sprinkle produce all throughout your day and you can hardly go wrong.

3. Pare down your serving sizes. Everything should be eaten in moderation. Pay attention to serving sizes. Don't eat the whole pie, but certainly don't forget to savor your sliver!

I would add Rule Number Four: Never lose an entire food group! Sure, eat food and eat mostly plants, but never do this to the exclusion of carbs, fats or any other portion of the pyramid. You'll miss out on essential nutrients, among so many other things.

What a Nightmare

Friday, January 14, 2011

My little bambino has been mighty sick lately. He's on his way to the doc right now. But the thing that concerns me most is his apparent nightmare two nights ago. I mean, the Lion King hyenas are a little scary and sometimes daddy watches something questionable, but it seems odd that a child with a pretty limited vocabulary and teeny tiny set of experiences could have such a harrowing nightmare that he picked his way in complete darkness to our bedside. He usually doesn't leave his bed until someone goes to get him. Finding him whimpering next to my bed was probably just as scary to me as it was to him to have such a nightmare, because it just kills me when he experiences such angst. Poor little guy.

So, knowing me, I had to Google "toddler nightmares" the next day because I had no idea how to approach this uncharted territory. I don't like to just ignore seemingly arbitrary things like this and I'm all about making things better for my family. The best advice I found is to ask your toddler briefly what's going on, and then change their thoughts. Go downstairs and get a glass of milk and read them another story. I like to check for monsters and pretend to eat them if the little guy suspects there are any lurking under his bed. This seems to reassure him. But there's nothing worse than being short with a toddler, so a little empathy and back-stroking go a long way. We now have a night light for his room and leave his door open so that he feels more secure.

There's a lot of irony with being a parent. While we're busy reassuring our little people that everything is OK, we're secretly worrying about upcoming bills, strange vehicle sputters, the health of our elders, our work relationships, and then some. Those petty nightmares seem to pale in comparison to real encounters with death and poverty. However, it is because of a toddler's lack of experience that those worries derived from nightmares feel just as potent as our biggest adult fears. It really puts things into perspective, as they say.

This incident also provides a lesson in thought re-patterning. I like the idea of acknowledging bad feelings and then redirecting thoughts to other more pleasant and productive things. In the real world, empathy and active listening go a long way too. It's amazing what you can learn from raising a child. More and more, these experiences reiterate the things I've learned in my own life.

This is also a lesson in the active imaginations of children. When we think they're not looking or paying attention, they're really actively absorbing more than we realize. We're going to have to be much more proactive about screening our television and word choices. My husband and I might just have to start playing the quarter game pretty soon too. Our potty mouths might get us into trouble one of these days...

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

Well, today marks the first year anniversary of my first post in the blogosphere and it feels truly inspiring. Not only am I, myself, another year stronger, but so are my words. Sometimes just getting into the habit of writing can be a struggle. But this personal place allows me to explore ideas in an informal, yet sometimes informative way. And once I get into that routine habit of writing, the ideas swirl around in my mind much more freely which, in turn, enriches my life and my writing and the momentum continues to forge ahead.

This coming year, I plan to get a little bit more technical with this blog stuff. I know, I know. I need pictures. I need Technorati to pick me up. I need to learn a little bit more about html coding and such so that I can deck these walls with extra emphasis. This is a whole new world to me. That's goal number one.

Goal number two is to blog more frequently. As I said above, the more I write, the more I start to piece things together in my head and the more receptive I am to my environment and world. It's good for the blog and it's good for me. And hopefully it's good for someone else out there.

I blog because I love the freedom of expression it gives me. It's cathartic in some ways and soul-enriching in others. I also love the outlet this blog offers me to express what I've learned to everyday people with similar interests and concerns. I am a complete fitness junkie, devoted momma and writing fanatic among many other things. And my passion is for my words and I to reach out and to make connections with people. So, we move into this second year with abundant anticipation and enthusiasm.

Take a second to peruse some of my favorites from this past year:

1. Add more roughage to your diet with these tips.
2. A personal tidbit about motherhood
3. My Ultimate Thrifty Guide to getting fit
4. My best advice for getting into a fitness habit is writing a note like this to yourself.