Sunday, November 28, 2010

Reasons I Love Where I'm From

I went to Anodyne coffee shop with my husband for breakfast this morning. We had a very unusual night without the kids and we took advantage of every second of couple time. I do love a cup of chai and a breakfast sandwich in the morning! I sat and read the City Pages (our local "independent" news paper) and enjoyed a section delineating why Minneapolis is great, I couldn't agree more. So here is a short list of why I love where I'm from.

1.The Music! We have incredible local music, last night I saw Low and Jeremy Messersmith, I strongly encourage you to check them out online if you're not from the Twin Cities.

2. Lake Harriet is less than a mile from my house, it's beautiful to walk or bike around (on lovely paved trails) and in the summer it's safe to swim in.

3.Kingfield Farmer's Market is only open one day a week, June through October but we have fabulous artists, delicious veggies, fresh organic eggs and meat, artisan breads and cheeses and the Chef Shack which serves up yummy and healthy options for local foodies.

4. Gazillions of coffee shops. We've got Anodyne and Butter right here in our neighborhood.

5. Linden Hills neighborhood. Just across the lake lies the wee neighborhood of Linden Hills. You can stop in for a (generous) sample of bread at Great Harvest. Grab a cup of coffee from Coffee and Tea Ltd. then stop in at Wild Rumpus to browse children's books and visit the menagerie of animals who live there. If that's not your thing, stop in the knitting shop next door or head up the block to the beautiful Arts and Crafts style public library.

6. The number 18. This bus takes you into the heart of downtown. No paying for parking! Yay!

7. My neighbors. I know them, I like them, I'm lucky to have them.

8. Trees. We have a boatload of them in my neighborhood.

9. Summer festivals. From May Day in Powderhorn Park to the Lyn/Lake Street fair, there's always something hopping on the weekends in our fair city.

Well, I could go on and on, but that'll do for now. What makes the place you live, marvelous?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Big Changes Afoot

Over a year ago I began pursuing my masters degree in nursing with the aim of one day becoming a nurse midwife. Birth has been my passion and my life since I was nineteen. As I'm coming up on my thirty-fifth birthday, those of you who are numerically inclined can figure out that that's sixteen years. Sixteen years is a long time to hold a dream in your heart, so it came as a surprise to me to find that it's a dream I no longer want to pursue.

But let me back up a bit. Last year I had a little nervous breakdown in the Spring and realized that I need to take better care of myself and that at the time I needed a break from school. I couldn't exactly drop my parenting gig and I needed to continue working but something had to give and so school went away for a time. I had a wonderful summer, I took medication for my depression, I worked out and spent time outside. I played. I planted a garden. Life was good.

Renewed and rejuvenated I went back to school in the Fall. But I felt stuck. The work wasn't terribly challenging but I just couldn't do it. I felt like the subjects I was studying had no more to do with learning to catch babies than digging a ditch! I would lie awake at night crying and thinking about the slavery I was selling myself into. Slavery to a system I felt was abusive to women and babies, and the slavery of debt and I the thought came "just quit". Quit? Would that be....failure? How could I face anyone? What about the time I'd already spent working towards this goal? What about the last sixteen years of my life? "You do have other interests, don't you" came that little voice. I considered that, I have a lot of loves, a lot of interests, could I possibly pursue any of them?

Well, I'm officially resigning from the program after this holiday weekend and I can't wait. I want to go back to school and learn to speak Italian, or Arabic, I want to throw pottery and write. It's a fascinating, if a little scary, journey to be on, in this uncharted territory. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

toward an authentic spirituality

I was raised in a traditionally religious home. Traditional, at least, for the first twelve years. After that my mother became born again and we went with her through a tumultuous search for the truest faith. Her truest faith.

Sadly, the churches she visited were so often based, not on the premise that god is love, but that god is a god of fear and obedience. Recrimination and shame followed me as I prayed and tried to accept these charismatic and chaotic beliefs.

Later I dabbled in paganism, judaism, buddhism and unitarian faith. Religion was a cafeteria and I sampled broadly.

Ultimately I came to a place of happy agnosticism. Happy, at least that I no longer had to continue on what felt like an exhausting search. I didn't know and didn't have to know! What freedom. I didn't have to worry about offending any deities, I didn't have to worry that I was doing a ritual wrong or that I was practicing an inferior form of the faith.

But as I work towards wellness, balance, and wholeness I find that I miss having a spiritual practice. Because of my cynicism and mistrust however, I struggle with how to incorporate spirituality into my life.

I guess the closest I get is the buddhist practice of doing what you're doing while you're doing it! Basically being present in the moment. We'll see how this evolves but I want to start asking those questions again. What sustains me. What do I need, not want, but need. This I think is key to wellness, wholeness, and balance.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Balance is not living your life on a mountain top. We don't all have the option of jetting off to India to find ourselves so we have to look at what balance means to us individually.

Even at the best of times, my "balanced" life would probably look like chaos to most people, and I'm okay with that. Right now, balance means letting a lot of stuff slide since my partner is working six days a week, I have two children, I work outside the home and I'm in grad school.

It would be awesome if I could get to yoga everyday, or workout for an hour five times a week, but right now it's not going to happen. The balance I'm looking for includes being nice to my kids even when I'm stressed (doesn't always happen) maintaining a semblance of order (which for me sometimes means that there's nothing growing on the plates that didn't get washed from three days ago) and managing to find the time, in all of this craziness to do something enjoyable.

I picked up my knitting needles for the first time in months last week and did it ever feel good! Starting this week I'm going back to no sugar (my birthday week AND Valentines day derailed that goal) and I'm hoping to add ten minutes of meditation in, once a day. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Letting it all go....

Last August I visited a Naturapath in hopes that I he would give me some kind of magic potion to help me lose weight. Now, like most people, I knew in my heart of hearts that I wouldn't loose weight and keep it off by taking supplements or tinctures or eating the latest kind of diet meal-in-a-bar but I didn't care! I was desperate! I wanted a magic bullet.

He encouraged me to start the blood type diet (which I'm not advocating for, though I'm sure it's helped some people) and told me that my biggest problem was my anger. My anger? Surely he was talking to someone else in the room (though I didn't see anyone in there but the two of us). Long story short I didn't end up going back to him but I did ruminate on his "diagnosis".

I began to notice that I was angry, though I hid it at work and only lashed out at my (long suffering) husband and kids. I came to realize that they don't deserve to live with a perpetually angry mother and wife and that I did in fact have a problem with anger.

Okay, if you've read this far maybe you're wondering...what is this blog really going to be about? Well, I'll tell you. Although it's not a diet or fitness blog, diet and fitness will be discussed. It's not a religious blog but spirituality will be discussed. It's not a humorous blog but I hope I will sometimes make you laugh. What this blog IS about is wellness: holistic wellness and what happens when a stressed out, angry and overweight mother of two, rn and grad student decides to find balance in the midst of chaos.

I hope you'll share your insights and experiences along the way as I navigate this crazy life of mine! I need friends along the way.

Right now, these are the things I've been doing:

I joined and I like there. Good support and lots of interesting groups.
I'm avoiding sugar as much as possible. I went a week without it and I want to cut it out as much as possible. Eating sugar seems to make me angrier, does anyone know why?
Moving more: to me this means working on the C25K (couch to 5K for those of you who haven't heard of it)
Drinking my water! 90 oz a day my friends....

What do you want to let go of in your life? Let me know!