Tag Archives: mindfulness

Happiness # 14

Big, crunchy, Gravenstein apples.  Apple crisp, sausage and apples, applesauce, apple pie, apple cake….now if I only knew someone with a cider press….

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Happiness catchup and a pleasant weekend–music festivals

So as my last post suggested, I was looking forward to a pleasant weekend camping in the woods.  This was our last music campout in the woods, a pleasant and small gathering in the valley where I grew up, listening to reggae music.  As always, I find it mildly ironic that this sort of gathering is happening there.

This weekend it was all about friends–old friends and new friends.  We camped near someone we knew from the old political days thirty years ago; while she didn’t clearly remember us (hey, thirty years without contact can be a while) it was still pleasant (we weren’t close).  Plus hey, there was a lot of female and crone energy in our site, which was extremely pleasant.

Normally I try to take some of my stone bead jewelry to this gathering and do low-level barter for fun stuff.  This year, I didn’t do it because…well, lots of crazy life stuff this summer, as my posts made clear.  I didn’t think it was that popular.  Ironically, this year people came looking for it.  Lesson to me–always bring the stones.  Oh well, it is what it is and I will figure it out eventually.

DH and I went out all three nights to watch meteors.  Despite facing southwest instead of northeast (better vision in that direction anyway), we saw lots of meteors, including some spectacular big ones every night.  We provided amusement to folks wandering between their camps and the music because they’d ask what was going on and we’d tell them about the meteors.

I spent a lot of time talking to people about neurodiversity, education, and lots of professional stuff.  Lots of people at this festival in the field in varying ways, so we talked a lot of shop and agonized over how horrible the current state of affairs is for people of all ages at the margins.  I read a couple of very good books, and sketched out some new site additions focusing on neuroscience and neurodiverse teaching options.

Ended up buying a new set of poi (now up to four) and I think I like this new lightweight set of lighted poi.  It has the most programming options available for the lights, though they still switch on without warning (I think they’re going to live in a bag for traveling).  I danced with the new poi and had a lot of fun with them, plus they can be shortened up enough to spin indoors.

But overall, it was just plain nice to hang out in the woods, listen to good music, and enjoy a relaxed, mellow camping vibe.  Unlike all the other big events we’ve done this summer, neither one of us got sick or injured.  No one died just before we left to come to this event.  No big drama of unexpected weather (Um, does that give an indication of just how crazy things have been?  Let’s see.  Red Rocks–weather and nasty irritable bowel flare.  Country Faire–Lori’s death.  Horning’s–DH went into the hospital.  Illinois–my bad fall.  Bam, bam, bam.  Four weeks in a row of craziness).

Nothing like that this go-round.  Just a plain mellow, relaxing time with no drama.  A lovely quiet time of high summer, hot in the sun but comfortable in the trees.

And now home to a massive batch of windfall Gravensteins (they all decided to fall off the tree, half are sunburned so now I need to do sort and salvage).  Then I need to dig garlic.  Two weeks left before I go back to work.  Yikes.  Where did the summer go?

I did not work on the novel or any writing this weekend–it was all about thinking and planning for work and the school year ahead.  But at least I finally feel like I am back on track and ready to go.  Finally.

And a clear sign that I am ready to go back to being productive–the return of the organized to-do lists.  That being said, ’tis time for me to get to it.

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Happiness challenge 9

Getting ready to go camp in the woods and listen to music for a few days!  That makes me very happy.  And, also, it’s not going to be hot.  Next-to-the-last big event of the summer (there’s Gearcon next weekend).  Back soon.

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August Happiness Challenge #7

Talking on the phone yesterday to my friend Geri.  I haven’t been able to talk to her for a very long time, and hearing her voice again was marvelous.

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Horse updates and other stuff….Norwescon!

Spring has sprung and that means the horsey brain is scattered.  Especially an entire horse’s brain (stallion or mare, means you’ve got hormones to cope with.  And even geldings get a bit goofier in spring).  Mocha’s going through her first big seasonal cycle of the year and it’s made her a bit more opinionated than usual.  Nothing big, for me at least at this point in her training and my riding skill.  Monday night she was flinging her head and feet around like a Saddlebred.  I swear she studied the moves of those Saddlebreds at the last show, because boy there was a certain bit of higher step to her motion in the week after…and now again this week.  She’s moving like G’s old Park Arab schoolies used to (seriously, both Arab schoolies had shown and placed well showing in Park classes in the 1980s, both were Raffon grandget and man did both of them have this HUGE Park trot.  Which is actually quite fun to sit in a Western saddle).  Not that Mocha can step as high as Teso or Moriah, but she does a decent Quarter Horse imitation.

Anyway.  Monday her head was high and her feet were high, plus she was a wee bit stiff.  I finally got tired of trying to get her to settle into softening and took the reiner’s cheat out–we schooled lope.  Collected lope, hand gallop.  Ask for a collected sitting trot for a couple of circuits first, work on three circuits of collected lope, then push on for three circuits of hand gallop.  Rein back to collected lope for three circuits, push on for three more hand gallop circuits.  Change direction, two circuits of collected sitting trot, then the lope circuits.  Change direction, lather, rinse, repeat.  Change direction again, etc, etc, etc.  By the fourth set both of us were hollering uncle.    To pull off the lope transitions I really, really needed to work my abs, sink my heels hard, and sit up.  Which has challenges of its own.  Nonetheless I got good transitions.

Plus Mocha is really liking the KK Ultra bridoon in the Western snaffle strap gear.  She’s not so thrilled about the dropped noseband but at least she doesn’t get too intense about trying to shake the damned thing off until the very end of her session.  We’ve made that compromise, but I tell you, once the Professional’s Choice boots come off, she’s working on shaking off that dropped noseband and doesn’t wait for me.  Even so, she likes it better than having a double noseband and, y’know?  I’ll take a pass on showing in English tack if the movement she gives as a result is what I’ll get.

Monday she wouldn’t soften to the bit but today she would and was very light.  The other thing is that I am really, really liking the feel of latigo leather reins on that KK bit.  Just a bit more stiffness and weight without the godawful feel of the English leather reins.  Web reins are just too damned light for schooling and with the way my hands are these days, the leather support is nicer.  I feel things better.  Mocha responds with a lighter touch, and damn!  I am getting some strong, hard, killer stops with this setup.  Better than with the same saddle in the curb, better than the same bit with English tack.  I just breathe the word “whoa” and she rounds up, drops her head, and stops.  I’m frequently in the position featured in many Monte Foreman clinic shots when she does it in this snaffle setup.

I’ve also talked to G about trying out his sweet iron mullen mouth curb.  He calls it a Weymouth, I don’t think that’s exactly what it is but it’s close.  Very nice mullen mouth on the thinner side, slot at the top for a snaffle rein so you could do a Pelham with it.  It looks a lot like a Monte Foreman curb; if Mocha likes it that’s probably what I’ll look for.  Rather than just run out for a replacement for what I have now, I think I want to check out some other curb options.  We’re doing well in the Western snaffle and I’m happy with that for the moment but I want curb options, not just for show but for when it warms up and she’s limbered up a bit more.  I’ve fallen in love all over again with Western snaffle and I think this spring I’m going to indulge that love.  I’m not going to get real intense about bit shopping until after her float next week.

And on other fronts….Norwescon this weekend.  No panelage, I’m not a big enough name/don’t have the inside connections.  NBD.  That would have put too much pressure on me for this upcoming weekend and with writing and work stuff, I just really didn’t need that pressure.

Miscon, on the other hand…oh boy, am I looking forward to Miscon!

But yeah.  I am just now realizing how Radcon filled an East Side travel void that didn’t happen this year and won’t happen until Miscon.  Of course this has turned out to be the Rainy Cold Winter From Hell.  Must plan better for next winter, unless it turns out to be a sunny El Nino.

Meanwhile, work is work.  I’m still processing inputs from the Allan Schore study group last week.  Seriously one of those three hour groups that flew by in moments and I’m still just stunned by the details.  However, I’m beginning to see how Interpersonal Neurobiology can apply to special ed, at least how I apply it.  Instinct came first, then the logic.

And I need to develop further posts.

I told Steve Barnes I have some thoughts about meditation and exercise.  I need to write that post.

I have some thoughts about aging and worklife.  At some time that needs to get written.

I need to digest Allan Schore.  OMG, Allan in person is extremely intense.

Lots of stuff happening.  But it’s all early stage “in-progress” stuff, nothing which will bear fruit very soon.

And I haven’t begun to express how I feel about politics right now.

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I should be practicing mindfulness more frequently these days.  I spent much of last year’s Interpersonal Neurobiology coursework learning about the value of being in the moment, of being mindful of simple, everyday acts.  We even practiced the mediation of mindful walking and I could see its value in my daily work with middle school kids, many of whom need to have that sort of modeling to help them relax and focus.

But, of course, I get sucked into the go-go-go vortex which is the modern middle school life, as well as the modern corporate/business/daily life model.  I’m juggling a number of demanding hobby activities, attempting to get a writing career going, managing my family, as well as an extremely demanding job this year.  Mindfulness went right out the window, except for brief moments when skiing or schooling Mocha.

And then….

Yesterday I was in a situation with a kid where I needed to be mindful.  I needed to be quiet, centered, and there for the kid.  Without really thinking about it, I took some deep, calming breaths and told myself “I am here.”  And you know what?  It worked.  Maybe not for a long term, but it worked.

Reminder number one.

This morning, I came across this article in the New York Times about mindful eating.  I thought about it.  Decided that today I am going to find moments of mindful action, both in dealing with my writing, my family management stuff, my paperwork, my students, and my colleagues.

Reminder number two.

I’m hoping I don’t need a third reminder.  I have a feeling it might be–erm, uncomfortable.

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