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Back to Nature with Style

Back to Nature with Style

http://quirkycontemplation.wordpress.com/

What is it about cleaning that women hate so much? I mean those yellow rubber gloves are hideous, so there is a total lack of good fashion sense (my 4-year-old daughter would say this, not me). Cleaning is one of those annoying items on my task list that is never really ‘done’. By the time I finish getting one part of the house clean, another part is already dirty.

So what is a girl to do? How can this horrible chore be made….I was go to say pleasurable? What about exciting? No, definitely not! How about tolerable? I just want the bathroom clean. If I could afford a maid I would hire one. I have heard other women comment that they would be willing to go out and work another job just so they would have enough money to pay for a cleaning lady. (I am assuming they don’t want to go out and get a job as a housekeeper.)

How can I make this miserable tasks go by quicker? Is there any way to make it fun? Or at a minimum less drudgery? The answer is a cleaning buddy. Someone who comes and hangs out with you – talks, jokes, gossips, and laughs with you while you clean. Think how fast a run goes when you run with someone? Why can’t it work for cleaning too?

What is a cleaning buddy and what do they do? Well, you as the cleaner need to pull a chair into your bathroom, hand your cleaning buddy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and then start cleaning away. You thought an IPOD helped you cleaned faster! This is amazing. Although to be totally honest, I am not sure if it goes by quicker, or if it seems like fun therefor you don’t really care how much time it takes. Did I just say that cleaning the bathroom was ‘fun’?

The kids found a ladybug in the yard today and spent the afternoon entertaining it. They let it walk up their arms, crawl from hand to hand and built a rock playground for it. I can’t imagine how the ladybug survived (entertainment-wise) before it met two kids to occupy it.

What is funny is that I was sitting here trying to think of things to do to entertain the kids today. Where could I take them? How was I going to keep them occupied for the afternoon? For some reason it seems like if we stay in (or around) the house too long the kids go crazy. They get cabin fever. They fight and fight and they can’t seem to get along. Usually my options (to keep them out of trouble) are to go outside (go for a walk, play at the playground) or to someplace inside (the library, bounce house, or a toy store).

Today I discovered a new solution to my child entertainment problem and it is called the ladybug. What was great was that the ladybug was free of cost and provided hours of fun. Even a 993 piece Lego set could not surpass the value I got from this ladybug. One challenge was that there was only one ladybug for two kids, and obviously they don’t want to share anything. My other fear was that the ladybug would die or it would get lost. Unfortunately, the poor ladybug did succumb to a tragic case of ‘too much attention’ or maybe it was suffocation in my 4-year-old’s daughter’s sweaty hand. Oddly she didn’t even notice, because she thought it was sleeping.

I decided that next time I go to the garden store I need to pick up some ladybugs (not just one, maybe hundreds). The ladybugs aren’t only good for my garden aphid problem, but will save me from having to cart the kids from place to place to prevent war from breaking out in my living room or in the back seat of my car. The kids will be able to each have their own ladybug to entertain so I can entertain myself with a glass of wine and a good book.

As I sit outside on this May morning I wonder why I feel chilled after the high 90’s temperatures of yesterday. I am wearing long black yoga pants, a long sleeve shirt, and flip-flops. My feet are a bit cold, or is it my ankles? Strange, but my body temperature (and comfort) seem to be solely determined by my feet. To warm up I have covered myself with a down duvet. It actually feels like I am in a cocoon. One might ask,”If you are cold, then why don’t you go inside?” Oddly, the temperature inside is about the same as outside, although it is air conditioning dependent.

If I could live without air conditioning, I would. I think that it is silly that all summer when the mercury is hitting 110+, I am sitting inside with long sleeve pants, long sleeve shirt and my precious down duvet. Insanity? Yes. This is what happens when you love the heat but your husband has a different idea about temperature comfort.

I constantly run around the house (in vain I might add) to change the thermostat for the air conditioning up to 82 (from 75?) so that I might gain a reprieve from the arctic air being blown at me. Of course, I am the one who always ends up getting seated right in front of the air vent!

Why can’t we as humans be more comfortable with the outside temperature? I totally understand not wanting to leave the house when the temperature hits 110 in the middle of August, but what is wrong with 80’s? I mean, it is still 30 degrees cooler than the outside? Why do we need to waste so much energy cooling the house just so I can suffer in the cold? If I wanted cold, I would move to Wisconsin. Then at least I would have the comfort of a ‘hot-dish’ to keep me warm regardless of the outside temperature.

I have made a choice to appease my husband and his need to live in a refrigerator (and leave the thermostat alone). I have retreated to the patio to enjoy the outside temperature. It is a lot more comfortable, and fortunately last year we invested in ‘outside’ furniture (not plastic chairs or wicker…real furniture! I sit in my comfy upholstered chair with my feet relaxed on a stool. This really isn’t bad at all. I could get used to this. Come August I will need someone to bring me some kind of iced beverage when it heats up. Although I enjoy the reality of the outside temperature, I am not completely oblivious to the heat – I need something to keep cool. How are you staying cool this summer?

As I was sitting on the patio in a comfortable chair, enjoying the warm air of an Arizona evening, my 4-year-old daughter handed me necklace after necklace to put on. The necklaces were pink and purple with an occassional silver or white one thrown in. It was as if she had a bottomless pit of necklaces to hang around my neck. As I looked down at my collection of necklaces, I wondered, “Can life’s riches (typically jewelry more valuable than these plastic necklaces) weigh us down?”

If we weren’t hindered by our wealth, would we live our lives differently? Would we be willing to take more risks because we have nothing to lose? It seems as we gain money and valuables, we feel like they give us comfort and security. More comfort gives us more stuff to lose. We have nice things, yet I wonder if it just stresses us more because the ‘things’ are holding us back from true happiness.

Risks are for those who have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Do we stop pursuing our dreams because of fear? Or of losing what we have? If we always play it safe, we might never get what we really want and need. The heavy weight of our ‘necklaces’ strung around our necks pulls us down, closer to the ground. We become so heavy that we cannot move forward because we are so loaded down with our comfort and security.

The most important thing we have is us. What is inside. We are not defined by the stuff we have, or the things we surround ourselves with. I realize, as I sit here in my chair, the simplicity in which I could be happy. All the things around me – the air, the water in the pool, the light above my head and even the patio itself, are temporary. A pen and a notebook are all I need to write. A chair provides a place to relax, but any chair, pen or notebook would do. However, if I assume that all of the ‘stuff’ will be gone tomorrow, then when I wake up in the morning, I will experience excitement and euphoria that it is still there. Really? Or would I have more opportunity if I woke up to nothing? The best part of the day is waking up with the opportunity to live another day, to breathe another breath, or to run another mile. When the door of opportunity has opened, what will you do with yours?

An idea becomes a wish
A wish becomes a dream
A dream is just a dream
Not real life it seems

Oh dream, Oh dream
How can it be?
What though art?
A vision from the heart?

Where might I go?
My brain will know
It tells me in a dream
What might I glean?

My dream is my guide
My dream by my side
Pushing me along
like a bird’s songs

Dreams grow and grow
Someday I will know
I can live my dream
A dream is life I believe

I arrived at my hotel this evening after a day of traveling and meetings and I was starving. For breakfast I had eaten a bowl of yogurt. At the airport I drank a Cafe Mocha and for my lunch (if you can call it that) I ate a granola bar. I was starving and I wanted something to eat quickly. I also didn’t feel like sitting in a restaurant (alone) to eat. I was first thinking Cheesecake Factory (for the obvious desert reasons), but it didn’t quite fit my need to avoid dining alone or the desire for immediate satisfaction.

Another option for dinner was a Schlotzky’s Deli down the street. The sandwiches are yummy and I could get take-out! Best of all, I could sit comfortably in front of the TV in my hotel room while I ate. I can’t believe my desire to sit comfortably in front of the television while I ate was such a significant factor in my decision making process. If I wanted TV while I ate, I should have just gone to a sports bar. If I was a guy, a sports bar would have made a lot of sense. Unfortunately there isn’t a “Lifetime” bar or a “Sex in the City” bar.

I opted for Schlotzky’s and ordered my turkey and guacamole sandwich, jalapeno chips, root beer and chocolate chip cookie. It was all that I thought it could be. Best of all I didn’t have to do the dishes! Who knew that eating out on a business trip could be so satisfying even without going to the Cheesecake Factory.

I went to a Power yoga class at my gym today. Am I still allowed to call it a ‘gym’ or should I be saying ‘health club’ or ‘fitness club’. When I say gym it seems to be out of some antiquated habit I cannot break. I used to be a member of Gold’s Gym (even though I only took aerobics classes there). I feel like I date myself saying gym. Then again, maybe I date myself saying aerobics. I wasn’t sure if it was dated or regional. Sort of like saying pocketbook instead of purse.

I hadn’t been to a yoga class in about 4 years. I recall taking a class after Paige was born and I was in complete misery because in the class you were supposed to use your ‘core’ and my ‘core’ had just spent 9 months being stretched and was like an old rubber band; it wasn’t snapping back very quickly. So today after a multi-year hiatus from yoga, I re-entered the yoga world. First fatal error was that I didn’t have a yoga mat. I figured it was a gym (sorry, fitness club) they must have yoga mats? I actually lucked out because there were 2 yoga mats available (and I got one!). Clearly I was an oddity because everyone else had their own mats.

I knew the class might be a little hard (it was listed as intermediate), but I figured I run 2-3 times a week – it couldn’t be that hard! Well, I learned it was ‘that hard’. I felt like there were muscles that hadn’t been used in decades; although surely it couldn’t have been that long. Could it? I was lucky that I remembered most of the poses the instructor was doing – it was just a challenge keeping up. I didn’t know calling on these dusty and rusty muscle groups was going to make me so out of breath. One thing was for sure; I got my workout for the day. (Before the class I was worried it might not be strenuous enough for me.) My friends who are ‘yoga junkies’ are laughing at me now. I can hear it.

My favorite part of the class was the relaxation at the end. I could forget about all my worries (including the torture I had just experienced for the last hour). I actually really liked the class because it made me focus on my body as I made it move into all these crazy poses (I tried to get it to move, not always successful though). All I could think about was connecting my mind to my body. Everything else from the day seemed to fall away. I think I gained some much-needed patience that lasted through dinner and the usual evening routine with the kids. If my body could stand it, I could do that class every day and be a lot more mentally grounded. I probably won’t make it back tomorrow (since I may not be able to get out of bed) but I did promise the instructor that I would be back. Maybe I said that through the mind fog I experienced after the relaxation portion of the class. I am sure my post class yoga high will wear off tomorrow. Then I can decide if I am ready for another workout, or should I say yoga practice?