Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dearly departed

A week and a half ago my mother's father passed away. He lived a long, full life- 98 years. Even when death is a relief, it still hurts as a loss.

My grandad lived a vibrant life. He overcame a lot of odds to do so. He had polio as a child, then had corrective surgery that enabled him to walk, although that involved fusing his ankle bones. He grew up without his father, and my great-grandmother and her brother, both single parents, decided to raise their families together. My grandfather and grandmother married late in life for that time- 33 and 28, and had their only child 8 years later.

They traveled a lot of the southwest. He took a ton of photographs, which I treasure. He collected guns and listened to music. He was a good worker and an honest, kind man.

His wife, my grandmother, died 11 years ago. Although it goes against what I've theologically believed most of my life, it gives me a great deal of peace to think of them being reunited in some way and resting in peace next to each other.

My grandad's life gives me hope that rough starts don't define you. An adventurous spirit can take you beyond where anyone thought you could go. And love is true and faithful.

And it was poignant to sit next to my nephew during the service. Life does go on, and though it is sometimes sad, this is the way it should be. I was reminded of the Chris Rice lyric-

Like a swing set in a graveyard, like a bloom in the desert sands, love is gonna break through.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The truth about dogs

If you follow me on any social media outlet besides my blog, you know that being a dog owner has become a major part of my life over the past 8 months. I am aware that I dance the line of being a crazy dog lady, and now I just went and got another. But I figure it's time to talk about what having a dog has meant to me and how it has made me grow, maybe explaining some of the enthusiasm.

I got Lady on the day that I moved into my apartment in Norman. Even though I was only moving 30 minutes away, I had the foresight to know it'd feel a lot further. When you're single and an introvert, it is easy to become very inwardly focused. In the grand scheme of life's trade-offs, while my situation means freedom, it also can become a petri dish for selfishness and loneliness.

I've noticed in relationships over the years (romantic and platonic) that I have a hard time letting go of doing things my way and allowing for changes of plans, because that's all I've known for 8 years. So one of the reasons I wanted a dog is because I want to let go of some self-centeredness. A dog is a good place to start, because even though they can be demanding, they also only give you crazy love and no hostility (my dog, at least). If I can learn to adapt my own desires around an animal that loves me totally, that should be a good warm up for an imperfect person. :)

And I have to say, it's worked. Lady is demanding of attention, but it's been so good for me. We went almost 300 miles in 2012, many of which I would have been sitting on my lazy butt for if it hadn't been for her. She gives me something to move forward with besides myself. The first months in Norman when life felt upside down, there were many days I wanted to sit and pout over change I didn't think I could handle, but she kept me looking forward.

She's good company. And she needed company while I was gone 40 hours a week at work, so enter Davy Crockett. :) He's a 3 year old fox terrier. He was rescued from a case of animal cruelty, and recently recovered from some serious medical issues. But the kid has spirit. He is brave and sweet and feisty. He and Lady are having a grand time.

Maybe I'm well on my way to becoming a "crazy dog lady" (although there are NO plans for more dogs! I always knew I'd plan to get a 2nd eventually, and now that's done), but frankly, I'd prefer to be a crazy dog lady compared to the alternative of where'd I'd be without them. For me, dogs have been good for my soul.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


A few months ago, I bought a package of yoga classes from Ashtanga Yoga Studio. It was about to expire, which spurred me to use it (as is true with most of my group buying experiences).

I've gone to two Level One classes. The first time I was kind of like... are we sure this is an intro class? Everyone else seemed like a pro! But the teacher, Andrew (and owner of the studio) is great. There's no feeling that you should be able to do anything crazy, he just wants you to focus on breathing and doing what is comfortable.

This is Andrew:

This is how I look:

Anyhoo, so far it's been great. But I'm blogging about it because Andrew said 2 things that have made me think.

He talked about how everyone knows that physical exercise makes you feel better mentally, but yoga is the only exercise developed to take care of the mind, rather than train you to be an athlete or whatever. Hmm, good observation.

Also, he leads us in meditation for the last 15 minutes of class, and he said that mental peace is integral to any other kind of physical peace. He said, "You know that some people are trapped inside a hell of their mind?" Yes, I do know people like that. It's sad and pathetic. And I'm thankful I am not one of those.

Will I keep going to Ashtanga? Yes, I think so. The people are genuinely welcoming and kind, and I am enjoying yoga. Will I become a full fledged yogi? Doubt it. But stranger things have happened. :)