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Maine Ready to Apply For More Broadband Internet Grants

Halloween

I’m debating what to do about Halloween.

I loved dressing up and collecting candy as a kid. But as an adult – and someone with a growing awareness of our country’s health crisis – I don’t want to encourage the consumption of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavorings…you get the idea.

I could hand out boxes of raisins, but I hated that as a child.

I could hand out toothbrushes, but again, that’s no fun.

I could bake something – treats using crispy brown rice cereal and natural peanut butter – but I know homemade goods would get thrown out by vigilant parents.

I have a friend who has her kids put their loot in a pile before bed. During the night the Great Pumpkin comes and Poof! their candy is turned into little games and trinkets from the dollar store. I also know a dentist who gives money in exchange for the kids who turn in their candy.

Hmm.

I was reading a recent issue of Body & Soul magazine and saw a small article on fair trade. Most chocolate, the article said, is exported from the Ivory Coast where kids aren’t going to school because they’re working on cocoa farms to help with family income. Buying fair trade products ensures that the money goes directly to the farmers and their communities instead of all the middlemen. And it just so happens that you can buy individually wrapped pieces of fair trade dark chocolate (according to some studies, dark chocolate does have a few health benefits).

Click here for a link to the article and a list of the companies.

Lazy Bones

During yoga class the teacher, Tina, tells me to lift up a bit. I’m squatting in a pose (it’s sort of this made up pose that I’ve dubbed the Tinasana) and Tina says my middle is sagging.

“The muscles in your body will automatically revert to being lazy if given the chance,” she says.

Lazy? But I’m working so hard, I think.

Later, in Warrior II I’m concentrating on my arms when Tina reminds me to firm my thighs. If I don’t pay attention, they become lazy.

Yet another pose and my feet are splaying instead of pointing in the right direction. Guess why?

Really. Out of all the things in the world, I don’t consider myself lazy. But apparently even when I’m truly working on my alignment there are parts of my body that are secretly trying to get away with as little as possible.

After class I start thinking . . . does that apply to other areas of my life?

No way. I’m motivated! Diligent!Relentless in my pursuits!

Aren’t I?

Except in the mornings. I like to linger in bed. It’s warm and cozy. Plus I’m still sleepy. By the time I do get up, shower, and eat breakfast, I’m always surprised at how much of the day has gotten away from me before I make it to my home office.

And walking. I love my afternoon walks. Love them. Then why do I skip them from time to time, opting instead to sit and work a little longer?

Speaking of work, I realized something as I began investigating this whole laziness issue. If I have ten things on my “To Do” list, I tend to opt for the easiest projects first. When I do start working on a hard topic (say an article that requires a lot of research or possibly a personal essay that forces me to do some inner work), I will drop it as soon as I feel stuck. I tell myself I’ll get back to it and turn my attention to the easier assignments again.

Isn’t it funny the insights yoga gives us into our lives? So if you’ll excuse me, I have an article I’ve put off. I’d better get working on it.

Downhill

I carefully set out my outfit.

Organized my purse.

Planned breakfast.

Gathered the leash to walk the dog.

And then, finally, set my alarm clock.

As a writer, I’ve been working out of the home for a couple years, but Monday morning I was due in a company’s corporate offices for a six-week, on-site editorial gig. I’m not a morning person at all, so the night before, I needed to prepare.

Food-wise, the first day went okay. I ate fruit and oatmeal for breakfast, had a tuna sandwich in the office’s cafeteria for lunch, and, back home, had enough energy left over to cook a healthy vegetable-based dinner. That was Day 1. The rest of week I watched myself slide downhill. (I’d forgotten how corporate jobs suck every second of your time away – making it hard to prepare fresh meals. Oh, and the sugar. Being Valentine’s week, the chocolate overload running through that office – Oy! I ate too much of it.) By Friday, my fridge was bare (no breakfast fruit), I was still eating tuna for lunch (hello – mercury overload?), and dinner was refined pasta at a restaurant.

My throat felt a little . . . sore. OMG, was I getting a cold? Dang it. I didn’t have a single cold in 2007, and I suspect it was because my immune system was stronger due to better eating habits.

“I haven’t eaten one vegetable today,” I said to Ron Friday night. (I’m not counting a wilted piece of lettuce and green tomato slice on my tuna sandwich as real vegetables).

Saturday morning, as my sinuses clogged and my throat felt worse, I rushed my husband out the door with a grocery list. I juiced vegetables and drank the concoction down in a few gulps. I ate an orange. For lunch, I made a homemade bean soup. I ate another orange. For dinner I made a veggie omelet.

Too late. I officially had a cold. I knew the best thing I could do for myself was rest. I cancelled all weekend plans, and I slept and drank hot tea. In bed Sunday night, I figured I’d be calling in sick the next day. But miraculously, I woke up cured. Again, I blame the vegetables for the quick recovery.

This week I’m doing better (not great, but better) managing the “office” life. Our home fridge is stocked with healthy foods to choose from in the morning, I’m packing my lunch (dark leafy green salad with cranberries, walnuts, and a little goat cheese), and dinner is mapped out (today we’re having a brown rice risotto with asparagus and a mixed greens salad).

I’ll be sure to toast to good health.

Basic Equipment

I enjoy the beginning of yoga class because the opening is generally “easy” – well, at least physically (the meditating part can bring up its own set of challenges).

But before we practice some of the more difficult poses, we usually we open by sitting in Sukhasana for a few minutes. And then maybe move onto our hands and knees to practice Dog Tilt and Cat Pose. It’s a place for gentle movements. A time to bring awareness to our breath.

The other day at the beginning of class, we were on our hands and knees with a neutral spine (tabletop). The teacher asked us to lift our right arm off the ground and straighten it so it pointed forward. Both of our arms were engaged. The left one pushing the floor away, and the right one reaching for the wall in front of us (in a way where we weren’t scrunching our shoulder blade up to our neck). She had us hold that position. For a long, long time. It was hard. (Don’t believe me? Try it.)

“Some poses can be deceptive,” the teacher said. “Not as easy as they seem.”

I love that about yoga. I love that I don’t need an expensive gym membership or fancy equipment or special shoes to build flexibility and strength. I just need my body, my mind, and my spirit.Š

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