Keep it Surreal

Hello, Friends.

This morning I taught a yoga class while wearing a shirt that says, “Keep it Surreal”. I love that saying so much that I themed the class around it. I talked about the eighth chakra, the aura, and how letting go of the urge to be productive can actually create more productivity.

When we spin our wheels, trying desperately to remember everything that needs remembering, like shopping lists, schedules, appointments, and important events, we take up valuable space in our brains. By pushing ourselves to be more productive we often cause the exact opposite to happen. We can become paralyzed by the crushing weight of responsibility, and the tasks that are never completed and never-ending.

This is why meditation and daydreaming are so important. Taking the time to unplug, even if it is for five minutes a day, can radically change your life. I promise. Taking a deep breath, sitting still, and allowing your mind to wander while noticing the loosening of the tension around your heart is like an adult time out.

Give yourself permission to be a little spacey and resist the urge to “snap out of it” or “switch gears”. Allow the natural processes of your brain and body to do what they do best, without trying to interfere. And for heaven’s sake, please don’t beat yourself up when you forget or misplace something. Just roll with it.

I really felt like we had a great class today. We worked on expanding and cultivating positive energy in our auras, understanding that the energy we project is the energy we need in return. We worked on stretching our bodies and releasing tension with the hope of releasing our need for control over our minds.

“Don’t worry, don’t beat yourself up if you forget your yoga mat after class! What’s wrong with having your head in the clouds? Just stay in that peaceful, blissful state as long as you can and let it be!” I said.

After class, a fellow teacher was kind enough to point out that I’d taught the entire class with my pants on inside out, and then she had to chase me down in the parking lot to return the mat I’d left behind. Keeping it surreal, y’all.

Love,

Danielle

Searching for Work (from Home)

I’m in my forties and this is the first year all three kids have been in full-day school. I am a freelance writer and technical editor, but my client base isn’t growing as fast as I need it to. I am spinning my wheels, trying to figure out where I fit into a workforce I haven’t belonged to in at least ten years. Here’s something I learned this week; if you put your resume on one of those job search sites you’re not obligated to take every opportunity that comes your way, especially if it’s not at all what you’re looking for.

On Monday I put my resume on a job search site. Yesterday morning, I received an email from a major company that is hiring in our area, and they wanted ME. It offered me my choice of three interview times on two different days, which one would be the most convenient for me? The first one, of course! Who knew how many other applicants they were looking at? I was going to beat them all and take the first slot!

Since the writer of the email signed it, “Enthusiastically, Melissa!” I wrote an enthusiastic response. I was granted the interview slot and it took about two hours for me to remember I teach a class at that time. I had to reschedule. Enthusiastically (but professionally) apologetic, I regretted that in my excitement about the opportunity I had forgotten about a prior commitment. “No problem!” Melissa understandingly replied.

My interview was rescheduled for this morning. Nervous and slightly apprehensive, I heeded the strict warning that “_____ is a Fortune 500 Company; the attire for the interview is business!” I dressed the way I imagine that people who work in offices these days dress, and printed a few copies of my resume. I got to the place 30 minutes early and sat in my car, researching the company and position. The first round of interviews was a group interview, according to employee reviews. “Shady business practices!” declared another review. “It’s a great company if you like knocking on doors and trying to convince gatekeepers to let you in.”

Okay, I’d never done this before but they wanted ME so I was sure I’d stand out. Brimming with false bravado, I marched into the office suite located in the strip mall. Five other people trickled in and we got our candidate questionnaires from the receptionist at the window.

At this point I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like this job. I was no longer special, singled out for my eclectic background and strong work ethic. My well written resume meant nothing beyond the word “sales” that shows up somewhere near the bottom. This was a cattle call. Oh well, I rolled my shoulders, cracked my neck, and went into the “interview” room.

The presentation was convincing. Although I am a (proven) horrible salesperson, I was ready to give it my best shot. The company is great, the people are great, and the incentives and bonuses are fantastic. Oh fun, it was time to “share something that no one would know about you from your resume.” The woman sitting next to me loves Minnie and Mickey. The young lady in front of her has moved a lot in her life. The guy on the end loves all kinds of music. The woman next to me loves animals, and the really young guy in front of me designs roller coasters in a virtual setting (Minecraft?). My turn – “Um, I’m not really all that interesting. I like books, yeah. I read a lot, I’m like, a bookworm.”

Nailed it.

At the bottom of the candidate questionnaire there was a numbered scale from 1 to 10. We were to circle the number corresponding with our interest level in a second interview. “Hmm, I think it’s like a 5,” I thought, as I circled the number 10. I really hope I get the second interview because I have a lot of questions. Also I can’t stand rejection. That’s probably the real reason.

I shook hands with the presenter, left the building, and got into my car. A quick check of my inbox revealed an unsolicited email from another big company in the area. They happened upon my resume and are interested in my “extensive sales experience”. I’m definitely going to reply to them. Who knows what could happen? I do know that when we try to force the path we often end up where we don’t belong, but when we wait for the path to reveal itself we find ourselves in the right, albeit unexpected, places.

In the meantime, if you know of someone who needs a creative writer/technical editor, please give them my name.

Love,

Danielle

Working From Home

Hello, Friends!

I’ve got a lot going on these days. I still teach yoga and love it, that will never change. I am also working as a technical editor and my biggest client is a large law firm in California. I love this because I can get most of my work done in the morning while the kids are in school and before the law offices open. I am so grateful for this opportunity and yesterday they just sent a whole lot more work my way. As I see it, I could work 24 hours a day for the next two weeks and still not finish it. This is awesome, except when I have focus issues.

Please, before you start thinking of ways to help me, I want you to understand that this post is meant to be humorous. It will become unfunny to me the moment you start offering tips on focus or time management.

This is me working from home this morning:

Tim graciously takes the rambunctious brood to the bowling alley (along with their cousins, God help him, I do adore him) so I can have some quiet time to work. I complete  a batch of edits and send it in.

I’m hungry,  so I take a break and wander into the kitchen to get something to eat. I notice some dirty dishes, so I load them into the dishwasher and realize the laundry cycle has stopped. Perfect, I’ll just fold some laundry and get an update on the hurricane. I turn on the Weather Channel and grab the clean laundry out of the dryer. I should probably start a load of wash, so I go upstairs to get the dirty laundry. I notice the bed isn’t made to my liking (I do love him, this is all me) so I fix it, fluff the pillows, and start tidying the bedroom. I return kids’ belongings to their rooms, which are another story and oh, I’ll just neaten this one thing up..

Back into the bedroom I go to find the dirty laundry. I dump a load  of unfolded clean laundry onto the bed so I can use the basket, into which I dump the dirty laundry. I’ll fold that clean stuff later.  I carry the basket out to the hallway, where I notice a few things that can be carried downstairs. I grab them and carry everything down, where I set the basket on the kitchen table, put the things away, and go into the other room to fold 3 items, before I remember the dirty laundry.

I’m still hungry, but I head back into the kitchen to get the dirty laundry. I start the load and return to the family room to finally finish folding the load of laundry. By now I’ve missed the storm update for my area, but that’s okay because they’ll run it again.

I’m still hungry. I could cook something or I could get back to work, which I should probably do because my time is going to be running out. Plus, cooking and laundry aren’t paying the bills. Uh oh, the puppy is going to be up from her nap soon and I won’t be able to work. Maybe I should just go to Starbucks. Yes, I’ll go there. I don’t think they have laundry for me to fold, but I also know I don’t want to eat there.

I’m still hungry, and now I’m writing a blog post instead of proofreading someone else’s…

Please don’t worry, I’ll get it together.

Love,

Danielle

 

The Wiggles

I’d like to start off by thanking my mother for mentioning The Wiggles to my four year old. Before that weekend, Susie had no idea the musical foursome existed.

Mom (innocently)- “Susie, do you listen to The Wiggles?”

Susie – “No, Nanny, what’s the wiggle?”

I don’t know what the rest of the conversation was but I do know this; Susie got in the car today and  asked to listen to The Wiggles. I hemmed and hawed, tried to tell her I couldn’t find the CD, and finally produced it when she insisted I check the glove box.

“Toot-toot, chugga-chugga, Big Red Car, we travel near and we travel fa-a-ar…”

I started drifting back in time. Sophia was 14 months old and I was in the throes of all day pregnancy illness, the kind that knocks you flat on your back in the middle of the day. I wasn’t exactly mother of the year as I kept the living room drapes closed and The Wiggles on an endless loop for her; lying on the couch and begging God to relieve me of my nausea.

Fast forward to Sophia at age 2 and Timmy at 4 months, both kids bouncing and wiggling along to the music. I was singing at full volume and dancing around like a crazy person, wishing I could shower but doing anything to keep those kids busy,  anything to keep from losing my mind.

I don’t know when it was that I started to think of the Wiggles as individuals. At some point they were no longer The Wiggles, they were Greg, Jeff, Murray and Anthony.

Ah, Anthony.

There was nothing particularly special about Anthony, except that he was the least nerdy and he had a cool Australian accent. Oh, and he had a great smile. I mean a really, really great smile. And I was sleep deprived and punchy, feeling like it was a lucky day if I could shower and avoid baby puke. Between Tim’s crazy schedule, Timmy’s nighttime antics, and my inability to synchronize the kids’ naps, The Wiggles were a dependable constant in my delirious life.

When they came to our area for a live show, I jumped at the opportunity. Sophia and I sat on the edges of our balcony seats and when that big red car rolled onto the stage I wept with joy. I don’t think I would have been any more excited if Jon Bon Jovi had made a surprise appearance. There he was, Anthony. Right on the stage in front of me with  a  sparkle in his eye and a cartoon superhero’s smile on his face. I’m pretty sure I passed out for a second.

In the seats below me the cheering grew to a roar. Women were throwing flowers on stage, children were holding signs saying “My mom thinks Anthony is hot!” and oh my gosh was that a bra flying through the air? The whole place was in chaos. Anthony was the star of the show and I wasn’t the only demented one who had a not-so-secret crush on him. I collapsed with relief. I was not alone.

I don’t know who the current favorite of the toddler crowd is and I am so very thankful for this, but I have a little piece of wisdom for parents of toddlers. It will get easier, I promise you. I make a solemn promise to you that today’s fad will soon become a distant memory. I can finally listen to The Wiggles without dreaming of moving to Australia or envisioning a private serenade,  however Anthony is definitely getting more handsome with age.

Hang in there parents; you’ve got this.

Love,

Danielle

 

Set Your Intention

Hello, Friends!

As a yoga teacher I speak a lot about setting intentions. Dedicated practitioners set an intention at the start of each yoga practice and discuss the empowerment that comes with living our lives intentionally. The natural assumption is that I would approach every decision with intention and purpose since that’s what I coach others to do. The reality is I have been experiencing a major disconnect between these two things.

I have been wrestling with what I should do and what I want to do. I want to teach yoga, write, and create stuff. I teach yoga, I create stuff (ask me about all the homemade things I make with essential oils and I won’t shut up), but I haven’t been writing for any other purpose than my own amusement. This morning I set my intention. I will still teach yoga, I will still create stuff, and I will write with intention. I will stop wondering if my words have merit or if my work resonates with readers. It takes a big leap of faith to follow one’s dreams but the first step is the intention. I just took the first step.

About five minutes after I started writing this post, the following email appeared in my inbox:

“Dear Danielle,

In a galaxy far, far away…

Your Hammock has been gently taken by the Relaxation Engineers from the Hammock Sky shelves with soft, velvet gloves and placed into a Mother Ship headed for Earth.

A team of 10 intergalactic minions inspected your Hammock, and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before shipping.

Our packing specialist, Bob, received your Hammock in a starry desert. He lit a candle, and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your Hammock into the finest shipping box that money can buy.

We all had a parade afterwards and the whole terrestrial Hammock Sky team hiked up to a mountaintop post office and waved “Bon Voyage!” to your box, on its way to you, in the next days.

I hope you had a great experience shopping at Hammock Sky on Amazon. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Month”. We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back toHammock Sky!

Thank you,

Phil Bourdeau
CEO, Relaxer in Chief, Hammock Sky”

I LOVE this (I also  love my new Hammock Sky hammock). I want to be the person who gets to write fun messages and clever marketing pieces! You know what else? I can be good at it, and I mean really good. So, I’m going for it. I don’t know how it will happen but I set my intention and I will make it happen. Wish me luck, will you?

Now let’s talk about you. What have you always wanted to do? What are you really good at? Think about your talents and gifts. We are on this Earth for a short time and we are all endowed with unique gifts. It is our job to use these gifts to the best of our abilities; we should do our best work. The first step is setting an intention. Do it. Set your intention and don’t give up. Ignore the naysayer in your head; ignore the negative self-speak. Yogi Bhajan said, “Your brain will release thoughts, one thousand per wink of the eye. So you have no thinking power.You only have a pursuing power. It is up to you which thoughts you will pursue.”

What is it you want the most at this moment? Change it from a desire into an intention, that’s setting an intention.  Set your intention and pursue the thoughts that will best serve it. This is the first step toward bringing your dreams to fruition. I will be cheering for you.

Love,

Danielle

 

Hello, Friends!

Hi, friends, it’s been awhile!

I’ve been avoiding my blog as my children grow older. My eldest is almost 10 years old and she values her privacy. My middle child is 8 and he feels the same way. The little one is now a big 4 year old and she also has an opinion about the stories I share. Out of respect for my children I stopped writing about them. That said, I was shocked to realize I haven’t posted in almost 2 years.

Although I’ve been busy with other endeavors, I’ve missed writing my blog. Hence, the name change. A friend suggested the domain hipmamaguide.com and I changed the name of the blog to follow suit. The website name remains the same, but the blog name has changed and I’ve added the new domain name. I hope the changes will inspire more writing as my family grows and evolves. I’ve missed connecting with people this way. I hope you will continue to ask questions and provide suggestions; maybe there’s a story you’d like to share.

I’m happy to be back, I’ve missed you!

Love,

Danielle

Speech Filters

This morning I spent some time reading articles online and poring over the comments. I was on Facebook reading people’s opinions about all sorts of things. I left my computer feeling depleted, fatigued and slightly irritated.

Here’s the issue; vitriol and negativity exhaust me. Reading comments in which people attack others for their beliefs and opinions is depressing. I don’t engage in pissing matches online. Heck, I get enough of that raising three kids and trying to keep peace in my house. Even when there is a debate that I feel passionate about I remind myself, “don’t take the bait”. It’s bait. It has a lovely fishy odor that I would love to chomp on but I will not participate.

Here’s my suggestion; before you post anything online run it through a simple filter. There are all sorts of them out there just pick one. Something I teach my young yoga students sounds like this, “When you are about to say something to another person, like when you’re sad or angry, ask yourself these three questions, ‘Is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?'”

Obviously this is not the filter we would always choose when posting or commenting on an article. I made up a different one awhile ago and it works pretty well for me.

“Is it something I could say to someone in person? Could I meet a person at a party, share polite conversation, have a glass of wine, and then say this thing? If not, I’m not posting it.”

People hide behind their words online. We are such a plugged-in society and I wish we could collectively slow down and think before sounding off. Words are power and with power comes responsibility. Hateful speech is an abuse of power.

I am under no illusions that this little post will influence any haters but maybe after putting it in print I will have the courage to call one of them out. But of course that would be taking the bait, wouldn’t it? 

Love,

Danielle

A Lady I Saw at Walmart

I was shopping at Walmart today. I know I should not spend my money there because of their treatment of employees/women/manufacturers, or whatever else I’m supposed to be angry about, but sometimes I need a one-shop-stop. With vegetable juice, boys underwear, Legos, a bike helmet, and cheese on my list, Walmart was the most obvious choice. Anyway, I was standing in the 20 items or less (fewer) line in front of an employee who was also shopping. 

From behind us, I heard the whine of a motorized cart. There was a crash as a woman who looked like she might be in her late 70’s ran the cart into a big cardboard display of Skittles. “SHIT!” she barked. She had lanky, yellowy-white hair drooping to her shoulders and her skin was papery and gray. She backed the cart up at high speed and crashed into a beef jerky display. “SHIT!” she barked again. Then she looked up at me with crazy eyes (picture the Toon version of Judge Doom from ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit”), held her hands up and shrugged her shoulders. “When you’re drunk, you’re drunk.” she stated.

I looked at the lady behind me. “Did she just say what I thought she said?” as the cart careened around the corner to the next line over.  “She sure did!” the employee replied. We shared a laugh and shook our heads as the woman’s husband hollered, “Holly! Hol-LEEE! Move the cart up, Mama! Move the cart up! Back it up! Move it forward, Mama. Holly, WAKE UP!” With a series of fits and starts, Holly started making her toward the exit. “Shit!” we heard her say, as she nearly hit a tower of beach balls.

Seriously, I would not make this story up. Part of me was horrified, but most of me thought it was pretty awesome. 

Welcome to the Jungle?

Hi, Friends,

I usually don’t discuss anything political on my Facebook page and most certainly not here on my blog about mommy and family stuff. BUT, in light of the um…interesting political um….discourse I’ve been reading lately all over social media, I simply couldn’t let this one go. It has been warping my brain for about a month now and I can no longer ignore it. Ready? Here it is.

A bumper sticker I saw a few weeks ago said the following;

“Repent, America! Get Back to the Bible or Get Back to the Jungle”

I stared at it. I almost ran off the road. I stared at it some more and almost followed the vehicle on which it was stuck.

I’ll give you a minute or two to try wrapping your brain around it.

*crickets*

Figure it out, yet? If so, please enlighten me – I’m still working on it.

*more crickets*

Okay, I’ll give it a shot.

America is going down the wrong path. The only way to straighten ourselves out is by getting back to the bible, which means we should follow a book that (disclaimer – I am not disparaging the bible so you may exhale and release whatever it was you were about to scream at me) is the guiding principle for one of the many religions established in this country. So, we should repent our misdeeds and everyone should convert to Christianity to “Get Back to the Bible”. If you are not a Christian and subsequently do not follow the bible, you should repent even harder.

Okay, that was fun but here is where my mind is truly blown.

“Get Back to the Jungle”.

Last I checked, there are no jungles in America. Well, at least not in North America and I am quite confident that the creator of this bumper sticker didn’t have any other “America” (because there ARE other “Americas”) on his or her mind. Let’s go with, “there are no jungles in North America”. This leaves me with three other options (please comment if you can come up with another, more viable one that proves some sort of sanity in this ill-conceived message).

The first is that if Americans do not repent and “Get Back to the Bible” then we will be flung back in time to the period during which man evolved from apes. Whoah, what? That one doesn’t even make sense! There is no evolution in the bible so how could the writer possibly insinuate that we….? Never mind. Let’s try another scenario.

If Americans do not repent and “Get Back to the Bible” then we should just give up and go live in some jungle somewhere. I’m thinking that one doesn’t really make sense either.

The only other thing I can come up with is that the creator of the bumper sticker believes we should repent and “Get Back to the Bible” or the country will just turn into a godless, forsaken place with big scary animals. Never mind that a jungle is one of God’s creations because that wouldn’t serve our purpose, now would it?

Listen, I have my passionate beliefs and convictions, I have my spirituality, and there are things that drive me crazy just like anyone else. I am merely asking for a bit of tolerance. Ignoring the obvious problem of a Christian bumper sticker delivering a bigoted message, I want to ask each of you to consider carefully the political messages you broadcast. You are doing your cause no justice by re-posting hate-filled, angry, and often unsubstantiated pictures on Facebook. Instead, you are working to feed your opponents’ claims about how out of touch “the other side” is (that’s you).

Try this instead.

Always consider the source of the “polls” and “surveys” you quote. Question motives and intentions. Follow the money. USE SNOPES. Snopes.com is a free website devoted to debunking urban myths. If there is a photo of a political figure doing something objectionable (the infamous and ignorantly shared photo of President and Mrs. Obama comes to mind) think before you re-post it (that one was debunked on snopes.com as a mirror image of the actual photo, hence their pledging allegiance appearing to be backwards). What you broadcast is a reflection of you. Your values, your morals, your ability to negotiate, your willingness to compromise, your capacity for tolerance, and countless other facets of YOU are demonstrated by each message you broadcast.

Wear a pin on your shirt, put a sign in your yard, or put a photo on Facebook. This a country founded on freedoms. Please remember that you may be a caring, compassionate person but if you’re not careful you can come across as an ignorant, intolerant asshole. And that’s what you’re accusing everyone else of being, right?

I concur with my many friends who have thrown up their hands and said, “I cannot wait until this election is over!” I want measured, thoughtful dialog about things that truly matter. I want to see respectful disagreement and discourse. Barring that, just show me pictures of your puppies, kittens, or babies, okay?

Peace, love, hippies, and hair grease,

Danielle

PS. I am an independent voter. I am often accused of being a liberal nut job and I’m married to my soulmate, who happens to be a conservative. 😉

A “Keen Sense of Smell”

My husband has very few habits that I find annoying. The most peculiar one I have dubbed the “Audible/Visible Sniff”. Here’s a story about it.

One very pregnant evening, I was lying around, very pregnant, on our bed pregnantly reading a book while the two kids were taking their bath. In walked my husband, sniffing audibly. Now, most people smell something odoriferous and either grimace or try not to breath in the offending odor. Not this guy. No, he walks toward the malodor, sniffing loudly and flaring his nostrils in an attempt to smell out the source of the stench in a smelly version of “Hot and Cold”. He doesn’t say anything, he just walks around sniffing.

I lay there (did I mention I was pregnant?) in horror as he came sniffing closer and closer to me. I was not merely pregnant, I was eight months along with our third child, looking and feeling like a beached whale in my most uncomfortable pregnancy ever. I was not happy. I was definitely not happy to have my husband’s snarfling nose sniffing around me, honing in on me like radar.

I couldn’t take it anymore and I had to stop pretending I was still reading.

“WHAT?” I finally hollered, “What, what, what is it this time?”

“I smell something.”

“NO shit, you made that pretty obvious!”

“I didn’t want to say anything…”

“About what, smelling something? I just scooped the cat box a few minutes ago – could that be it?”

And then it dawned on me.

“You thought I was the stinky one?”

“Well, I just figured you were napping and I know things change when you’re pregnant, so I thought maybe you were just lying around all pregnant and stuff and maybe….”

“Maybe WHAT? Maybe I smell like cat shit? You think I smell as bad as cat shit? Sure, I was just lying around ‘all pregnant and stuff’, smeIling like cat shit and oblivious to the stench –  I can’t believe this!”

I wouldn’t exactly call it a defining moment in our marriage but I can say that we both learned something from the encounter. I know that his “keen sense of smell” he is so proud of is not entirely accurate, and he learned, well, I don’t think he learned anything since just last week he was trying to audibly/visibly sniff my breath as I sat in the car next to him.