Archive for the ‘Living’ Category


March 28th, 2011 by Jane

The weather keeps springing back on us, doesn’t it? My husband and I spent a long time working in the garden this weekend, as I’m sure many of you did. The above photo is of my rose tree that is about to explode in crimson blooms.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I attended a conference a few weeks ago, led by one of my favorite yoga writers, Judith Hanson Lasater. She was so generous in sharing her knowledge about yoga and about life. I’m still digesting and absorbing many of her aphorisms. She beautifully articulated, sometimes in a funny or moving way, that life is yoga and how we practice both is up to us.

I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you:

Awareness in Tadasana (basic standing pose) is a life skill.

You can only be
yoga, you can’t do yoga.

We have a tyranny of choice in our lives.

Stability is the first rule of yoga.

Relaxation helps everything.

There is no ease in the edges of anything. Happiness and ease live in the middle.

You can’t be compassionate when you’re exhausted.

Yoga is a support group for people who can’t do yoga.

Give yourself 30 seconds of conscious whining everyday.

How do you define “enough?” The answer will define your life.

Yoga is a strategy for remembering your true self.

Breath is always in the present. You can’t breathe for last week or to get ahead for tomorrow.

Svasana (relaxation pose at the end of practice) is coming home. The post-svasana state is who you are.

Even if you don’t practice yoga, these are interesting to think about. I wrote down many more, and I’ll continue to share them with you. Which is your favorite?

For more of Judith’s wisdom and humor, follow her on Twitter @JudithYoga.

What’s Goin’ On…

March 16th, 2011 by Jane

Doesn’t it seem like the world has gone crazy? Earthquakes, tsunamis, meltdowns and lay-offs have taken a toll on many; not to mention the toll that Charlie Sheen is wreaking on the collective good humor of his fans.

I’m thankful that our dear neighbors, who have been living in Tokyo while working on a research project, are finally safe in Bangkok. I can’t imagine how they got through the last week and I cannot wait until I get to hug them and their beautiful boys.

In a time of such upheaval, it seems silly to waste time worrying about mundane things, but that is the way of life, yes? The mind finds little bits to worry into bigger irritations and problems than they actually are. It is difficult to set those small burdens down until we are facing large ones.

Our chaotic, messy, vibrant house has become a peaceful refuge from the insanity of the outside world and I’m grateful for it. But, in between mental hand-wringing for the world, I’ve managed to squeeze in some pedestrian thoughts and activities. Here’s a sample:

1) Inflammation-Free
I’m reading several books on inflammation-free eating and I’m working on folding more of that into our daily diet. The good news is that it is not that far off from the way we eat and cook anyway.

2) Farm Box
I recently signed up for weekly delivery from this lovely company. Delicious, locally-grown food on my doorstep every Friday afternoon feels like Christmas. Thanks to my friend, Lindy for the suggestion and to this blogger for the inspiration. So far, we’ve gotten kale, bok choy, mustard greens, collard greens, mushrooms, tomatoes (hydroponically grown), strawberries (we get ‘em early here in Texas!), Texas oranges and grapefruit, a basil plant, cilantro, baby carrots, baby beets, bibb lettuce, spinach and cabbage. A cornucopia in a green plastic bin!

3) Yoga
A few weeks ago, I attended a conference led by one of my favorite yoga writers, Judith Lasater. I was apprehensive to meet her because I have read her books and followed her teachings for more than a decade. I’m happy to report that I learned a lot and she completely lived up to my high expectations. Plus, she was very funny! The upside is that the conference counts toward my next 300 hour requirements, as I’ve decided to go for my 500 hour teaching certification.

4) Organizing
I’ve spent a chunk of time reorganizing the kids’ rooms and working through piles of stuff. I’m pleased with the results, but there is more to do. I feel compelled to do this right now and I think the busywork is the result of my brain trying to work out a knot in a project I’m working on, which leads me to…

5) Writing
I”m working on a book and I’ve hit a few snags. I plan to chronicle some of the process here in the near future. That is part of the reason for infrequent posts here at 7Of, as my creative juices are funneled into my book. I continue to slog through the book-writing process and I hope to hit my stride again soon. As always, I’ll keep you posted!

That’s about it. What’s going on with you?


January 25th, 2011 by Jane

Hello Blog Friends. I know, I know-it’s been a while. Everything is pretty good over here; I just got caught up in the holidays, minor communicable diseases and an organizing jag.

Over the last two months, I have started four or five posts and then left them withering in cyber storage, unfinished. The great ideas I had to wow you with, shriveled when I sat down at the keyboard. I’ve had a lot on my mind and it seems that I’ve needed to mull. In yoga, this is called turning inward.

Forward bends are a certain group of poses that are conducive to this introspection. Whether standing, sitting or lying down, the point of a forward bend is to fold the body over on itself. Head to knees, hands to floor, belly to thighs. In a forward bend, you can’t look around and distract yourself. Turning the head to either side will get you a side view of your knee. Then you turn your head back to center and try to concentrate on yourself, the pose or maybe the intense sensation in your hamstrings. Either way, in a forward bend, you are always called back to yourself. Yoga’s kinda great that way.

Sometimes, the introspection extends beyond the mat and that’s what has been going on in my world. I’ve been feeling a pull toward quiet, toward solitude, toward thought. Those of you who know me personally are probably on the floor, doubled over with laughter. I know what you’re thinking, “What is she thinking? She’s got three kids! There’s no time for navel-gazing.” And you would be right, which is why my psyche keeps pulling me toward the idea of contemplation. I think most of us are more susceptible to that this time of year, you know, new beginnings and all.

I can’t say that all of this introspection has led me anywhere in particular, but it has been nice, the little snatches I’ve gotten of it.  I’ll let you know what bubbles up, until then, I’ll keep mulling. What are you mulling over this year? The following are a few things to mull, if you need some material.

1) Black Swan
I saw this movie over the weekend and I’m still deciding what I think about it. I liked it and it is a beautifully dark movie, full of gray and black and white images.

2) Poser
I loved this memoir by Claire Dederer and I want to be friends with her. Anyone know her? She captures early marriage and motherhood, weaves them together with yoga and feminism to make a complex,  lovely, funny statement on her life and many other women during this time in our country.

3) Spices
It’s been chilly here lately and since I’m in the mood to mull, I think I will apply that to my spice cabinet. How about some mulled cider? Or mulled tea?

Why I Love Tim Gunn…

November 10th, 2010 by Jane


I’ve never met Tim Gunn, but I’d like to. Yes, he is a distinguished sharp-dressed man. As co-host of Project Runway, he has what looks to be a fun job and he gets to hang out with really famous people. But, the fashion, the glamour and the celebrities are not the reasons I adore him.

Everything I have heard him say and the way he interacts with people is remarkable. I’ve co-opted his catch phrase: Make it work! This covers a lot of area, if needed. An article about him ran in the Austin-American Statesman a couple of years ago and I cut out a quote from him that has been hanging on the side of my fridge ever since:

“I’d like to believe that people respond to the fact that I’m a truth teller, but that I’m thoughtful and respectful of who they are,” he says. “I have a profound respect, frankly, for the human race. Am I disappointed by certain aspects of it? Of course. We all are.”

“But I really believe in the right of people to choose, and I believe that we’re not all the same by any means.”

I love his personal philosophy and wish that more of us lived by his motto. I think his respect and humanity come across in the television shows he has been involved with over the years. As far as I can tell from a 2-D experience of him, he tries to bring his highest and best self to what he is doing and he treats others as if they are doing the same.  Think about that. What if each of us treated others as if? As if we were our best selves at each moment.

I recently gained another reason to love Tim Gunn when I saw that he posted a video as part of the It Gets Better Project. This movement was started by writer Dan Savage as a response to recent suicides of Gay and Lesbian teens reported in the media. Tim Gunn’s video is very personal and poignant. Take a look and see for yourself.

New Neighbors…

October 29th, 2010 by Jane

Halloween is huge in our town. Really. Everyone decorates their houses, the elementary schools hold costume parades and the folks that live on the main drag through town will see 800 trick or treaters on All Hallow’s Eve. Yes, 800. These lovely people spend about $250 on candy each year, just to make little kids, and big ones, happy.

Some years there have been life-sized UFOs on lawns, smoking cauldrons with bloody bones scattering the sidewalks and haunted houses set up  in the garages. This year, there are a lot of spiders covering houses and some blow up yard displays.

We live a few blocks from this Halloween hoopla, so we don’t get quite as many treaters. We like to think that we give out better candy! There are 20 kids on my block and we all meet in the street and troll over to our friends on Halloween Highway for some frightfully good fun. Although, it’s not quite as exciting now that Daylight Savings Time comes after Halloween. The extra daylight has diffused the element of danger caused by walking in the dark, in uncomfortable costumes over broken sidewalks. It’s not quite the same without the sounds of candy spilling from plastic pumpkins and children crying.

This year, we have lovely new neighbors across the street from us, Melissa and Lorinc. They are a young couple, without children and are totally psyched about Halloween in their new neighborhood. They have bought candy and arranged it in a cute bucket for the children.

They are flying in (from here, after seeing him) on Halloween night and won’t be around when the tricking starts. They very sweetly asked if we would distribute the candy among the kids on the block and then put the bucket on the porch with a note that reads “Please take one.”

We must look much more trustworthy than we are…

Happy Belated…and 7+minutes of Greatness

September 24th, 2010 by Jane

I missed the Boss’ birthday yesterday. So, a quick shout out to Bruce Springsteen for still rockin’ it at 61.

Here ya go-you’re day is about to get waaaaayyyyyy better after you watch these:

Part One

Part Deuce

And if you think that Springsteen’s music isn’t for you, watch and listen to this. In my humble opinion, this is his most romantic song to date. What do you think?

7 Fried Things

August 18th, 2010 by Jane

Way down here in the Heat Stroke State we are enjoying a heat index of 108ºF today. We Texans use our summer heat as a conversation starter, joke incubator and a badge of honor. Just walk into any public establishment and someone will catch your eye and say, “Hot out there, idn’t it?” Then, of course there are those who try to expand on the classic “It’s hot enough to…” Surviving a Texas August is no easy feat. Physically and psychologically, it’s our version of being snowed in, like those winters in South Dakota. Only with rivers of sweat.

Weathering August in Texas requires a commitment to hydration, the slowing down of your usual routine, and a willingness to use your life savings for your increased cooling bill. Mooching from a friend with a pool doesn’t hurt, either.

This time of year, my mind gets fuzzy and apathy is the general state in which you will find me. The only real relief comes with the first mini-cold snap we get around the last week of September, when the temperature drops down to a positively breezy 89ºF. Until then, I find that salsa and chips help me; something about eating spicy food makes all the sweating worthwhile.  Pair it with a mojito and you’ve got a party. But. You still have to hydrate: water, water, water or you will get sick, sick, sick. Here are seven things that suffered in the heat.

1) My Yard
The above photo is from my garden. My husband, who is handy with a garden hose, didn’t want me to post this because he thinks it reflects badly on him as my yard boy. It doesn’t. In Texas, everyone’s yard looks like this right now. Well, except for Lance Armstrong’s.

2) My Brain
I keep running into people I know while doing back-to-school shopping. We smile and chat.  We ask how everything is going and say good-bye with more smiles and well-wishes. Then I spend the next day-and-a-half trying to remember exactly who those lovely people might be. I look forward to the return of my memory when the weather cools.

3) Chicken
I have not turned on my oven in about 7 weeks. I have been “assembling” dinner, more than cooking it. Tuna salad, fruit plate with ham and cheese, chef’s salad and cold cereal have all been on the menu lately. In my desperation to keep the house cooled and my family fed, I even fried some chicken strips the other day. The kids wanted Happy Meals, so I made Mommy Happy Meals at home. Not to be confused with Mother’s Little Helper, of course.

4) Rice
I’m going to try this recipe for fried rice from Mark Bittman the next time I have leftover rice. Economical, yummy and kid-friendly. Don’t have the veggies listed? Use what you have and it will still turn out well.

5) Our Phone
The base station to our home phone fried in a storm two days ago and I haven’t been able to get a new one yet. They were out of the one with four extensions at the local WalMart, so that means a wait or a trip into Austin to Costco. No my house is not huge, but yes, we need four extensions because when two haven’t been recharged and another is in the bowels of a piece of furniture, then I NEED that fourth extension.

6) Science
Check out the Southern Fried Science blog by some graduate students in North (and South) Carolina. I don’t know half the stuff they’re talking about, but they make it seem fun!

7) Tomatoes
If you’re going to drag out your cast iron skillet to fry something, there is nothing worthier for your efforts than Fried Green Tomatoes. If you can resist eating them straight from the skillet (watch your tongue!) then put them in a sandwich. Mmmmm-mmmmmm!

7 Questions…

June 20th, 2010 by Jane

Our three girls are very curious, active and clever people. But we’re not biased! We enjoy them so much every day, even when they are pushing the limits of our patience. There is a lot of good stuff we get in return, of course and some days we think we are living the modern version of the TV classic Kids Say the Darndest Things.

One of the twins, Twin A on the sonogram, is especially curious about everything. Her nickname around here is Lois Lane. She always knows what is going on in the house and she comes up with questions that we have a hard time answering most days. Here is a sample.

1) Why do we have chins?
Her dad told her it was so our noses wouldn’t slide off of our faces.

2) What’s the number before infinity?
She understands what infinity is, so this one really blew our minds.

3) Why are eyes different colors?
We consulted our neighbor, who is an eye doctor for this one. She gave Lois Lane a really good explanation about pigment and people’s different coloring.

4) Why do boy lions have fur around their neck?
Best guess: For protection when they fight other boy lions.

5) Follow up question: And why do they have that little bit of fur at the end of their tail?
Anyone got this one?

6)  Why are pirates called pirates?
From Latin and Greek origins meaning to attempt or attack.

7) What’s your favorite, Favorite, FAVORITE thing to do?
Be with you and your sisters and your dad.

7 Bright Spots

April 7th, 2010 by Jane

Spring has sprung and the world looks a little brighter, yes? Here are a few more bright spots for you to enjoy!

1) Who is Amy?
No, not our own lovely, Amy K. Brown. I am talking about the equally lovely Amy K. Rosenthal. She is a Chicago-based writer and maker of merriment. Her books are whimsical and touching, her small films are truly inspiring. And in my opinion, The Beckoning of Lovely is brilliant. Her work will be a definite bright spot in your life.

2) Guess What’s Exploding in Central Texas?
See the above photo, shot by our favorite photographer, Amy K. Brown.
We are having an awesome wildflower year here in Central Texas, due to all of the fall rains we had. The state flower of Texas is the bluebonnet and they are showy flowers in any year, but this one is a bluebonnetpalooza! Bring your toddlers on up here to put a heinie print in a field on the side of the highway!

3) Do you know TED?
If you are feeling down about the state of the world, then watch some of these TED conference videos. At the Technology Engineering and Design conference each year, some of the smartest people on the planet share their ideas and plans for making the world a better place. It gives one hope.

4) Got Gratitude?
I have been a fan of MJ Ryan’s books on gratitude for years now, my favorite being A Grateful Heart, but I didn’t know that she is an expert on change and adaptability. Peruse her website and blog and you might become a fan, too.

5) Know Any Young Poets?
Check out New Moon, no not that one. New Moon, the online and print magazine for girls, written by girls.

6) Wanna Get Lucky?
Katherine Center’s new book, Get Lucky is out today. I know what I am reading this weekend!

7) How Do You Eat an Elephant?
One Peace at a Time, a documentary by actor, writer and Austin-resident,Turk Pipkin, is out on DVD this week. If you missed his first film, Nobelity, then run out and get it.  In Nobelity, Pipkin asked Nobel laureates what to do about some of the world’s most pressing problems and their answers are simple and fascinating. A movement grew out of that filming experience and the Pipkin family started an non-profit to help solve some of those problems. Watch both of them back to back; with nine Nobel laureates, great music and Willie Nelson-you won’t be sorry! Or go meet Turk this Friday at the release party at Waterloo Records, if you are in the Austin area!

7 Quotes on Being

March 22nd, 2010 by Jane

1) If you want to be happy, be.  ~Leo Tolstoy

2) I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself. ~Maya Angelou

3) The white light streams down to be broken up by those human prisms into all the colors of the rainbow. ~Charles R. Brown

4) We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have-for their usefulness. ~Thomas Merton.

5) Each of us literally chooses, by his way of attending to things, what sort of universe he shall appear to himself to inhabit. ~William James.

6) We could say that meditation doesn’t have a reason or doesn’t have a purpose. In this respect it’s unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don’t do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment. ~Alan Watts

7) You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. ~The Buddha

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