Positively Zen

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Tai Chi Thursdays are totally where it’s at.

Today, I did my first Integral Tai Chi routine since maybe February 2016. It was slightly more difficult than I remembered since I’m so out of shape, but it was just as much fun and rewarding. I had to use the videos I used in the past because I got a little rusty and didn’t quite remember all the movements and the mantras, but eventually, it came back to me and the workout flowed as naturally as it had in the past. A couple more times and I’ll be able to do it with ambient music instead of videos, meditating with Sheila Chandra’s “Sacred Stones” in the background, and all will be right in the universe again.

The final segment of the workout, as always, is meditation. There are several stages of this segment, one of which is the stage of appreciation where you have to think about two good things that happened to you in the last 24 hours or the past week. So I thought about my daughter finally being healthy, no more fever, no more suppositories, no more sleepless nights, and I smiled a huge and honest smile. Then I also thought about yesterday. I had the day off work and used the time to bake a broccoli quiche. Both my husband and my daughter loved the holy hell out of it, and my huge smile became even bigger. Thank the Mother Goddess. Blessed Be Her Name.

As I came out of the meditative state, I made a decision to try my best to reduce the amount of negativity in my life. I want to stop lamenting the weather. Instead of thinking about how much winter sucks, I should focus on the warmth I feel when I’m at home with my loving husband, my amazing daughter and my beautiful dog. Instead of thinking about politics and getting all pissed off, I should focus on the peace of mind that I always have when I surround myself with my art and music. Instead of worrying about my health, I should focus on my Tai Chi routine and look forward to next Thursday so that I can indulge in yet another workout and recharge my state of positivity.

Always focus on the positive. A grateful heart is a happy heart. Namaste.

Peace, love and invocating the dragon.

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As I Was

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Yesterday, I made a few lists in my journal to see how my habits and hobbies have changed from my pre-maternity to my post-partum time. I wanted to see if I would be able to reclaim some semblance of my pre-pregnancy life.

Things I regularly did before pregnancy and motherhood include:
– Zines
– Tai Chi
– Baking/cooking
– Reading books
– Writing letters
– Power walks
– Playing guitar

Things I do now:
– Laundry
– Raising my kid
– Sleep

Despite that enormous shift, I have managed to engage in some of my earlier activities. I made a zine and am working on another one, I baked cookies, I read two books and am ordering a few more, and I wrote some letters. This is not bad at all considering parenting is a full-time occupation. And yes, I did most of these while neglecting laundry and sleep.

Now, I am not stupid. I know that all these activities will never take a front row seat in my life ever again. I’m under no illusions about that. My life right now is all about my daughter and everything I do is for her, and I love and cherish every minute of my life as a mother. So these other activities that define me in every other aspect of my life will not be regular activities as they have been before.

But since they are important as part of my self-care, I will still try to find/make time to do them. I think it’s also important for my daughter to see her mother engaging in self-care and doing things that she likes. I want to lead by example and teach her that she too should take care of herself and do things that she enjoys and that are important to her, whatever it may be. If she grows up to love art just like her mother, that’s great! I will be thrilled to make art with her. If she grows up to love playing basketball like her father, that’s amazing! I’ll sign her up for lessons or encourage her to play with her father in the backyard or the park.

I think it’s especially important with activities that promote good health, such as Tai Chi and power walks. I want my daughter to lead a healthy active lifestyle and make exercise a regular part of her weekly routine.

SO! The next item on my list of things to reclaim is my Tai Chi exercises. I seriously need to get my ass back in shape, dammit. Not to mention my back, my legs, my arms, my neck, my abs… I feel completely wrecked. Integral Tai Chi should do the trick. I am attempting to make it a weekly thing as it was once before. But instead of Friday mornings (during which I am too busy with my daughter) I will set it on Thursday mornings.

Fuck sleep. Sleep is for the weak. The Dragon will devour any shred of my drowsiness and The Phoenix will team up with The Tiger to make me own the day and fuck shit up.

Peace, love and Corpse is for the Living

chakras

 

Hannukrap

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Since becoming a mother, I realized I’ve become quite ambivalent about holidays. On one hand, I like them because, well, they’re holidays. On the other, I really do not like them because they often involve spending a lot of time with family, which means having to travel to the south, which in turn means having a very upset baby for the next couple of days seeing as her sleeping and eating patterns become all screwy.

So Hannukah was no different. And just like on the September/October holidays, my poor baby got sick, although this was not as a result of traveling to the south but rather as a side effect of the shot she got the previous week.

So the first three days of Hannukah were spent lighting candles, eating doughnuts and shoving suppositories up my kid’s bum. The fever was finally defeated by Friday evening, and the next day, my husband and I had a very nice Shabbat. We took my baby and my dog out to the dog park as it was nice and sunny. On the way back home, my baby fell asleep. My husband chopped up some fresh veggies and we sat to watch TV. The rest of the day went by uneventfully, thank Goddess.

On Monday, my family planned a birthday party for my grandmother. It took place in a Karaoke place in Be’er Sheva. My husband and I absolutely DESPISE Karaoke. Seriously, Karaoke was the reason earplugs were invented. Karaoke killed the hippy with the unplugged acoustic guitar and his coombaya circle. Karaoke was created solely for people who can’t sing but who think they can.

But everybody was going to be there, including my cousin from Belgium. I spent most of that evening going back and forth between the room where my family was, with the awful sounds of Karaoke and the cigarette-smoke-saturated air, and the next room which had neither. My baby, being attacked by my family she doesn’t know and sounds she didn’t particularly care for, failed to fall asleep that night, as she is wont to do whenever she is anywhere that is not her bedroom.

A word about Karaoke:

Back in Montreal, I went to a drag queen club (Cabaret Mado) on an evening of Karaoke. The people who went up to sing were actually quite talented, so I wasn’t suffering much if at all. A couple of years ago, my friend from Sweden came to visit me in Israel and after she insisted endlessly, I joined her for another Karaoke night. She got up on stage and pretty much wiped the floor with any other wannabe singer who came up after her. So that was also ok.

But my family… no. Just no. I bring earplugs to most of my family’s dinner parties and holidays events because I know there is bound to be singing. And my family is made up of loud Moroccans who don’t need any electronic device to make them sound like they’re singing through a goddamn bullhorn. Earplugs have been my salvation in all my family events. But I forgot to bring them this time around.

Plus, the songs they choose in Karaoke are mostly Middle Eastern tunes. Anybody who knows me, even as a passing acquaintance, knows just how I feel about that music. Bleeding ears is not even the word.

So when my dad came to see me and my husband sitting in the other room, he said that he doesn’t understand why loud singing Moroccans torture us so much considering all the loud metal concerts we go to. The mere fact that he even compared the two was baffling to me. But I explained that the music we listen to involves extremely talented musicians playing their instruments like sheer gods, and talented vocalists tearing up their microphones, whereas the auditory abomination known as Karaoke coming from the next room has neither talented vocals nor talented musical instrumentation.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my family. So it was still nice to see them and to show off my daughter. But I’m glad that going to the south is not something we do too often, and I’m glad that Karaoke is not something that my family does too much either. But sometimes I wish these machines had Rammstein songs included in their repertoire. Because if they do, the next time my family decides to torture me with a Karaoke night, I will see to it that I will torture them back with some badass industrial German tunes.

Peace, love and also, seriously you guys have to stop smoking already.

What Vacation?

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This year’s holiday season has been the absolute worst one I’ve ever had.

It’s ironic that on one of my previous years’ holiday posts I said something along the lines of “I like holiday season because it’s my birthday and when the zodiac turns to Libra, the stars tend to align and all is right in the universe.”

Well this time, the zodiac and the full moon of Tishrei must have been in some kind of retrograde because goddamn! First my birthday and the fact that, first, my dog got sick, and then my daughter got sick. Then the back and forth rides from Jerusalem to Givolim, then Be’er Sheva, then back to Jerusalem and back to Be’er Sheva, then back to Jerusalem and all the way to Zichron and back to Jerusalem. My daughter constantly being confronted with people she doesn’t know, and being strapped to a car seat for endless rides, completely screwed up her routine and sleeping patterns and finally ended up being sick with a fever and eye infection for the entire fucking holiday.

My husband came back home from work yesterday and said that everyone kept asking him how was his vacation, and he’s like “What vacation?”

Seriously, vacation? What the fuck is that anyway? If holding your kid and feel her going up in flames is a vacation, then yes, we had a blast. If sticking a thermometer and a bunch of suppositories up your kid’s bum and rubbing antibiotic cream into your kid’s eyes and having her hate you as a result is a vacation, then oh boy, that was one hell of a vacation! If spending every waking hour at the doctor’s clinic turning your kid into a guinea pig being poked and prodded all over and having her hate you even more is a vacation, party on because my vacation kicked your vacation’s ass.

I don’t want any more vacations. I want my routine. I want my daughter to be healthy, have fun with her friends at daycare, and go to sleep at a normal hour and not wake up at 2:00 a.m. due to a body temperature of 40 fucking degrees.

This traumatizing holiday season is making me dread Passover and dread next year’s holidays even more.

On a brighter note, I got a new Stephen King book to keep me busy and hopefully make me forget about this steaming pile of horseshit known as a vacation.

Peace, love and here’s to a silent baby monitor

Schlafenland

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Those who know me well know that sleep is my most hopeless of hopeless addictions. My attempts at getting over it included waking up early to exercise, eating more raw veggies and drinking more water. Although these attempts were met with considerable success, I am still a pillow-lover extraordinaire.

My problem now is that although I love sleep, I can’t fall asleep to save my mother’s life. It takes me a good hour to an hour and a half to slumber away on a good day. On an average day, it can take up to two hours. On a really bad day, and especially if I have tea or water before bedtime, it takes me up to three hours, plus waking up to pee in one- to two-hour intervals. This is also a reason why I always turn down a cup of tea after dinner, or a glass of water after 9 p.m. even if I’m quite thirsty. I rather go to sleep on the verge of dehydration than having to wake up every hour to take a wizz (or just get up every five minutes if I haven’t managed to fall asleep yet).

Even if I am really tired (as I am now due to lack of sufficient sleep), slight distractions can keep me nice and alert for hours at a time – my husband snoring, weird sounds from the fridge or the living room sofa (don’t ask), my dog coming in to sleep next to us on the floor, and nightmares galore. Last night, my dog came to sleep with us and woke me up in the early morning hours because she was dreaming and whimpering in her sleep.

I also try various things to induce sleep: clear my mind, push away all worrying thoughts, find the most comfortable position I can, wash my face with hot water, and read, but alas. Sometimes I avoid setting the alarm if I can afford to do so. I realized that setting the alarm, especially for an afternoon nap, can keep me awake just as well. This past weekend I managed to sleep until 1:30 p.m. Such bliss!

I don’t want to resort to sleeping pills or whatever other prescription meds, but I’m running out of options.

Peace, love and sleep marathon on Passover sounds absolutely delightful

Lovin’ Oven

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NotebookI love my idea of trying out a new recipe once every two weeks. It keeps my baking inspiration going and every time I bake something awesome, the satisfaction I feel and my sense of accomplishment is almost as great as what I feel when I complete a zine!

And so I decided to start keeping my recipes in zine format in a DIY cookbook notebook that I created a while back. All the pages of that notebook were blank since I made it, but decided that every time I try a new recipe and it works out, I’ll reward myself by adding it to the notebook.

I made a section for regular salty meals, for lunch or dinner, and another section reserved solely for desserts. This Friday, after I owned Betty Crocker’s ass making the best chocolate cake in the world, I added the recipe to the desserts section and felt all giddy.

“Soon enough,” I thought “this notebook will be filled with goodies and be all dirty with flour smudges, oil drops and vanilla extract stains. Just like my mom’s cookbooks are.”

So far, in the salty recipes I have my famous cheesy Penne with broccoli recipe and my lentil-rice cakes with salsa recipe. And my desserts section features recipes for my chocolate cake and my chocolate chocolate chip muffins. Other recipes I already tried but have yet to add include my sweet potato soup, my sweet potato pie, my blueberry muffins and my carrot cake muffins with the cream cheese frosting.

I also glued a measurements and temperatures conversion chart on the inner back cover of the notebook which is super handy since most of the recipes I find are from the States, but I live in a country which uses grams instead of ounces and Celsius instead of Fahrenheit. In the “belongs to” section on the front cover I wrote “Cuisine a la Badass” and “strictly kosher”. I’m truly making this shit my own!

The following is a list of other recipes I plan to try out, unlock total ownage, and eventually add to the notebook.

  1. Vegetable stew recipe I found in a French cookbook
  2. Chocolate chip cookies – my mom’s recipe
  3. Blueberry crumb cake
  4. Blueberry cookies
  5. Oatmeal cookies – a recipe I’m supposed to get from my coworker soon
  6. Oreo cake

The Oreo cake will be my ultimate challenge to prove to myself if I’m really Moroccan Mama material. The recipe says total time is 4 hours. That’s 4 hours worth of headbanging during preparation and baking. I’m ready.

Peace, love and wake and bake.

Sunshine Fuels Production

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I feel ultra productive right now. I’m pretty sure it’s got something to do with the weather. Today is nice, warm and sunshiny. For the first time in a long time I left home without my raincoat. Word has it that it will only be getting warmer this week and it makes me giddy with productive inspiration. Israeli skies are definitely the skies to be under this February!

So this morning, I got up at the bright and early hour of 9:00 (seeing as I wake up every day at 10:30, yes, it is early for me). I had my mandatory morning tea and piece of cake, got dressed, grabbed my dog, and went for a 40-minute power-walk. It made me feel so good that I decided to change my pre-made schedule for this upcoming week and cleared my mornings for more power-walks. Then I had a rice-cake with cheese and yellow cheese for brunch before leaving for work.

I just had a fresh veggies snack and I officially feel too healthy. I need sugar. So keeping with my productive streak, I printed three recipes to try out this week – blueberry crumble, blueberry cookies and chocolate chip cookies.

I gotta go grocery shopping.

I wanna play guitar.

Oh, sun is the best thing for making stencils!

I also need to make a zine.

Today is V-Day and Metal Night. Definitely celebrating both.

I wish I had more hands.

When such things pile up, instead of doing stuff, I just sit around trying to figure out what to do first, and end up doing nothing.

Is there such a thing as being too productive?

Peace, love and SWEET POTATO PIE!!

SPP