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Today is our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Gosh and huzzah, wow, wow, wow, we have come so far together. We are wonderfully strong together, happy together, silly together, mostly wise together, and sometimes stupid together. Most of all, we are crazy in love TOGETHER.

In some ways it is a total surprise, that our lives have cycled through twenty-five years, a mad dream of beauty, wonder, and adventure. Still others, it feels like an eternity. How could there ever be a time when we weren’t practically attached at the hip? The slim space between us the breadth of the universe. That is us, so close, yet so unhindered and free.

It is not always easy, and we have fumbled and blundered, but our LOVE and will for cooperation remains stronger than anything that has wished to see us apart.

Here’s to the next twenty-five years….

Nature is full of surprises.

Kind people are, too.

Waking up: Open eyes a few minutes before the alarm. Cuddle with hubster. Smell his beard and kiss. Hop out of bed. Go pee and wash up with homemade soap. Let Juniper out of her crate, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle-walk to the back door, where she rockets out to do her business. Prepare her breakfast of half a can of wet food and two scoops of dry. Let her back in the house to gobble, gobble, gobble. Fill puzzle Kong with kibble for her post morning walk treat. Hop back into bed for family cuddles and giggles and ever so many licks from this sweet face.

The evergreen truth.

The leaves were falling like snow…

Joyful Juniper and crazy-ass hair! Ha…

One Minute

Good advice:

For one minute, please, stand here in silence, look at the sky, and contemplate how awesome life is.

Namaste, gentle readers.  Unless you are new to Under a Red Roof, you know quite well of my fondness for yoga.  It truly has changed my life.  I know for many of you this might sound a bit precious, but it’s no exaggeration.  Everything is better with yoga, everything.  Even with a cat on my back.  How cute is my guruji, Paris?  Normally, she prefers to give her sage advice during savasana, but who am I to argue?

Anyhoo, I’ve got some more recommendations for videos and the like, even expanding my repertoire to include, holy crapper-doodle, works by people other than Shiva Rea!  I know, even I didn’t think it was possible.  This dog can learn new tricks, go with the flow, rhyme and steal…

However, since I do have such a longstanding relationship with Shiva and remain ever loyal, I’ll start with her.  A.M. Energy is a really dynamic and invigorating video, and a departure from what I consider typical Shiva style.  It contains four separate practices (about 20 minutes each) that can be linked via the matrix or done individually.  Each ranges in difficulty and in style, from lots of not super yoga feeling floor work that builds strength through repetition, flowing movement, and some extremely challenging standing postures.  I have much to learn and do here and continue to be dazzled by Shiva’s ability and grace.

Shiva’s Yoga Wave (thanks for this one, Mom!) is an audio only collection, though there is a booklet with photos, so I would definitely only recommend it to those practicing for a while.  It contains a Solar and Lunar CD, and with the help of an i-pod or similar device can be mixed up in a myriad of fashions.  Each CD has progressively more difficult waves of similar postures, building upon each other and kicking your behind.  The solar wave CD is like doing seventy-five minutes of sun salutations, which is great for heating you up and developing your legs.  The first time is a killer!  The lunar wave is mostly spent on the floor opening hips, back bending, and twisting.  This one is in a pretty regular rotation for the hubster, as it’s really great to counter the repetitive movements of bike riding.


Now for something completely different.  Completely!  My massage therapist, who has a beautiful and strong body, is as big of a devotee to Kundalini, Ravi Singh and Ana Brett as I am to Shiva Rea.  After hearing her raves, I decided to give it a try.  It is a real departure from the yoga I am used to practicing.  I think, and this is by no means a slight, because I really like it, it is like yoga that was created by a child.  Let’s grind our hips around while sitting on the floor, and then we’ll flap our arms, sit like frogs, dance, lie on our bellies and bounce, walk like we’re marching in a parade, and pant like dogs.  Oh, and one more thing, it’s gonna be fun!  And it is.  I can’t help but smile during and well after.  It must be all that good Kundalini energy!  For those who already find yoga a bit out there, this will probably be too woo-woo for you.  That being said, both of the videos are fun and challenging, especially all the arm flapping Gurmukh does.  Seriously, I could not do it all, and I’m in pretty good shape.  Sat nam!

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For a while now, I’ve been getting up early, without an alarm, between 5:30 and 6:00.  If it’s a weekday, sometimes it’s with the hubster.  On weekends, I smell his cheek (mmm…), give him a kiss, and rise on my own.  I get dressed, feed the cats and the birds, grab a bottle of kombucha (eight ounces a day, my elixir of life?), and a thoughtful book.  Lately it’s been the Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are, I found at the library (I bought my own copy).  I sit on the bench on the back porch, wrapped up in a scarf and blanket and one cat or another on my lap.

First, I sip my kombucha slowly, listening and watching all that is happening.  At this hour, it is pretty quiet.  The birds chirp and eat (see the crow?), a few cars pass, but not too many.  Though I like being out when it is sunny, so I don’t feel so cold, the rain is nice, too.  It falls so sweetly onto the metal roof over my head.

Once I’ve finished the kombucha, I read, but just a little bit.  I don’t want to crowd my mind with too many ideas.  It’s a busy place already.  Then I sit and think about what I’ve read.  Today, it was, “Rest in the nature of alaya, the essence.”  Watch whatever comes up in the mind, the rising and falling of thoughts.  There’s no need to despair about the quality or content.  They’re just thoughts. “No big deal,” Pema says.

I like the freedom this gives me.  Permission.  I have very dark thoughts sometimes.  Heavy.  Unkind.  Cruel.  They’re no big deal when I give them the space to be thoughts.  They lose their potency and dissipate, though not always.  Some are more stubborn and sticky, preferring to linger longer, but I’m finding more lightness around them, too.  Maybe it’s just being outside in a place that I love, that I’ve worked hard to create.  I’ve chosen every piece of furniture, every ornament, every plant with care.  I’ve cleaned, weeded, cut, and fed everything here.  I feel safe, safe to let my thoughts rise and fall like the plants themselves: sprouts, leaves, flowers, and seed, before starting over again.

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