Mountain Girl, signing off.

I think about my blog sometimes, and how long its been since I’ve blogged.  I have never really been into the blogging scene but kept up with a few friends via their websites over the years.  Tonight, I went to my friend Janie’s site, Thicket and Thimble, to see what she was up to and if she had any new knittings (she makes the most adorable knitted garments!)  Well, she had had an epiphany quite like my thoughts recently.  How do you end a blog? Does it just fizzle out?  Do you sign off once and for all?  Leave it open ended if you might come back someday?  And I’d been toying with the idea of migrating mine somewhere else (mostly because I don’t like the name, Mountaingirl……that moniker is from so long ago, the Electric Koolaid Acid Test book by Tom Wolfe.  That character isn’t really part of my identity anymore, so if I kept my blog I would have wanted a new domain name.)  Anyways, Janie explains in a much more eloquent way, so read her farewell post here (but take time to check out her feltings and other knit items!)   I too am signing off but will leave the blog up for posterity’s sake, and it also has a lot of my favorite links on the side, which may come in handy.  As I sign off I am reminded of my memories of sweet Caroline, my daughter of two who left us too soon, my times in California contemplating life, and my activist alter ego that comes out of her shell from time to time 🙂  Energetically this also feels like the right choice, as I will have one less loose end loose.  More of my energy can go else where…….in the 3D world 🙂  Lord knows we need it there.  


Check out my links!

I’ve been working on collecting some of my favorite corner’s of the internet into one place.  Check out my links section!  If you have additions or suggestions, send them my way!  Enjoy!  Especially those radio stations!  🙂

Mexico’s corn farmers see their livelihoods wither away : Cheap U.S. produce pushes down prices under free-trade pact


Dreams of Opal

I wanted to get this dream down on paper before I forgot it.  So, a few things have happened in my life recently that probably stirred a few of the characters in my dream.  One is my old friend David moved back to town about a month ago.  We grew up together in the church youth group together, but that was over 10 years ago! Amazing how time goes by.  The other thing is that my great-grandmother is getting up there in age (just turned 96 a few weeks ago) and I visit with her often, though she has asked recently for someone to start staying over with her during the night. So Caroline and I spent the night at her house two nights ago.  We slept in the spare bedroom which had many memories of her two daughters (both deceased) Opal and Bunnie.  Bunnie passed away from breast cancer when I was really young, maybe 3 or so.  I have many more memories of Opal and she passed away when I was 9 I think.  She also died of cancer, a brain tumor more exactly (same as her father incidentally).  My memories of Opal were her gruff voice (likely from smoking, though I don’t recall her ever doing so, but now that I’m older, I can put 2 and 2 together) and memories of her kitchen, long and skinny with a deck off the back.  I have others but I want to recount the dream, while it is relatively fresh.

The dream began with me and David going camping and packing up all the stuff into the backseat of the car.  When we got to the spot (near Jones Gap it seems like in my dream) we started unpacking, but were arguing about something.  Then we realized we only had a one person tent, and were arguing over whether or not to go get a larger tent.  He was saying he would just sleep on the ground with no tent, but I insisted we go get a larger one.   So we get back in the car and begin to drive off.  (*This is one of those dream transition spots where one dream sequence melts into another*)  We drive by this house around a sharp turn in the road, and two big dogs come running out to the road, and I got scared, and then I realized we were making a turn into that very house’s driveway.  There were other cars and people and dogs in the yard, and it seemed like a place where people were buying puppies and dogs.  We get out and go inside and there is a window with a man sitting behind the glass.  We are sort of waiting around and then I approach the window (don’t recall what we talked about) and then it was strange, like the office was moving up and down like an elevator.  I could see out the back of the office the man was sitting in and the trees were disappearing as we moved upwards.  (*Here again is a dream sequence shift*)  I walked into this room that seemed like it was the shoe department of an old department store.  I am in a new location now, seemingly downtown Anderson or some city center.  I can see out the large windows to the street below.  There are racks and display of colorful shoes of all types, mostly high heels and strappy.  I see an older black woman sitting nearby and wave to her, she waves back.  At first it seemed like this was a deserted room, but when I saw the woman sitting there it was like time traveled backwards to the 1950s or so.  A salesman walks over to me and begins to show me these lacy gowns and dresses on a rack.  I tell him that they remind me of my grandmother Opal, and that she used to have one like it.  They were flowy and made of layers of sheer fabric.  As I continue browsing the store, I go further into the room.  At once I turn around to leave and all of the racks and shoes and clothes are gone.  Then the climax of the dream.  My grandmother Opal comes around the corner, looking ghastly but not really scary (though I am more shaken up about it now as I am typing it).  She was wearing a long flowing gown (not like a fancy gown but more of a dressing gown).  I immediately recognize her and walk over to her and we embrace.  I see her eyes, which when I look into them, I see Mama, my great-grandmother, her mother.  They are small and feel old, but full of life inside.  I tell Opal “I love you” and “we miss you Opal”.  I wish I could recall more of what she said to me.  I do recall that she said “but I am dead”.  To which I replied “that’s okay, we still love you” or something like that.

The dream was basically over at this point.  As I recall it, I can see elements of my life that have woven themselves into the dream (i.e.  David’s dad was going camping and we had spent an afternoon talking about tents, my sister works at the Belks shoe dept.; we recently had been a friends house with lots of dogs and puppies running around; my dad bought this old newspaper for Mama, with lots of old photos of downtown Anderson from 1899-1949 and I looked at every page 🙂     It was good to see Opal again and actually talk to her.  It was a cool feeling and very real that I was physically there with her or her spirit.  I cannot help to think that sleeping in Mama’s house helped to bring up these memories in my mind.  I tend to be very sensitive to WHERE I am sleeping and have had very vivid dreams when sleeping in new places or in rooms with others I am not typically with.  I do dream at my house in my own bed, but it seems like they are more vivid when I find myself in a new environment.  I’m glad I got this dream down before it escaped me and will enjoy reading it months or years from now 🙂

Heart Openers

Valentines Day (or in Honduras its known as the Day of Love and Friendship) makes me think of compassion and loving kindness for all our fellow beings in Earth, not just our human ones, and not just in a romantic way.  We all need love and thrive when we feel like we are loved.  Yoga can help in our quest to love more fully, by practicing opening our Heart.  The Heart chakra is seated in the chest and corresponds to the color green.  By doing asanas that physically open this part of our body, we can also feel the subtle effects as we grow more compassionate and loving towards ourselves and each other.  Heart openers by design will also serve to be backbends usually.  These poses are rejuvenating and Here are a few Heart openers to try :
(Please make sure you are working with a qualified teacher if you are a beginner to asanas and yoga)

Connect to breath : inhale/exhale while moving arms in from prayer pose (on the exhale) and stretching arms out wide, parallel to floor, while inhaling fully.
Royal Dancer
Upward Facing Dog
Cow Face arms

Hopefully I can start to add images or videos for these poses for the visual learners out there.  Make sure you spend enough time doing a counter pose to each heart opener/back bend or sitting in childs pose to reconnect to the breath.  As always, end with several minutes in savasana to fully integrate your entire practice.

Yoga Journal – 2/13

So until I can figure out how to start a separate page here on my blog with individual posts, I’m going to type up my (ideally) daily yoga journals here:

2/13/2012 4:00-4:35pm   Start : mildly stressed

Connect to breath : inhale/exhale with shoulder shrugs (standing)
Inhale arms up; exhale forward fold; inhale halfway up; exhale plank; hold in plank a few breaths; push back to downdog
Come to hero ; inhale/exhale with neck rolls

Laying on stomach; breathing in baby cobra; breathing in full cobra; lift hands off floor; breathe;  lift lower legs off floor; breathe; came into bow for a moment but did not stay long  *hard for me to get full smooth breaths here; choppy and chunky breaths * feeling lightheaded and slight headache, maybe backbends too early*

Cat/cow vinyasa —> childs pose for a few minutes, returning to full, smooth breath

Table –> opposite arm/leg for core strength, focus drishti out a few feet in front *Can tell a difference in my right and left wrist strength; right one is weaker*  Core and chest strengthening.

Standing –> Chair pose for a few minutes ; building heat in legs

Vinyasa – chataranga to downdog (really creating space between shoulders and ears)
Repeat vinyasa
Downdog –> big toes together – Rightside : crescent lunge with eagle arms; extended side angle; triangle (focus on closed vs. open chest and shoulders; like between two pieces of glass; lift thru the upper hand)
Downdog –> big toes together – Leftside : crescent lunge with eagle arms; warrior 2; triangle (its okay to have hand up by knee and not on floor); reverse warrior
Downdog –> pigeon on right and left side; breathing deeply in both

Ending: energized a bit more, though still headachey

Too much screen time

I dunno why it’s hard for me to remember to blog on a more regular basis.  Its certainly not a lack of topics to talk about or things to share!  I guess the only way to be more regular is keep trying and trying 🙂  I bet if I spent half as much time blogging as I do on Facebook…..haha.  Facebook is becoming a little too much for me lately, so I can only take it in small doses.  I am pretty intrigued by social media in general, and its magnetic qualities, though also its ability to have us living in the virtual world more and the physical realm less.  How is it changing our brains? Our communication?  Our ability to learn?  I find myself thinking, eh, Facebook sucks….I’ll just start using Google Plus instead.  : /   But its still as my mom calls it “screentime”.   I do think my face is in front of a screen way too much, and much like an addiction, I don’t know if going cold turkey would work.  In fact, I’m certain it wouldn’t.  So I think a better strategy might be to schedule in time to use the “screens” and then when that time is done, put them away.  Some days my laptop is open on the table ALL DAY and I just browse by Facebook like literally every 15 or 20 mins ALL DAY.  That is just nuts.   So, cheers, here’s to more productive and more efficient screen time.


I just downloaded Evernote and while playing around tonight with it, I am uber excited about all the potential to organize my life! iCal has already saved my sanity since the Fall semester started, and with lots on my plate now, this Evernote program is totally awesome. Check it out here:

Road to Nowhere

I have been thinking a lot lately about population and the collective demands that humans are having on the Earth and its resources.  With the population of Earth showing no real signs of leveling out any time soon, I am wondering how on EARTH (pun intended) we are going to continue with all of our demands.  Living in the United States, obviously, our concept of Necessary Goods, is much much longer than some other places on the globe.  And students are brought up here assuming that everyone wants to be Just Like Us.  I think that is Bogus.  I think that is just a ploy to keep capitalism afloat and keep us quiet and dumb in the presence of catastrophic global FAILURE.  Call me a radical, but I really don’t think we need as much stuff as we think we do.  I would like a new camera, bc mine is on the fritz.  But buying a new one requires a lot a lot a lot of energy and mining of resources that I might would rather not happen.  Of course, if I am this thoughtful?  Is everyone else?  Maybe. Maybe not.  But suffice it to say that people will continue to buy cameras, TVs, legal pads, furniture, cars, plastic toys, clothes, stuff you see on TV, fertilizers, etc, and so forth and so on into the indefinite future.  And is it really my place to tell one not to.  Maybe. Maybe not.  So what do I do?  Not buy the camera, on principle?  Or buy the camera, knowing that it won’t make any difference if I do, since the majority around me will anyways.  And, if I do buy the camera then  would the uses I get from it counter any of the negatives borne from producing the camera (like taking photos of mountain top removal and sharing with friends, family, and internets).  Wishful thinking?  All the things listed above : fertilizers, cars, furniture, etc, if you think about the lifecycle of these things, its astronomical all the processes that go into making them.  And are their true costs really reflected in the price?  And are those whose lands were mined in order to make said object REALLY compensated in full?  Can you ever compensate someone for destroying their habitat?  The trouble is, and I am guilty of this, is that we seem to think “oh, so sad, they are destroying that land OVER THERE in order to mine coal, uranium, rare earth metals, or fell trees. We need to help/stand in solidarity/organize”  But what I think is happening is that we are slowly destroying our OWN local habitats and maybe not even noticing, because we are so focused on what is happening “over there”.  The old adage rings true to Think Globally Act Locally.  But turning that on it’s head and Thinking Locally and Acting Globally, well that’s a little different.  (I know I’m not the first one to have thought of this.)  Don’t get me wrong, it is impossible in this day in age, being so interconnected, to ignore what is happening “over there” (i.e. Mountain Top Removal in Appalachia, Tar Sands in Canada, Mining in Black Mesa, gross urban sprawl in the Southwest, hypoxic zones in the Gulf, trash gyres in the Pacific) and it is relatively easy to support these causes and hold solidarity with those working for justice in these areas.  I do think though, as an “activist” whatever that means, that it’s important to put down some roots (both literally and figuratively) and do some real work in one place and get to know the people and the community.  This is the only way to build trust and the only way to create lasting change, in my opinion.  A few years ago, I was slightly starry eyed and wanted to travel here and there, bouncing from campaign house to action camp to protest, feeling as though I was doing some good.  And perhaps I was.  But looking back I think I was also a bit nieve and now that I am settled again back in my hometown, I am feeling the strength that comes from staying in one place and having goals and dreams and concrete ideas that will be put into motion, but only if we focus and build it here ourselves.  This is why I think the Transition Town initiative is so attractive to many folks.  Only those of us in this place knows the best way to solve our problems here.  Each locale with its own climate and geography and agriculture and imports/exports, etc is going to need to address different issues.  But the beauty is, the solutions are already here among us!  I wish I had a simple answer for how to put these solutions into action, and most likely this blog will help me to vocalize more of this.  But for now, thinking Locally is a great first step.  Sorry for the rambly nature, and any harshness that may have come across 🙂  Buenas noches amigas/os.

Car-Free Tuesdays?

Tuesdays tend to be spent around the house, since my daughter Caroline doesn’t have a babysitter scheduled on this day, so we play, go to the park, tend the garden etc.  Yesterday was a Tuesday and there were many events vying for my attention, all which required the use of my car.  First, the MOMs Club that I recently joined (and love!) were meeting out at Grits and Groceries in Belton.  Quite the haul, and there are goats which Caroline loves to feed.  I talked myself out of it.  🙂  Next up, my friend Ellen out at the Rensing Center was hosting their once monthly Live Deliberately session on READ (next month: TRAVEL).  This is a much further drive and I was still debating by the afternoon whether or not to go.  Finally, I thought, “I can make this a car-free day if I just decide not to go and run the few errands I need to by foot!”  Caroline and I packed up the stroller and headed for the pharmacy to pick up her medicines and even stopped by the park for a ride on the swingset on the way home.  My plan was also to walk to the vegetable/fruit stand near my house for ingredients for a strawberry rhubarb pie 🙂  but the sun was brutal and Caroline wasn’t in the mood to go back out.  Once my sister came home, I caved and drove to the market to buy strawberries, rhubarb and butter.  😦   Even with gas prices beginning to fall, I am still trying to drive less and walk more.  Where I used to live in VA, I didn’t have a car for over a year and a half and walked or biked anywhere I needed to go, even after Caroline was born!  Anderson is not as walkable, but it might just be my state of mind, and I’m trying to change that.  Even making one day a week car-free will not only save gas but also slow us down a bit and have more energy to give to our small garden or playing at the park with friends who live close by.  Many days of the week I trek to Clemson (25 miles round trip) so to offset the rest of the week is a short term goal of mine.  AND to get back in the habit of taking the CATbus to Clemson more often.  Now that I have a bike again, I will be able to get around in Clemson once I’m there more quickly.  🙂  Yesterday wasn’t a fail, but rather a step in the right direction!

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