Better Than a Kick to the Dick

The other day, I had the neighbor kids over for a playdate. There are actually 4 kids belonging to this particular neighbor, but on this day, I just had 2 of them in the playroom; 3-year-old Lily and 6-year-old Jake.

As is typical, an argument erupted within minutes of their arrival. Jake, in his carelessness, had somehow bumped Lily. She was incredibly pissed about it and was headed back home so she could report the offense to their mom who was folding laundry one house over.

In response, Jake initiated threat level orange apology tactics. When he realized he just didn’t have the apology that was going to come between Lily and tattling to their Mom, he went all in.

Fortunately, or not so fortunately for Jake, Lily was in the mood to negotiate and it went like this:

“Lily, I will let you kick me in the dick if you don’t tell Mom.”
“I want to kick you in the dick two times,” Lily countered.
“No, Lily, please, one time, and you have to promise you won’t tell Mom anyway.”
“How hard do I get to kick you in the dick?”
“As hard a you want, but you can only kick my dick one time and you can’t tell mom what happened.”
“I’m going to kick you in the dick two times and I won’t tell Mom.”
“Okay, that’s fine, hurry up.”

So I realize that I could make this story be about a few different things:

It did not escape my notice that Lily is one hell of a negotiator. I could turn this into a whole big thing about women and just when and how it is that we lose the ability to advocate for ourselves with conviction. But I won’t; that’s not my bag of dicks and there are a lot of amazing women marching around in pussy hats making that point much better than I ever could.

I could also make this a story about family values and opine on how exactly dick kicking becomes a viable form of currency in a household. I could post my judgement to the Internet and proclaim that under no circumstances will there be dicks kicked on my watch because I’m obviously a better parent than one that allows dick kicking.

But I won’t and you have yoga to thank for that.

Yoga teaches observation without judgement; to experience something without applying your own personal filters to it. To let a thing be what it is instead of what you make it (yoga nerds, that’s Satya I’m talking about).

So this is just going to be one of those “kids say the darndest things” stories. I’m going to laugh as a write it.

And that is better than a kick in the dick.

The names in the story have be changed to protect the innocent.
This story originally published on www.groundingup.com

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How to bury a horse.

My first horse was a Shetland pony, which is basically a miniature draft horse. He was short and round and had wild, orange-blonde hair. His name was Candy and he was a complete asshole.

At the time of my birth, my mom, a horse enthusiast, had a pasture full of horses. Depending on who you ask, the actual number of horses ranges from just a few (Mom) to at least two dozen (Dad). Since I was small and Candy was small, he and I were more or less assigned to each other. Candy became my horse and we both deeply resented the arrangement.

On more than one occasion, Candy tried to scrape me off of his back by walking under a low tree limb or the upper board of a fence. He would surprise me with quick little jukes left or right hoping to dump me sideways. And, in the event I was feeling brave and generous and offered him a carrot, there was a 50/50 chance that little bastard was going to bite me.

Candy lived to be 16 years old. When his time came, we had the local large animal vet euthanize him. Burying a pet horse is similar to burying the family cat, but it involves a backhoe and a small bulldozer instead of a shoe box and a shovel. Fortunately, we had a large parcel of land in which to bury our horses. My dad, who owned a construction company had access to plenty of excavation equipment and was more than happy to dig the hole.

We laid Candy to rest next to his friend Jubilee, an old Buckskin gelding who had passed a year or two before.

My second horse was a young gray Arabian horse named Saracus. I received her as a gift for my 8th or 9th birthday. I didn’t have a horse on my birthday wishlist and I thought it was fairly obvious that horses really weren’t my jam,  so I was a little surprised when my mother presented me with one. My mother was beaming with enthusiasm at her well found gift for me so I tried my best to play along. Needless to say, my relationship with Saracus was even more complicated than what I had going with Candy.

Saracus was a big horse and she was green (not very well trained). I spent the entirety of my years with Saracus trying to convince my mom that I really just didn’t want to be involved with horses, which was something she couldn’t accept.

The final straw came when Saracus and I were riding in some sort of 4-H or rodeo exhibition in Granby, Colorado. It was hot and windy and we were riding in formation behind a rider with an American flag. That horse decided right then and there to lay down in the dirt and roll, with me still on top of her and in front of a stadium full of rodeo-goers. When she was finished rolling in the dirt, I took her to the horse trailer where mom was waiting for me and I said that was it.

I have no idea what happened to Saracus after that. I don’t know if my mom sold her or kept her. I was done.

I haven’t thought about my equestrian years in a long time; mostly because they were so unpleasant. But those years recently came rushing back to me as I tended to my mother, who had been thrown from her 17 year old thoroughbred sustaining a broken hip, a brain bleed, and various cuts, bruises and scrapes.

When I tell people this, I invariably get two responses:

  1. How old is your mother? Seventy? And she is still riding horses? That seems a little risky don’t you think?
  2. How old is your mother? Seventy? And she is still riding horses? Well good for her for pursuing her passion and for staying so fit!

I don’t have any particular preference for one response or the other as they are both extremely valid points. Yes, equestrian eventing is a dangerous sport at any age, and yes, good for her for staying true to her passion.

I have resented my mom’s obsession with horses my entire life. Every aspect of our family life was dictated by the fact that we had horses. But that resentment looks a little different to me now. As a 40 year old woman with a family and a career, I can see that it’s important to have something for yourself that isn’t work or family. But I struggle with knowing how much is too much.

At what point is my thing, which is yoga, negatively impacting my relationships? I’m a better wife, mother, and employee because of yoga, but where is the tipping point?

And what about Mom? When that hip heals, does she head back out to the barn to saddle up? I’d like to say no, because she will inevitably continue to get hurt as she ages. But then what, there will never be a replacement for what she gets from horses.

And it kind of seems like a shame for her to quit now, kind of like dropping out of a marathon 1 mile from the finish line. So I guess she needs to keep riding, it’s not rational, but to be a true horse person is to let go of all sense of reason and follow your passion.

 

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com

 

 

Grind your own flour, or don’t, whatever.

A few weeks ago, I posted a video of my son and I grinding our own flour with our Kitchenaid stand mixer. I got a lot of questions about how and why I do this rather than just buying flour.

For us it all started last May when my husband gave me this article from the Wall Street Journal.  The article addressed the need for healthier wheat processing and bread production in the US as a way to change the conversation about gluten in the American diet. In summary: commercially processed white flour is bad, small batch, fresh whole wheat flour is good.

And because we are who we are, we decided that we would become people who grind their own flour. Here is how we did it.

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First, you’ll need to choose a grain mill. One of the reasons we purchased a massive Kitchenaid stand mixer is because it comes with a lot of food processing attachments, including a grain mill. We also have a meat grinder and a juicer. 
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Once you have your grain mill attachment, just secure it to the attachment hub (read your user’s manual, people). Counter surfing toddlers will love to “help”.
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Hit up the bulk bins at your local health food store. We usually buy wheat berries, but I think that is barley pictured above. I buy and grind 4 pounds of grain in a batch because that is what fits in my storage container. Because whole grain flour is not really shelf-stable, you’ll want to use it immediately, or store it in the freezer. 
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Fill the grain hopper (ignore the adorable toddler) set the dial to a medium grind and grind at a medium-high speed. Don’t worry about John’s fingers, there is a safety grate on the hopper, and I’m a good mom;-)
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I have found with the Kithenaid mill that you need to send your grains through twice in order to get a fine enough flour for general baking. That is kind of a bummer, but not the end of the world as it only takes about 5 minutes. The picture above is the grain after one pass through the mill on a very course grind setting.
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Fill the hopper for a second round and set it to the finest grind. Run it through again. 
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Viola! 
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Store your freshly ground flour in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month. 

This originally published on grounding.com.

Hello Summer, Goodbye Beautiful Routine

It is summer, which means your kids are out of school, and for the next 2 months, your life will likely become a barely manageable hairball of summer camps, family vacations, sporting events, and mild-to-moderate childhood injuries.

And don’t think that because your kids are out of school your company or place of employment will likewise take the summer off and cease to do business. Nope, that train will keep on rolling and you have to be on it.

So no, you probably won’t be making it to your regularly scheduled yoga class or training run, or whatever fitness-related thing you do. Luckily, the internet has more than enough excellent and free fitness programming to keep us healthy until the blessed first day of school.

A personal favorite of mine is the Three Dog Yoga podcast series available on iTunes. There are 10 yoga classes you can download or stream for free. Each podcast ranges in duration from approximately 30 minutes, for a quick workout, to 90 minutes for a fuller practice.

The  audio classes are led by Anna McLawhorn, the studio owner and a registered yoga teacher with Baptist Power Yoga. She is also the director of the studio’s California Power Yoga Teacher Training Program.

Don’t worry that the practice is audio-only. Anna gives great verbal instruction on the podcasts so even someone new to yoga will understand what they should be doing.

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