Samara O'Shea

Archive for December, 2011

Damn Those Letters!

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Usually, when I come across a story about someone finding letters from the 1940s it’s a triumph. They are love letters between grandma and grandpa during World War II, or they tell some other glorious story from the recent past. In the case of a 96-year-old Italian woman, it was damming evidence. Her 99-year-old husband (of 77 years!) found letters to a secret lover she had written in the 1940s. He divorced her promptly. Yikes! At first I thought he overreacted, but now I think he was looking for an excuse to leave. The article says this:

“The uncovering of the letters inside an old chest of drawers was the final straw for a relationship that had already been rocky: 10 years ago, the husband moved out to live with one of the sons, but returned weeks later.”

Rocky! After 60+ years. Oh my, marriage is an endless source of fascination. She begged him to stay but he wouldn’t hear of it. After all, he’s 99 and Italian. There are wild oats to be sown.

And with that, I bid everyone a very Happy New Year!

The Magical Kitchen

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

I have several favorite chapters in the book The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz. (I guess they can’t all be considered “favorite” can they?) One of the ones I love the most is The Magical Kitchen, and I found it online yesterday*. Don’t judge a chapter by its title. I know it sounds juvenile, but it’s a profound concept–a wonderful notion to carry into the New Year and beyond.

*Please note this is not the chapter in its entirety, but you’ll get the idea.

18 Steps Ahead of the New Year

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

While buying last minute gift bags and wrapping paper at CVS on Christmas Eve, I grabbed a copy of the January issue of O Magazine. Dr. Oz shares a cover with Oprah and the coverline says: “Dr. Oz’s 28-Day Plan to Renew Your Body, Mind, and Soul.” I was hoping to be inspired with some possible resolutions.

Imagine my surprise when I read the list and realized that I already do many of the things he suggests. I’d say I do 18 of 28. Bring on 2012! Here’s the short version of Dr. Oz’s suggestions:

Day 1 Drink Green Tea – Started doing this YEARS ago
Day 2 Indulge in Dark Chocolate – I’m kind of eh about this one. Yes, dark chocolate is good for you, but milk chocolate tastes better.
Day 3 Eat Foods that are Good for your Heart (Salmon, Tomatoes, Garlic, and Lima Beans) – I started eating salmon incessantly a few years ago, so much so that I lost my taste for it. I think if I start eating it again in moderation I might be okay. I am totally on board with tomatoes and garlic. Lima beans–not so much.
Day 4 Forgive Someone – I’ve been working on this one for a year or so–through yoga, meditation and lots of reading. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary. Many have been forgiven and there are still many to forgive.
Day 5 Memorize a Poem – I memorized my first poem my freshman year in high school. I memorized my most recent one in 2009, so I guess it’s about time to memorize a new one.
Day 6 – This one is about sex, I’ll keep the post rated G and not comment =)
Day 7 Keep a Food Diary – This is a good one–a type of diary I have never kept. I’m hoping to lose 20ish lbs in the first few months of the year so hopefully this will help.
Day 8 Exercise, Even if it’s Just 1/2 Hour a Day – In September I started a new job and there’s a gym in the building. I get myself in there for at least 30 mins a workday.
Day 9 Get More Sleep – Done!
Day 10 Meditate – As with forgiveness, I’ve incorporated this into my weekly routine.
Day 11 Don’t Graze Before Bed – I do this and shouldn’t. I LOVE cereal before bed.
Day 12 Know Your Portions – Another thing I could work on.
Day 13 Count Your Paces I walk a lot. Having a pedometer to count how many paces I walk a day isn’t a bad idea.
Day 14 Interview Your Relatives – This means ask about your family’s health history. There’s no history of heart disease in my family. My paternal pop-pop died of lung cancer (smoking) and my maternal grandfather had a stroke. No common thread. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to me and my kin . . .
Day 15 Take the Right Pills – This time last year I was on a daily vitamin kick, and I need to get back there.
Day 16 Calculate Your BMIDone
Day 17 Tweak Your Daily Routine – This one says something about making small switches in your life: from decaff to caff (because caffeine is good for you). Doesn’t resonate with me.
Day 18 Eat Popcorn Instead of Chips – Okay
Day 19 Pack a Smarter Lunch – What I’ve been trying to do is make lunch a bigger meal than dinner, so I have the rest of the day to burn it off.
Day 20 Have the Same Breakfast Each Day – I’d say breakfast is routine for me. I usually eat granola or oatmeal.
Day 21 Purge Your Pantry – Good idea.
Day 22 Call an Old Friend – Or write her a letter!
Day 23 Floss – I’ve been meaning to do more of this for years.
Day 24 Look Before Your Flush – In other words, examine your excrement and make sure it’s not an odd color. Without going into too much detail, I do this.
Day 25 Practice Saying No – Excellent advice! A few times this year I said no when I was tempted to say yes just to avoid feeling guilty. Saying no (when you mean NO) is better. It’s honest, it equals less hassle in the end, and it’s a way to show yourself a little love.
Day 26 Stretch More – Um, yoga!
Day 27 Eat Healthy Snacks – I try.
Day 28 Spread Kindness – I really try!

Winter Solstice Poem

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

It’s a very warm winter solstice here in the northeast, but I’m not fooled. She’s just waiting to wield her wrath. Winter is the cleansing season. I hope you enjoy (the season and the poem)!

When you startle awake in the dark morning
heart pounding breathing fast
sitting bolt upright staring into
dark whirlpool black hole
feeling its suction

Get out of bed
knock at the door of your nearest friend
ask to lie down ask to be held

Listen while whispered words
turn the hole into deep night sky
stars close together
winter moon rising over white fields
nearby wren rustling dry leaves
distant owl echoing
two people walking up the road laughing

Let your soul laugh
let your heart sigh out
that long held breath so hollow in your stomach
so swollen in your throat

Already light is returning pairs of wings
lift softly off your eyelids one by one
each feathered edge clearer between you
and the pearl veil of day

You have nothing to do but live

~ Anonymous

Lit Wit

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

This is cute. The blogger at place called Such a LitWit (love the name) read For the Love of Letters and she goes on and on about how dumb it is to have someone write a letter on your behalf. She follows the thought all the way through until maybe it’s not so dumb anymore. I agree if you feel strongly about your letter writing skills–do it yourself. I won’t talk you out of it. I offer my services to those who are feeling shaky.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Friday, December 16th, 2011

1. Erotica 2. Really old pieces of paper – both make an appearance in an article a friend sent to me: Unrequited love? 16th-century erotic poem discovered in book

The Art of Listening

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Reader Lark sent this article to me. Thank you! It’s called The Art of Listening.

This coincides with a new practice I’ve taken up: Yin Yoga. Yoga emphasizes the need to listen in general, and it also teaches one how to listen directly to his or her body. Sometimes we do what the mind wants, not what the body wants, and we pay for it later.

Most yoga–most exercise really–is meant to work the muscles. Yin yoga, however, works (stretches the Hell out of) the connective tissue. It’s a part of the body that isn’t used to getting so much attention. I must say, I’ve never felt better. I imagine, in older age, it’s the connective tissue that presents a problem. Not only is this practice making me feel better in the moment, but ideally it’s also preventing arthritis or a hip replacement. I’m listening!