gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Goat Yoga

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Most everyone who knows me knows that I love goats. I’m not quite sure how this love started, but like most loves, it just happens when you least expect it. I suppose my earliest recollection of my love affair with goats is from when I was in grade school and went to the 4-H Fair in the summertime. Among other animals, there were always goats. Adorable goats. And I started looking at pygmy goats for sale online, at a very affordable cost! It escalated when I lived in Massachusetts for a year about 4 years ago, where I regularly visited a goat farm, especially when they had babies. I’ve been dreaming of having my own little goat farm ever since!

This past weekend I got to do goat yoga, a craze that is attracting goat-lovers and non-goat-lovers alike. There’s something about it that is just intriguing. The hour of goat yoga was everything I thought it would be. Fun, filled with goats jumping on top of me (yay!), and light on the yoga. It was hosted by GlennArt Farm in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. I’ll let these pictures tell the story. Ignore my form though…it was hard to focus with a 20 pound goat on my back…haha

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Sentimental

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A couple definitions that pop up when you search for the word sentimental (adj.) in the dictionary are:

expressive of or appealing to sentiment, especially the tender emotions and feelings, as love, pity, or nostalgia

weakly emotional; mawkishly susceptible or tender

I know I’m definitely a sentimental person and I’m not going to apologize for it. I may be weakly emotional and nostalgic, but I would rather be that than not feeling enough. I think having too many feelings and being able to express those feelings, although sometimes with great difficulty, is one of life’s beautiful tragedies. Beautiful because what are we but feeling beings at every turn and therefore have no choice but to express ourselves, and tragic because sometimes those feelings are not well received or returned.

Nostalgia is a funny thing because we know it’s pointless to reminisce the past and hope to return to a happy time, but those daydreamin’ minds like mine almost have no control and keep dreaming away. But can we be blamed for reminiscing happy times simply for the pure appreciation of those happy moments? I don’t think so. It’s heartening to know that we’ve experienced such happy moments and we must be grateful for them, because life is not always rainbows and butterflies.

So fuck it…we have the feelings we have and we just can’t help it. So keep on having those feelings and sharing them. In the spirit of Lorde (who I recently saw in concert and was absolutely amazing):

I am my mother’s child, I’ll love you ’til my breathing stops
I’ll love you ’til you call the cops on me

Bike MS

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My friends will be participating in the BP MS 150  in April, which is a 150-mile bike from Houston to Austin. In order to participate they each have to raise $500, which goes towards research to treat and cure MS. They train for months to endure this grueling ride, which takes two days. This is something that I care about a lot because it hits close to home for me, and I can’t wait to cheer them on at the finish line in Austin! I’ve already donated, but if you can, please consider donating to my friend Katie’s fundraising efforts!

March for Our Lives

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I’ve been really inspired by the high school students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida for their fortitude and perseverance in fighting for change on an issue that is just absolute common sense. I’m sure the lack of support they’re receiving from certain NRA-owned politicians is infuriating, and yet, they keep fighting. Thank god this is the future we have to look forward to.

I’ve signed up for the march on March 24th in my city, Chicago. I hope you’ll be marching in your city.

Sign up here!

City girl

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I remember listening to this song when I was in high school and college, dreaming of living in the big city one day. Now I’m here and I’m not as happy as I thought I would be back then. I thought I’d live in a beautiful apartment downtown, but I don’t think I knew much about money then. I thought life in the city was glamorous and always exciting. While sometimes true, not always true.

There are moments when do I love the city though. I had one of those moments the other night as I was walking downtown on Wacker Drive. The city at night is my favorite time in the city. It’s something about the lights. But the other night, as I was walking along the river, it was freezing and there were some snow flurries but I didn’t care because I was so caught up in taking the city in. It’s also not as crowded at night so you feel like you have the city more to yourself.

Big city blues

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Although I love this city that I live in, I definitely have my frustrations with it. And they’re not necessarily frustrations with Chicago itself, but with the big city lifestyle overall. No one cares who you are in the big city. No one knows you, recognizes you, or looks out for you. In fact, there are people who are actually out to get you. I find myself craving a smaller community where people know each other, look out for one another, and where the lifestyle is more laid back and moves at a slower pace.

I’ve been feeling a stronger connection tho home lately. It’s interesting how when you’re away from home for a while, or from where you grew up, you start to realize certain things about home that you love, even though you could barely stand it while you were growing up. I think as you get older you also start to realize how important it is to be close to your family and those you love. They are an invaluable support system and they won’t be around forever. So we have to enjoy them, appreciate them, and love them while they’re around. We don’t even know how long we’ll be around…even more reason to be close to them.

I’m surprised by how much I’ve been loving my little home state of Indiana recently and the sense of pride that’s been building that I’m from there. As much as I love the vibrancy and beauty of Chicago, it’s never quite felt like home.

McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV is absolutely a staple of Thanksgiving at my house. This year, since I live in Chicago,  I went to the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade downtown on State Street. I was sad to miss watching the Macy’s parade on TV, but I was also excited about seeing a parade in person. The parade in Chicago is obviously on a much smaller scale than the one in New York, but it still felt very festive.

It was also very different. Rather than big floats and balloons, the Chicago parade focuses on diversity and inclusion by representing various ethnic groups complete with authentic costumes and music from their cultures. I didn’t see the whole parade, but the countries I saw represented were Bolivia, China, Thailand, Mexico, and the Punjab region of India (and I’m sure there were others). I really admired the Bolivian costumes because they wore these interesting wooden clog-type sandals with some kind of bells that made a nice sound.

There were of course many high school marching bands, tap dancers, and cheer squads. There weren’t too many musical performers though, as there are in the Macy’s parade. The one disappointment was how anti-climactic Santa’s arrival was. There wasn’t any music accompanying his sleigh and there just wasn’t a lot of excitement among the crowd when he finally did arrive. I think one thing that makes the Macy’s parade so fun to watch are the commentators from The Today Show with their witty and dynamic narratives. So maybe Santa’s arrival was disappointing because there was no big announcement or tale about his gift-giving to all the boys and girls around the world.

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Love is a beautiful thing when you have it. Chase after it and don’t let it go.

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Gratitude

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I was reading the fall edition of The Magnolia Journal, which is themed “Gratitude” for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and it came at a very apropos time in my life since I’ve recently received some medical news that has been a bit of a shock and definitely not welcome. When things like this happen it is so easy to fixate our minds on that one facet of our lives and forget about all the things we should actually be grateful for.  So I am mindfully trying to make an effort to appreciate the positives in the face of adversity, with a little help from Joanna Gaines.

I am, of course, a fan of the show, along with the millions of others who have been inspired by the stunning transformations that she, Chip, and their team churn out season after season. And not to mention the effervescent love between Chip and Jo…I mean, will we all be lucky enough to find that kind of love?? One can only hope!

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In her article on gratitude, Joanna outlines some basic everyday activities in which she has found a sense of pleasure, and even comfort, that I can identify with. Cooking for her family is one. While I don’t have a family of my own, I did enjoy cooking for my parents when I lived at home. I also like cooking with/for friends. I even like cooking just for myself, even though it can be hard to sit down and eat by yourself after putting love and energy into crafting a nice meal. There’s something about it that just feels unnatural…a good meal is definitely better when in the company of others. Cooking can feel therapeutic and productive, not to mention its visual and palatal benefits that result from the finished product.

Driving is another thing Joanna mentions as being a source of relaxation for her, and I can absolutely relate to this one. I don’t always love driving around town when I have to deal with traffic and the constant stop and go, but even then it can be nice to just be in my own head space for a while and listen to music. I LOVED driving when I lived in Williamstown, MA in the Berkshires because every view was just so darn beautiful. The Berkshires are not big mountains, in fact I think they may technically be considered hills, but they are majestic nonetheless. I found any excuse to drive to surrounding towns simply for the scenic drive. I remember driving 45 minutes to the nearest Starbucks one fall evening to get my first pumpkin spice latte of the season. When you have just the right tunes going while on a scenic drive, you can be transported to another place. I don’t have a car now that I live in Chicago and I have to say I do miss driving. But I certainly wouldn’t want to drive in Chicago traffic…

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Gardening and laundry, a couple other activities Joanna mentions as bringing her solace, I haven’t quite mastered. I don’t like getting dirty or coming across the unexpected worm, and I find laundry to be quite tedious. BUT, I found her article so helpful in serving as a reminder to look for joy in little things we do every day and to be grateful that we are even able to do them in the first place. Some other things I would add to the list of things to be grateful for (aside from the obvious family & friends), are random encounters we have everyday – like witnessing two strangers on the subway trying to make a genuine connection, or seeing two people on the street laughing together and wondering what’s so funny. These encounters might not directly pertain to us, but they remind us of the connectedness between people and the importance of these connections, because we are all linked in some way. Not only that, these encounters remind us of our place in this web of connections and that our place is so small (which can be both scary and comforting). And that there are far more devastating issues than those we face, which is humbling. I am constantly reminded of this in Chicago where homeless people lining the streets is a sight on practically every corner and L ride; or take the recent weather-related tragedies that have devastated peoples’ lives… We should also be grateful that we were born into privileged circumstances, all things considered. And taking a look back at all that we’ve accomplished and realizing – damn, how did I do all that?? – is a good opportunity to recognize our worth.

We have to try to remind ourselves that somehow everything will be OK even when it’s hard to see any good in a situation. Things have a way of working themselves out that is usually impossible to understand while we’re on the struggle bus. Especially when we’re faced with an impending obstacle, or a potentially life-altering development, we have to try to remember that there are so many things for which to be grateful regardless.

 

Halloween & Autumn decorations

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Fall has traditionally been my favorite season, although, for some reason, this year I just haven’t been quite as excited about it. I really enjoyed this summer and soaking up all the sun I possibly could, so I guess I’m just not excited for what is to come after Fall…that which shall not be named will be here before we know it and we won’t see the sun until the Spring. In an effort to get into the Fall spirit, I decorated our house a bit for the season, including Halloween, which is slowly becoming one of my favorite holidays. It’s the only time when pretending to be someone else is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged. It’s especially fun when it falls on a weekend, or a Friday or a Monday, when Halloweekend becomes a thing, offering multiple opportunities for multiple costumes!