Archives for March 2013

How Spa Music Can Lower Your Blood Pressure and Prevent You From Becoming an Alcoholic

43/365: MMMM, Vodka.

This is not me. But, it could be. Totally.

Some days, my high-maintenance life stresses me out so much that I have to listen to spa music to lower my blood pressure. Well, actually, thanks to heredity from my mom’s side of the family, my blood pressure is really low, but if I had high blood pressure, listing to the Ocean Waves radio station on Pandora would certainly lower it. When my stress level is through the roof, spa music calms me down. Wine does the same thing, but since it is usually in the middle of the day while I am trying to work, I opt for the music instead. But, now I’m thinking maybe I should start taking Xanax or something that produces an even bigger effect than if I was drinking a bottle of wine while listening to the spa channel.

After becoming a mom, and working from home, I have often said, “I totally understand why people start drinking in the middle of the day.”

I mean, first you struggle to get your kid to school on time, then you have to walk the dog and pick up his poop (and he is a BIG dog, so it’s like picking up a pile of horse poop), then you attempt to sit down at your computer and the phone rings and it’s the parent of one of your daughter’s classmates and she’s like, “Did you know that your daughter punched my son in the stomach during music class today?” And your first thought is, Wow. Your son must be a total wimp. Did he cry? But, instead of saying that out loud you apologize to the parent and assure her it will never happen again, then call the school and apologize to the music teacher who says she has no idea what happened because one minute they were singing Jesus Loves Me and the next minute your daughter was punching the other kid and then your kid had to be escorted to the principal’s office.

Next, you have to try to actually get some work done while contemplating creative ways to punish your daughter for her “bad decisions” because taking away her iPod and making her fold her own laundry doesn’t seem to be working. And, it isn’t even 9:00 am yet. So you totally get up from your desk to get more coffee and see the bottle of Bailey’s on the shelf above your refrigerator, and think, “Wow. I really need a shot of that in my coffee.” So, you pour it in your coffee, “just this once” and next thing you know you’re drinking a tall glass of Grey Goose and orange juice every morning, just to help you make it to lunchtime. And, before you know it, boom – you’re a stay-at-home-alcoholic.

So, that’s why I listen to the spa channel when I am having a difficult day.

I seriously don’t want my child to be the daughter of a stay-at-home-alcoholic because then she would go to Catholic school and tell all her friends and teachers that her mommy drinks from home. And the teachers would say, “Don’t you mean your mommy works from home?” And your daughter would say, “No. I mean she drinks from home.” And then you would get another phone call from the school that would lead to an investigation by the Department of Child Protective Services and that would really add to your stress level and elevate your blood pressure, so you would have to listen to spa music 24/7 while washing down your Xanax and blood pressure medication with vodka and orange juice.

Today’s Free Advice: Next time you are stressed, just listen to the spa channel. It’s way cheaper than all that alcohol and prescription medication.

How Chasing My Dog Around the House Inspires Me

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Did you say “bone”?

We all have those days in which we would like to press the REWIND button, or even FAST-FORWARD (“eff-eff” as my daughter says) to get through it. You know the ones that are less than exciting, or even downright miserable? I was having one of those days – walking around the house, attempting to complete projects, unenthusiastically letting my dog in and out 14 times an hour – really trying to navigate and survive the moment. But dogs are wise creatures; much smarter than the average human, and mine is especially tuned in to my emotions and mood, as many Shepherds are.

Friedrich nudged me with his big head while I was standing at the kitchen island, his sign for letting me know he wants attention, or in this case, his attempt to lighten my darkened mood. I looked down at him. “What?” I asked. He tipped his head inquisitively. “Where’s your bone?” I asked him.

Friedrich looked down at the floor and back up at me. No bone. This amused me. “Where’s your bone?” I asked him several more times. Each time he looked from me, to the floor and back up at me, as if to say, “I don’t know! Why do you keep asking me? Where is it?

Since it was not in its usual place (the floor in the kitchen pantry) and he couldn’t smell it, I decided to show him where it was. He followed me upstairs to my bathroom closet where I had stashed it on the floor the night before. He looked at the bone and back at me as if to say, “Why is it in here? It’s never in here!”

“I didn’t feel like walking back downstairs last night, and this is a closet, just like the kitchen,” I told him. Fred blinked, and waited patiently.

“Get your bone!” I told him. He obeyed. Then, he happily wagged himself (because when he is excited his whole body wags, not just his tail) down the stairs, bone in his mouth, looking over his shoulder to make sure I was following him. Happy that one of us was having a good day, I started to go back into the kitchen. Fred stopped, looked up at me and with a little jump, put his paws out in front of him, butt in the air, and wagged his tail – the universal dog sign for “let’s play!”

I didn’t want to play. But, I cannot resist my 95 lb. Belgian Shepherd with ears that never go down. So, I acted like I was going to jump toward him and grab the bone. His response: to run around the house so I would chase him. Which, of course I did.

Friedrich's patented head-tilt.

Friedrich’s patented head-tilt.

We played our little game of hide-and-seek chase between the kitchen, dining room and hallway where he runs in one direction and I run in the other, and then we switch directions when we see each other. It’s really fun, and makes me smile just writing about it, even though I’m still in a bad mood. Mostly. After about 10 minutes, we were both panting (note to self: do more cardio) and I was laughing. Friedrich plopped down on the rug and dropped his bone, as if to tell me, “Game over. My work here is done.” He tilted his head at me, looking rather happy that he succeeded in getting me to play with him, when I didn’t want to; when I needed it most.

The next time you are having a less than wonderful day, try giving your dog a rawhide bone and chasing him around the house. If you don’t have a dog, I highly recommend getting one for this purpose. The bigger the dog, the bigger the fun, because when you chase him around the house, he knocks into dining room chairs and scatters rugs across the tile, slipping and sliding around corners as he goes. It’s great entertainment, and you will instantly feel better, or possibly even be inspired.

What Friedrich taught me today is simple: instead of hitting REWIND or FAST-FORWARD, the PLAY button was really all I needed.