Of various and sundry things

I feel like it’s time to dust off the cobwebs over here and get back to it.  As for exactly what “it” is, I’m not entirely sure.  There have been a lot of changes, but not so much a lot of yoga.

Let’s see, well, what used to be the hypothetical house is now a real bricks-and-mortar place.  And we’re moving into it.  Next week.  The realness of that hasn’t really hit me yet.  I mean, I know I made a million decisions and worried about plain subway tile vs. beveled (beveled) and artichoke green vs. khaki (artichoke), but it’s like it kind of didn’t occur to me that after I finished making all those choices there would be a house and I would get to live in it.

Behold the glory:

Almost completed exterior - front door still needs paint

Almost completed exterior - front door still needs paint

What else?  Oh, yeah, I’m also starting a new job next week.  Because I’m insane, evidently.  Things at my current (until tomorrow) place of employment became…untenable (to be diplomatic), and I’ve accepted a new position that I’m very excited about.

Other things that have happened since I last posted a million years ago:

- I surprised The Guy with a trip to Vegas for his 30th birthday in June

- I started doing more conventional exercise: running, weights, cardio dvds.  I’ve actually been quite enjoying it, but missing the calm and balance of yoga at the same time, so I’ve been back on the mat about once a week lately, and hope to get it up to two to three times a week once we move (and I have a yoga room).  It’s all about managing expectations.

I think that’s all for now, but I promise not to be absent for another six months this time.

Vanilla-scented laze

It’s been a slow week over here at Chez but I was alive. Between the moon day and then three four days of Lady’s Holiday, there was pretty much no yoga.

I don’t know what my body’s deal is, but it’s felt the need to throw me for a loop these past few months. I take the first three days of LH off from practice, as has been my custom forever, and then when I plan to get back on the mat on day four, KABOOM: ruthless cramps, headache, general misery.

So, mostly I spent the week (when I wasn’t working like a maniac, which was most of the time) cuddled up under a blanket watching 30 Rock and Dexter dvds with The Guy. It was nice and comfy, but it felt way too lazy for my liking. My body seems to be back to normal today, so I promise it’s back to the mat — even though that’s going to present a huge mental hurdle for me to jump over, given the fact that it’s -30 outside and all I want to do is cuddle up under a blanket and watch 30 Rock and Dexter dvds with The Guy (see above).

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On a completely unrelated note, I was in Toronto a couple weeks ago on business and I visited The Model. I was starving when I got to her house, so to tide me over until we went out for a very yummy Persian meal, she offered me some plain yogurt topped with her homemade granola. Granola is fine. I can take it or leave it. Not really my thing — until that moment. Yeah, so colour me converted.

So naturally I came home and made her recipe that weekend (with some changes based on what I had in my cupboards/what jumped out at me at the bulk food store. It’s glorious. Every morning since then my breakfast has involved plain organic yogurt, fresh berries of some sort (strawberries this morning…yum), a drizzle of maple syrup and, of course, the piece de resistance, a sprinkle of the granola. You can check out the original recipe over here.

Here’s my version:

Vanilla-scented Granola

(adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2002)

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

4 cups old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup wheat germ

1 cup pecan pieces

3/4 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds (unsalted)

1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup honey

2 tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup yogurt covered raisins

Preparation

Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 300°F. Lightly spray large baking sheet with nonstick spray. Mix next eight ingredients together in large bowl. Combine oil, honey, and sugar in small saucepan; bring to simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour hot liquid over oat mixture; stir well. Using hands, toss mixture until thoroughly mixed.

Spread granola on prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Transfer sheet to rack; cool granola completely. Once granola has cooled, add dried cranberries and yogurt covered raisins, toss to incorporate. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

Blueprint

10. The perverse pleasure of aching muscles the day after a serious workout yoga practice. 

–From Blueprint Magazine‘s “50 Reasons to Make these Resolutions” (Jan./Feb. 2008)

 Also, how I will feel tomorrow after tonight’s vinyasa class.  I need something to kick my bum into gear after last week’s occasional delinquency. 

Of unravelling, fragments and adulthood

January 14th saw the unravelling of my to-that-point perfect WoYoPracMo record. Why?  Because of shoes. 

I have a very small window of time into which to fit my practice on weekdays and it occurs between 4:30 (when I finish work) and 6:30 (when The Guy usually gets home from work).  Usually I also have to squeeze grocery shopping in there as well.  But last Monday I decided that I needed to buy new knee-high leather boots.  I’d found a pair I liked, complete with kitten heel (because, really, I don’t need to add a 4” heel onto my already tall 5’10”).  But they were sold out in my size at the nearest store.  So I had to go to the other one.  At the other end of the city entirely.  And it took me over an hour round trip.  Got home.  Tried on boots.  Admired boots.  Made dinner.  Sat on couch.  Promptly forgot about practice.  Remembered practice while lying in bed around 11 p.m.  Considered getting out of bed to practice.  Realized that was ridiculous.  Went to sleep.

Since then, I’ve had a few good practices.  I’ve also had a few more misses.  I like to call this laziness.  I don’t have a single excuse.  But clearly, unlike last year, I’m not earning a perfect record for this year’s WoYoPracMo.  Such is life.  And practice.

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 Why do I love sentence fragments so much today?

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If you had been in our local grocery store on Saturday evening around 6:45, you would have seen The Guy and me walking around, picking out asparagus and red skinned potatoes with ridiculous smiles plastered on our faces.  You would have seen me break my gait – from a walk into an occasional skip – out of pure excitement.  We’d just come from a meeting with our builder.  We chose a lot!  Our plans are being sent to the architect to be modified as per our specifications!  We plan to move-in in September!  We are building a house.  And we love it a lot.  

When did I get old enough to do things like build a house, apply for a mortgage and send floor plans back to the architect for modifications?  When did this whole adult thing start? 

Beets! (etc.)

FINALLY.
You can’t hate beets after you’ve tried them like this.

Baked beets with balsamic vinegar, oregano and garlic
(adapted from The Naked Chef Takes Off, Jamie Oliver)

Serves 4

1 lb. fresh raw beets, preferably golf-ball sized, scrubbed and peeled
10 cloves garlic, peeled and squashed
1 handful of fresh oregano (or cilantro, or marjoram or flat leafed parsley)
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
10 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut beets into quarters (otherwise they take waaaay too long to cook). Place beets in the middle of a large piece of aluminum foil, along with the garlic and oregano (or herb of your choice). Season with salt and pepper then fold the sides of the foil in in order to form a package. Before the seal the foil into a packet, add the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Scrunch or fold the foil together to seal at the top. Put on a baking sheet, place in other over (middle rack) and cook for 1 hour (until tender). Enjoy!

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Today’s practice consisted of much deep breathing and much time in child’s pose as I tried to deal with an exceedingly painful Ladies’ Holiday. The drugs are working quite nicely now, but I was not in a good state when the drugs from earlier in the day wore off early this evening. There was much writhing and complaining.

Even during all the aforementioned pain I was still blissfully happy. Yesterday’s news continues to thrill me. I guess I can let you in on the news somewhat and say that (a) it’s work-related, and (b) it relates to my current job (i.e. I did not get a new job). That’s really all I can say for now, and there’s quite a bit that I will never be able to discuss here for confidentiality reasons. Anyhow, it’s amazing how excited and motivated I am. Not that I wasn’t before, but now, on a Friday evening, I’m excited for work on Monday and wishing (a little bit) that it would hurry up and get here. Weird, eh? Having so much responsibility placed on my shoulders is a little scary, but at the same time knowing that others have so much faith in me is a huge confidence builder. I’m very proud of myself and right now I’m just trying to enjoy that feeling and I think I’ve finally convinced myself that I deserve it.

Status

I am positively bursting with excitement.  Unfortunately, I can’t say why.  Yet.  At least not anywhere this public.  But I just needed to say it!

YIPPEE!!!!!

Sunlight and beets

I feel as though the first week of WoYoPracMo was thoroughly lacklustre for me (practiced every day, many practices were, frankly, half-assed).  As much as working full time/not having a yoga studio or even a decent practice space limits me, I do find it much easier to practice when it’s part of a routine.  Last week I was still on holiday and each day was different, now that I’m back at work I’m finding it much easier to fit in normal practices.  Okay, well, except for Monday.  I had every intention of it, but then my friend called me.  She was planning on putting an offer in on her first condo that evening and wanted someone to come with her to look at it once more and to be there during the offer-making, paperwork-signing process.  So I went.  And I didn’t get home until late.  So a short practice it was.

I was so excited to get back into full practice yesterday.  I was looking forward to it.  Then I realized it was a moon day.  Ultimately, I said screw it and practiced anyway.  If I took advantage of every excuse that made itself available to me I probably wouldn’t even do this practice anymore.  

 I started yesterday by setting the intention to rediscover my passion for Ashtanga by way of this practice, and it worked (for now!).  Everything felt good.  Backbends felt great.  Vinyasas were fun.  My shoulders are a little sore today from throwing all the vinyasas back into the mix.  But I love that good soreness that comes from real practice.  

 I got a new space at work.  It’s glorious.  Instead of being shoved into the make-shift ergonomic nightmare that was my old area, I now have a huge three-sided desk, tons of storage and, best of all, two giant windows.  I’m awash in sunlight right now.  I heart it a lot.

 I realize that I have been thoroughly remiss in my promise from waaaaay back to provide the recipe for the best beets ever.  And now that Yogamum has declared her love for beets, I’m sure she’ll want to try this recipe next.  I promise I’ll post it in the next couple days.  It’s the best thing ever.

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