Archives for the month of: January, 2011

I’ve always been flexible.

It’s not challenging for me to touch my toes. Which is perhaps why my first years practicing hatha or pre- and post-natal yoga were nice, but nothing I particularly connected with.

A few years ago, I tried my first Ashtanga class. I was surprised – it wasn’t like those gentle classes I’d been doing – it was a real workout. I got sweaty and was sore afterwards. It was hard and I loved it and I started taking more classes.

About a year ago, I showed up for a class to find I was the only student there, so I snagged myself an impromptu private lesson. I had some specific questions about things that I knew I was doing wrong, and for the next 60 minutes we went over those moves again and again until I got them.

That hour with Angie completely changed my practice.

While I’m flexible, my balance is average and my strength is laughable. All of a sudden, moves that I thought were easy thanks to my flexibility, were much harder, requiring more strength, because I was no longer cheating them. Suddenly, the whole sequence seemed to make more sense, become more challenging and at the same time more rewarding. Since then, I’ve made it a priority to fit Ashtanga (especially with Angie) into my schedule.

I’ve discovered that I love the structure of Ashtanga. It’s the same series of moves in the same order every time. It’s comforting knowing what’s coming next, and doing the same sequence every time makes it easy to see improvements – I can see that I’m getting stronger, that my balance is improving and that I’m getting more flexible.

I even love the chanting at the beginning and end of every class. Me – the skeptical non-believer, who shuns anything metaphysical or mystical! But hey, you want me to recite a Sanskrit chant about a sage with a thousand radiant white heads holding a conch shell? I’m totally in.

But most of all, I love the feeling I have after class. I get a real sense of accomplishment when my practice advances or I can do something new – going in to full backbend, or getting into headstand without using the wall. These are things that make me proud of myself and proud of how strong my body is. That post-practice sense of calm mixed with pride and power is intoxicating.

I spend my days collaborating, negotiating and compromising with clients, suppliers, coworkers, my kids, my husband, traffic and so on. With my yoga practice, it’s just my mat and me. The feeling of accomplishment from a good practice is all mine – there’s no one else to share the credit with, I did it. Me. All by myself.

With help and guidance from Angie, of course.

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Last night I had the pleasure of joining a group of foodies for dinner at Hardware Grill. The evening was organized by Chris of Eating is the Hard Part and we were lucky to sit at the Chef’s Table with a front row view of the action going on in the kitchen:

To be clear, I don’t consider myself a foodie, so going to dinner with those who do, can be a bit intimidating (will I be shunned if I accidentally reveal my love of powdered coffee creamer?) Add to that the fact that I hadn’t met most of the people at the table beforehand, and I was out of my comfort zone.

I should never have worried. It was a great evening filled with wonderful conversation, delightful dishes and plenty of laughter. What more could you ask for on a chilly winter’s night?

I will leave the food descriptions and reviews to others who are more talented and adept (such as Chris). I was delighted by the visual appeal of the dishes placed in front of me, so that I will share. It was all delicious spot-on, but I have to say the beef carpaccio was my favourite of the evening.

P.S. D and I had our first date at Hardware Grill, so it’s got a soft spot in my heart – we even stopped by the restaurant on our wedding day to snap photos…

Last week, someone close to me critiqued this wee blog of mine and it bothered me much more than was probably warranted.

It’s been days, and it’s still stinging. Part of me wants to just pack it in – forget this foray into blogging. That’s the perfectionist/defeatist part of me. If my writing can’t be perfect on every note, then why bother creating at all? If I’m going to get well-intentioned wrist slaps every time I take a misstep here, then perhaps it’s just not worth it.

Welcome to my psyche, folks!

This blog is frightening for me. I like to think that I’m pretty good at the whole “writing” thing, but I mostly restrict myself to 140 characters for the meagre extent of my “personal” writing. These longer posts allow me to mull things over in more words, but they also afford more opportunity to screw up, sound dumb, make bad arguments, insult people or come across as whiny, pedantic, unoriginal or (horrors of horrors!) just plain boring.

But NOT writing isn’t going to make my writing better.

And maybe I should give myself permission to screw up. Maybe it’s those missteps – as a blogger, employee, friend, daughter, wife and mother – that keep me from being the worst thing of all:

Just plain boring.

 

 

 

I love traffic circles.

I love the constant movement of traffic. I love choosing lanes based on circumferential fractions. I love the ordered chaos and the rules of the circle. I love the mid-curve signal change. I love the game-show feel (“she’s chosen three-quarters, let’s see where she’ll end up… why it’s the zoo!”)  They just seem like a civilized way to handle an intersection. So much more… organic.

For some reason, traffic circles have fallen out of favour in current roadway design, and it’s a pity. Just outside of my new neighbourhood, there’s a massive, multi-lane, four-way stop intersection. It’s confusing, it’s huge and it’s dangerous. It’s also not quite busy enough to justify proper traffic lights outside of morning and evening rush hour. However, it would be the perfect spot for a traffic circle.

If there were a traffic circle, it wouldn’t matter who got to the line first, or whether a left turning vehicle has the right of way in the face of on-coming but slightly late-arriving traffic. Just throw them all in the circle and they can go on their merry way.  No stop and go, just go around. Much better.

I might be the only person who wishes traffic circles would make a comeback, but that might be because I’m the only one who gets excited approaching a traffic circle. It’s like an amusement park ride in the midst of my travels. And I’m all in favour of injecting just a little bit more fun into the mundane.

I was at the Muttart today – what a great place to take my new camera for a spin. I really love the texture of plants…

Running a half marathon is easy.

It’s the four months of training beforehand that’s the bitch.

I’m training for a May half marathon, which means training starts now. It will be my third half, but it’s been almost a year since I’ve done anything close to serious running. I’ve also never trained outdoors through the winter. But people do it all the time, so why can’t I?

Tonight, while J and I were crunching our way through the dark trails behind my neighbourhood, we set out our running schedule:

Monday – off

Tuesday – she does volleyball, I do yoga

Wednesday – run (this will eventually be our speed training or hills day)

Thursday – clinic night + run

Friday – off

Saturday – off

Sunday – long runs

There’s enough flexibility in that schedule to add another run later on when more mileage is needed and I might add in some extra yoga classes if time permits. Yes, we’ve signed up for a clinic. We don’t need the talks, but we’re both the type of people who needed a scheduled event (that we paid money for) to help keep us going. It’s also nice to run in different areas of town, just for a change of scenery.

So the plan is set. It’s nothing but good intentions at this point.

My skirt today

My shag rug

I hate the word “momtrepreneur.”

Besides being a rather clunky portmanteau, I hate the visions it conjugates. An overachieving stay at home mum cajoling friends into buying her gourmet dip mixes or selling her crafted creations on Etsy. Or, a professional on her maternity leave, doing consulting work on the side while blending organic, locally grown vegetables into ice cube tray portions.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike that stay-at-home mums do these things (I may have done some of them myself), I just hate the actual term. I’m all for women finding their passions and sharing their talents with the world (and making some dollars while they’re at it). I completely understand the often conflicting desire to spend lots of time with your kids AND find something mentally challenging so you don’t go nuts watching “In the Night Garden.” Doing work on the side satisfies both of those needs for a lot of women.

But what’s with the cutesy label?

If you’re starting your own business, however small, you’re an entrepreneur. “Momifying” the word only makes your efforts seem less serious, less challenging, less worthy of respect or consideration. It infantilizes the great efforts that these entrepreneurs (who also happen to be moms) undertake. It makes the work seem not quite as important as a REAL entrepreneur.

So, I say keep doing what you’re doing, but shuck the pink frilly label and grab your rightful place as an entrepreneur. Yes, you still wear multiple hats, but you don’t need to weave them all into your business title.

And really, would any guy call himself a “dadtrepeneur?” And if he did, would you want to sleep with him?

I didn’t think so.

The fabric on my new throw cushions.

Besides finally starting to blog, I do have other resolutions for 2011:

1) Run a half marathon

Training has informally started with my trusty running partner, J.

2) Work less, volunteer more

This is still somewhat nebulous, but I want to do more than just show up at events.

3) Plant a vegetable garden

New house, new backyard with a vegetable plot just waiting for me (and my mum) to attack. Swiss chard, beets, tomatoes, carrots, beans, herbs, tomatoes… what else?

4) Take the kids on a great vacation

It might very well be the year of the mouse.

5) Make that public presentation

I’ve had a great idea rolling around in my head for a few months. Time to knuckle down and make it something workable.

6) Learn my new camera, and take more photos

Hoping this new blog will help.