Thursday, October 27, 2011

Throwback Thursday: Energizer Bunny Monster?

As Halloween is coming up here in a few days, I looked for a picture of me in any Halloween costume, and came up totally empty. We weren't exactly a super Halloweeny family. Traditional trick or treating didn't happen.We'd wear the costumes that we wore to school to a few peoples houses that were family friends (read: like three houses and my grandparents). And that was it. Too cold, too rainy, it just never happened. I guess I didn't care much at the time, but now I do! Halloween should be more a adult holiday anyway!

By the time I hit Jr High, Halloween took on a whole new meaning when I was having trouble persay? And one Halloween my dad took me on a shopping trip for new clothes, and it just kinda became a thing. We don't really do it anymore, but I'm pretty sure it stuck through at least high school. Kinda like back to school shopping, only in late October. Late fall and winter clothes are better anyway.

All I came up with is this picture from the jr high talent show. I don't even remember the sketch, it just involved me going down the auditorium in the Energizer Bunny Suit. So for thirty seconds of the evening, I hopped, pink and fuzzy. I gotta say though, I look Monstrous. Not in the Frankenstein way, in the way that makes me say, pink was not a very slimming color. Ugh. We barely got that thing closed. Forget Freddy Krueger, that is more of a nightmare to me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Throwback Thursday: Snuggly Soft.

November 1986.
This fur blanket/rug/item of delight was at my grandparent's house. As you MIGHT be able to tell, I rather liked to roll around on the softness. Yes, that is me, not my brother. You can tell because by a year old he had way more hair than that. Oh bald baby was I.

And oh how much I would give to curl up on a fur rug like that right now and just take a little snooze....(I'd just wear a few more clothes this time around).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Olivia, the Diva.

This is completely out of place for her. Clearly she is up to something that's no good. I mean, look at that attempt at an innocent face!

We knew when we got Pandora, her and Olivia would become the best of friends. Mainly because they both have the energy level of a five year old cracked out on pixie sticks and Mountain Dew. It took awhile, but they are finally beginning to bond!

How in the world are we supposed to get anything done when this is happening?!?

She poops glitter and eats any crumb. But she is Olivia, our puffy little princess.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Simon's Cat in 'Double Trouble'

This is EXACTLY what happened in my house a month ago.

Cupcakes fix failure.

Clearly I failed on my Yoga Challenge. Oh well, no one seemed to be paying too much attention as it was. So I shall just randomly insert some thoughts on it every once in awhile to scratch that itch and we will all call it good, cool?

In the mean time, I'll get back to the equally boring updates about everything else I do. Which pretty much equates to kitty cats, food, and travel. The trifecta of ClareAwesome.

Ok, this post already has too much ego, so let's leave you with some mouth watering pictures of the cupcakes my Daddy got me for my birthday a week and a half ago. He came into the office with a box of 12, to do with as I saw fit. Talk about handing a pyro some matches.....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mongolian Chicken Flu would suck (Day 8)

All of these are true, but I really don't know if #2, 3, or 4 is the most true....

Friday, October 7, 2011

Namaste. (Day 7)

Namaste - The light in me honors the light in you.

Said at the end of every practice by the instructor, who receives the same response by their class. There is no worship or religious actions involved, as you slightly bow with your hands at your heart center. It is simply a sign or respect and gratitude shown for the time and effort put in by both teacher and student.

So tonight, I simply say Namaste to you, readers. Thank you for reading these. Thanks for putting up with the blathering. I appreciate it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Alley Oop Headstand! (Day 6)

So today I totally had a break through. Because of this new workout program I am on, I haven't been to a yoga class in too long. I can feel my muscles shortening and tightening, so finally tonight I got my butt to a class.

And I couldn't be happier about it. Not only was getting my stretch on fantastic, but Lindsay pulled kind of a random in class. She's usually very similar in her style, and very flow oriented, but tonight she gave us time to work on our head stands.

Here's where this went awesome. I am so used to going into headstands with my forearms on the ground and my hands cupped near the crown of my head (supported head stand). I've always just kicked up from there, against a wall, and then worked at getting my balance off of the wall. But it never really goes well. I can get straight up against the wall and hold against the wall all day, but pushing away to balance on my own, not so much.

But she had us enter into the pose differently. Start with a base of your head and hands on the ground, and basically go into crow, moving your knees to the backs of your arms. Then slowly lift your feet with more pressure on your hands and head. I have a balance problem with crow, but with my head on the ground, problem solved.

So head on ground, knees on elbows, toes up, BAM! Instant headstand. Wall not needed. That is right. I am amazing. A few tries later, I literally collapsed straight to the side rolling like a lump of dough. Ok, no longer amazing, but still progress!

This makes me happy. Happy birthday to me!

Throwback Thursday: Bald Birthday Girl!

You know, I always wondered why people have parties for super little kids. It's not like you remember the party or the cake or the gifts. I mean, yeah, sure there are pictures, but you can totally stage that anyway. It's not like anyone would know, right?

However, when I look at this picture a bit closer, I see why this birthday party for me occurred.

You see, my dad's favorite dessert of all time is lemon cake. Not just regular square lemon cake, but lemon BUNDT cake. So take another quick peek at the picture and notice what kind of cakey goodness that candle has been placed upon. That's right! A LEMON BUNDT CAKE.

And a Mickey Mouse party hat? While I do appreciate that it is covering my still nearly bald head to hide me from follicle embarrassment, Disney is also a favorite of my father....I think I see a theme going here.

Although, my second observation leaves me curious. Who sends that many birthday cards to a one year old? I don't even get that many birthday cards now, and I would really like to think that I am at least slight more social in my mid twenties than I was at age one. Well, maybe not.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Indian Gymnastics on a Rubber Mat (Day 5)

I'll admit it, I fell behind in time today. But I said I would post every day. So I'm gonna. And I post this segment not because its just easy to post and go to sleep (well, its a perk) but I also had full intentions to post it at some point. When I read it, it was like the lightbulb turned on. Not like its not something I didn't already know, because its kind of a duh thing, but it just clicked, and everything shifted every so slightly.

Plus, I totally giggled at, "If there is no breath, there is no yoga. Only Indian gymnastics on a factory made rubber mat. "

So without further explanation, I am going to go crawl into bed and leave you with this gem of knowledge......

No wind=No sail. No Breath=No Yoga.

If you have ever stepped foot on a sailboat, you know that sailing without wind is literally impossible. You cannot move, and you do not move. And if there is a solid wind initially, allowing you move gracefully across the sea with an elegant tilt, and then out of no where it stops, your sailing stops, in a bad way. Immediately the sails flop down and start to clank against the mast. The ropes get tangled. The boat starts to rock, and maybe even do a little 360. You go no where. You get no where. You are totally stuck.

The wind in sailing is akin to the breath in yoga. Without the breath, there is no yoga. It is impossible. It does not exist.

The breath is what MAKES YOGA WORK. It is the link between your external, tangible, gross body, and your internal, intangible, subtle body.

The breath moves, molds, and makes the subtle body into the you you are, and the you you see, feel, and live through via your external body. The breath feeds every cell of you, those that compose your muscles, your mood, and more importantly, those in the mind.

When you try and practice yoga without the breath, you will end up like a sailboat without the wind at sea. Your body will move without elegant ease or direction. Your muscles will feel limp and cranky. And above all, the ropes of thoughts swinging through your mind will be come tangled. You will feel stuck, as opposed to floating gracefully through your day, which is likely why you “went to yoga” to begin with.

If there is no wind, there is no sailing. If there is no breath, there is no yoga. Only Indian gymnastics on a factory made rubber mat.

So next time you do your yoga, don’t let yourself spin in circles and go nowhere. Make sure, instead, that you BREATHE, breathe so you can sail through your day, your life, your YOU.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Baddha Konasana. (Day 4)

Everybody has one pose. One pose that if you ask them how long they've been doing it, they'll answer that it feels like forever, but yet they get no further than where they began.

You can blame tight muscles, stuff joints, general lack of flexability, there can be lots of reasons. Totally legit ones, its just that that pose seems to never go as desired.

For me, that pose is Baddha Konasana, aka Cobbler's pose, aka Butterfly. My feet connect, they get within 12 inches from my body, I lean forward about half an inch, and done. I watch others lean forward with no problem, some even with their face to the ground. Nope. Not gonna happen with these hips of mine.

They really aren't even tight in other poses, just this one. It's as if you could take a sledgehammer to these knees and they wouldnt budge an inch closer to the ground. Same with my chest.

But I'll keep working on it....

Last Day in Boston.

Our last day in Boston was a chance to check a few more things off our to do list.

Getting a stamp at the Saugus Ironworks National Park site.

Exploring the Sowa Market, which involved talking to a cop about driving the wrong way down a one way, buying orange cranberry bread, and sharing a delightful brie and pear grilled cheese from a food truck.

Our first (but definitely not last) Sunday Jazz brunch at Johnny D's.
Checking in to the Copley Plaza, and checking out our crazy room view.
Rock Your Asana yoga class at Back Bay Yoga. A solid two hour class that made me feel like I was a kindergartner yogi in a 6th grade yogi class. Talk about being out of my league. Whoa buddy.
A walk through the North End during Saint Anthony's Feast led to very long lines at the bakeries and some very interesting cash happenings in the streets. But dessert was still acquired....and smuggled into dinner.
Tim picked this restaurant for us to try over this visit. Mainly because they have beef wellington. He has been DYING to try beef wellington. Let's just say that he is STILL dying to have beef wellington. And that I am really glad desserts were in the bag waiting to be eaten back at the hotel.....
Good Night Boston. Every time I come back, it's like I never left. At first I am reminded of why I left, but by the time I leave, I don't want to go.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Yoga Challenge: Day 3 (Definitely a challenge)

Today has been a rough day. In more than a few ways. Tomorrow is a new day. But when it starts with a 5:30am lower body boot camp leading into a day of jury duty...something tells me tomorrow might not win any happy awards either.

I would love to pound out a really good, yogi philosophical, life is more than bad days post. Especially when its only day three of this challenge. But today, that's just not going to happen. It would be a massive lie.

So I am going to let someone else do it for me, and just hope that somehow it seeps from this keyboard into my own brain. Because I have had these exact thoughts before, during bad days, going into a yoga practice. And most of the time, it works. Most of the time.

Now that you are free, nothing else matters.
It is now just you and your breath and all the emptiness.
You have waited for something for so long, which has never come
but now you know it is time to let it all go.
Now it is just you and your heartbeat and nothing else matters.
You want everything and nothing from life
and everything around you is yours and nothing belongs to you.
Now you are free and nothing else matters.
You breathe and listen to the silence.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Downward Facing Dog (Day 2).

For those of you that don't scroll down to see if this was the most recent post, I can almost guarantee you that you missed one (or at least two if you haven't seen October's cat calendar picture). So you should scroll a bit and at least read the first two chunks explaining that I'm going into a potential realm of boredom for you, a yoga post a day for the month of October. But I'll try to keep you entertained, it's the least I can do.

So the first post was about my first yoga class ever. And no one goes in and can rock their first sun salutation flawlessly on their first go. In fact, if you can remember just the steps alone the first time around, I applaud you. But I was sucking it up in even downward dog, a resting pose. A pose for those that need a break, and yet I was needing a break after the first few seconds of downward dog...

Fastforward to now. I love downward dog. I do it more frequently than just in class. It's the most amazing stretch for the parts of me that usually ache the most. In the beginning of learning, I did the lazy man's version of the pose. In fact, a lot of the people at the rec center classes STILL do this version. It involved letting your shoulder blades hang out on your back, with no tension. But pull those babies back, and wham, whole new level.

When first instructed, holy cow. I avoided it at all costs. Its work. It hurt. And it just didnt seem like that's how a resting pose should feel. But my instructor kept coming back at me, class after class, pushing between those blades making me realize it's full potential. And now, I could endlessly thank her for it. My body goes straight into the proper position, pain free, stress free, feels great. And I could hold it for hours. I could hold it, moving within the pose for those awesome stretches. (Oh that sidebody twist feels so good. And calves? They get loving too.)

October Yoga Challenge.

I'm already behind in something I haven't started. Go figure. But I'm not so far behind that it's not worth even starting, so here it goes. I love October, for lots of reasons, some stated in the previous post, well, most stated there. But still. I also have this weird drawing towards yoga (if you haven't picked that up about me, you need to read more posts of mine instead of acting like my mother with a tivo and fast forwarding to what she thinks are the "good parts").

Anyways, I have had a lot of things to think about involving the hippie zen world of yoga in the past few months and never really got around to working through/writing them out. So my thought is, for the month of October, I will post once a day about something yoga related. Could be long, could be short, could be a quote, could be me spouting off at the mouth for far too long about something I couldn't do in class. So we will see how that goes.

We'll start easy since I better get another post in about it today to make up for yesterday. What's the best place to begin? The beginning, I guess. I never once was interested in yoga. Not ever. I saw the mats leaving my dorm room, never thinking about where they were going and for what actual purpose. Not that I was so inclined to exercise. I was happy with my beginning workouts of cardio as a freshman, and that was as far as that was going to go.

Until I moved back to Cedar Falls. Our city rec center is really a pretty good facility for being a public one, and I figured, I have the time, might as well get to a few classes. Turns out that yoga was quite a popular one, so after several weeks (maybe even months) of avoiding it, I ventured out, with a safety friend at my side to try out this completely foreign concept.

To make it only that much more nerve wracking, the instructor was a girl that graduated from my high school a year before me. A very bendy, very toned, very skinny girl. Welcome to very potential humiliation. I could lead you to believe for the rest of the post that she was a huge bitch and was snickering everytime I fell over, but that was far from the truth. The class was at least 15 people, and I doubt she looked at us any more than anyone else. She was totally professional, but at the time, it sure felt like all eyes on me. We were in the second row, in front of a whole other row on the side, right next to a mirror. In my nerves, it felt like I might as well have a flashing frame around me.

I legitly don't remember much about the actual class, but I do remember have ZERO idea about anything. Ihad probably never in my life ever even heard the term downward dog ever before. And for most of you, I bet you know how common that pose is, and by common, I mean, its like breathing, it happens all the time...but this meant that I had my neck cranked up the entire class, trying to follow what everyone else was doing. So I was a solid three/four seconds behind everyone else, and even then I was in some sort of weird contortion of each pose since I had no clue where each limb was really supposed to be. Although, that wasn't a huge problem in reality, as I was so out of shape and untoned that every pose only could be held for a few seconds. I fell out of each one well before the next pose was called. Each downward dog seemed like it was held for hours. Oh the burning arms, the shoulders on fire.

An hour later, I was done. I don't know if then I knew I would return. I bet I thought I would give it another try or two, but I can pretty much guarantee you that at know point, even in the first couple of years that I would be where I am now with it. At least mentally. Unable to go long without it, or the mental mumbo jumbo starts going on, and the body starts yelling at me to get with the program and get to the mat. I need it now. I'm not addicted, but I am. When I think back to where I was when I started, it feels like I have been with the practice for decades, but in reality, its been only a little over five years. Crazy. I mean, after the first few months, I got INTO it. For awhile I was going to yoga classes five days a week, but for the most part now its only 3 times a week, but still. For people with normal schedules, that probably isn't the frequency that is going to happen. But I will say it time and again, if you want to do it, you can do it. You might have to start with every modification known, and some made up by your own body and mind, but you will get there. I did. And that's saying something.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Best of the Best: October!

It's finally October! The best month of the year! Weather is changing, air is crisp, pumpkin flavors permeate everything, sweaters come out, Halloween to look forward to, but the calm before holiday season.....

Oh yeah, and my birthday is Friday ;-)