weekend

Random McRandomness

Lilacs
there are lilacs!!!!

I had a good weekend. I spent Friday relaxing and reading. It looks so pretty outside, but it’s still so cold. I don’t know about you, but 50F in January feels a lot warmer than 50F in April, and the temps have barely been making it out of the 50s these days. I know this is typical here, and I know I whine about this every year, but the fact is that I am so ready for it to be warm that it’s not even funny. Oh well. At any rate, I didn’t go anywhere Friday because I just wanted to stay inside where it was warm and dry and full of cuddly cats.

It’s not fair that it looks like this outside:

Around The Neighborhood

…but feels like this:

Wicker Park

(At least the lilacs are out, right? They smell so good, you guys! I love lilacs!)

Anyway.

Speaking of cats. Helena is back to peeing in bad places again.

It had been years since she’s done that (although I’m just suspecting that maybe she’s been doing it all along and I’ve been mistakenly blaming Crookshanks, who is more apt to poop in a naughty place rather than pee, but he has a history of that as well), but it started again when I bought a bath mat for the tub. You see, our tub has gotten slippery over the years and I didn’t like feeling like I was going to slip when I went for a shower. So I got a bath mat from TJ Maxx which was probably my first mistake because it had a nasty skunky rubbery scent to it. But it was comfy and kept me from slipping! Then, Helena started peeing on it. We got rid of the mat and she just kept peeing in the tub. Now, as far as a cat peeing somewhere naughty, the tub isn’t the worst place, right? I even joked that it was time to start toilet training her. She had the room right, you know?

But then it got worse. Adam got a new couch, identical to the one we had before. (Don’t ask what happened to the other one. It’s a long sordid story best left in the past.) Not the most comfortable couch ever, but it does the job. Except I started noticing a pee smell from the slipcover. Adam would wash it, and then it would appear again, this time in a different spot. We removed the slipcover, and Adam put a table cloth over the couch. The table cloth looks and feels like fabric, but it does not absorb liquid. If a cat pees on it, the pee gets on his/her foot, thus theoretically discouraging further elimination on the couch. HAH. HA HA HA HA!! See, I wasn’t completely convinced it wasn’t Crookshanks because as I said, he has a pretty checkered history, that one. THEN Adam actually CAUGHT Helena in the act.

Seriously? Seriously? WTF Helena. She’d been so good all these years! (Or maybe not, now that I think of it.) We have THREE litter boxes for those brats. I’m tired of cleaning up after cats who can’t/won’t eliminate in the proper places. Hmph. Maybe I’ll just start peeing anywhere *I* feel like it. How would you like that, huh?

Cats are the gifts that keep on giving. IN THE ANNOYANCE DEPARTMENT. Why does this happen whenever I practice yoga at home??

Every Damn Time!
every damn time!

Hmph. Well I’ll just keep lowering from chatarunga (which is hard enough as it is!) on to him every day and see if that changes his tune.

They’re lucky they’re cute and cuddly and so darn loveable.

Yesterday, I went to bookstore because although I have a couple of eBook copies of The Secret Garden, I really wanted a hard copy. I found a paperback that wasn’t too expensive, and a copy of the Bhagavad Gita that was also very nicely priced. :) Yesterday evening, I watched Juno and Mean Girls, played some games, and read The Secret Garden–the hard copy. I PARTY HARD, Y’ALL.

So, randomly. I LOVE getting packages. And sometimes that means I go shopping online just so I can have packages arrive for me. Today, I finally used some of the $35 I had in Amazon credits to get a copy of The Secret Garden/A Little Princess DVD combo pack, a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s baby mild soap, and the black and white Skull Shores Frankie Stein Monster High doll. So excited! I used to collect all the Monster High dolls, but now it’s just out of control. There are too many. I decided to focus only on Frankie Stein because she’s just awesome.

Frankie Stein
This pic is outdated. I’ve gotten at least one new one since.
I wish I was more creative with posing them. Some people are great at it.

Once I get this particular doll, my collection will be complete, at least until they come out with a new Frankie Stein. Then my sights will be set on the Katniss Barbie. WHO IS AWESOME.

Today I read and read and read. Then I headed out for a hatha yoga class. The class was fantastic, even though we had to do that blasted utthita parsvakonasana which I hate! (There are some poses which make me all verklempt when I have to do them, this is one of them. I should make a post about that someday.) Anyway, I was rewarded with a lot of wonderful forward folds and deep twists, and you guys know how I feel about forward folds, right? The teacher would say something like: “When you’re ready, come out of the pose” and I’d be thinking “But I’m not ready to come out of this fold!” But I’d come out because well, I didn’t want to be stuck behind everyone else in the class, right?

So, Sunday is winding down and another week begins. Here’s what’s on my plate:

· yoga classes
· yoga teacher training
· yoga teacher training lecture
· yoga teaching practice
· library
· urban priestess workshop
· master teacher roundtable
· reading
· homework
· farmville (shut up, it’s fun and relaxing)
· life

What about you?

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I Sang Myself Awake! (Pictures)

Vines About 18 months ago, I decided to visit the website of yoga master teacher Seane Corn1. I normally don’t like it when a site plays music (I’m usually listening to music on my own and the interruption is jarring!), but the song playing in the background was beautiful. I had to find out who it was and where to get it!

In the bottom right corner of Seane’s website, there is a link that says Music by Suzanne Sterling. The song was called Om Mane Padme Hum. I couldn’t buy the exact version she was singing on the site2, but I found another version and immediately purchased and downloaded it. Om Mane Padme Hum. The first time I ever sang this chant with was that mp3 that I purchased from emusic.com so many months ago. With Suzanne Sterling.

This past weekend, I got to attend a workshop led by Suzanne Sterling! It was called Sing Yourself Awake! and it was life changing. I haven’t sang so much in… ever.

Me and Suzanne Sterling
Me and Suzanne

Suzanne taught in three sessions, each one comprised of a lecture, movement and singing, and a yoga practice that incorporated sound.

Here are some of the key points I took away from her workshop:

– The natural order of things is harmony.
– Every living thing vibrates, and those vibrations all give off sound (that we may or may not be able to hear). Those sounds impact us and can cause stress.
– We can use sound and singing to reduce stress and to release energy that is stuck.
– Every sound we make, every sound that has been made, is all out there in the universe. It will be out there forever.

Whoa.

Sit back and think about that for a minute. Pretty intense, huh?

It’s out there, and always will be.

Really makes me think twice about the things I say out loud, and what effect it’s having on the environment and living things around me.


source

Ever since I started my yoga journey, I’ve noticed that I’m a bit more outspoken, I don’t hold back if something’s endangering me, my way of life, my family, or my friends. I used to be that girl who kept quiet so as not to stir up trouble (well, most of the time), but not anymore. But I’m still inhibited. This workshop is still working, bringing out more of that inner me, the one that hid to keep people from disliking her or being mad at her. ‘Cause you know what? Just because someone told me, when I was 13, that I shouldn’t be in choir or chorus because I couldn’t sing doesn’t mean it’s true. I’m not Beyonce or anything, but I have a voice, an instrument, and I can use it to keep me healthy. I can shut that inner critic (and those old voices) up enough to belt out songs even when I find myself faltering because holy crap I was sitting right next to Suzanne Sterling and singing with her. I’m no longer hiding to please someone else. (You keep compromising yourself–it’ll never be enough for those asking it of you. And then when there is nothing left of you, they typically leave you behind. Sad.) Will I be trying out for American Idol anytime soon? Heck to the no. But I’m not afraid to belt it out, at least, when I’m home alone and there is a cat purring on my lap. And thanks to this workshop, I know how to belt it out safely.

I also got to learn a lot about an organization called Off The Mat and Into The World (OTM for short). Suzanne Sterling and Seane Corn are co-creators. The yoga community going into the world and doing good. It’s grassroots, it’s inspiring, it’s change. My yoga studio, Moksha Yoga, is having a November special. If you purchase a class package, 10% of the proceeds goes to Off The Mat, Into The World. I won’t be purchasing a package because I get free yoga in exchange for the work I do for them3. I want to get involved with this organization and I’m trying to figure out a way to do so that’s more than just sending a donation.

I’ve been thinking about how yoga is so much more than doing poses and bending yourself into crazy shapes. It’s a lot more than just getting into shape and it’s definitely a lot more than stretching. There is so much to learn and I’m ready to do more. Is it something as simple as stepping up practice to four or five days a week instead of two or three? Am I ready to move on to a higher level class (1-3 or 2-3, rather than the 1-2 level that I feel so safe in?) What about teacher training? Hmm. Something else to meditate about.

I’m not really sure where I meant to go with this entry. Have you ever had an experience that hit you so hard, but you just can’t put into words how much it impacted you? That’s how I’m feeling right now. I just don’t know the right words to say to fairly describe how incredible this past weekend was.

I do know this, though. Three times during the workshop, I got to sing Om Mane Padme Hum with the actual Suzanne Sterling. How awesome is that? :)

What yoga has done in my life has been nothing short of incredible. I’m excited about what’s next.

.:Love:.

Wheel/Upward Facing Bow Pose: Urdhva Dhanurasana


  1. Seane Corn and Me I got the chance to study with Seane Corn in October of 2010. I only took one class that particular weekend, but when she comes back next year, I plan to take the entire workshop, even the hard class! I mean, there is always child’s pose if it gets to be too much–but maybe by then it won’t be!
  2. I later found out why, and it has to do with rights and all sorts of legalese, but Suzanne told me that she has the rights again and that I’ll be able to purchase it next year! YAY!
  3. If you go to the site and sign up for the newsletter, you can get my handiwork delivered right to your email inbox!

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Two Good Days (Pictures)

Golden Last week, I had two really good days. It all started Friday morning. I had to get up super, duper early, which normally would not be a good thing for me. I am not a morning person at all! I’m a night owl all the way and often wonder if I’d do better if I lived on the other side of the world. But knowing me, I’d still end up a night owl somehow.

But anyway, this time it was OK to be getting up at 7am because I was going to get pampered! Late last year, I purchased a Groupon voucher for The Spa on Oak for a one-hour chocolate massage and one-half hour cinnamon sugar scrub. I was ready to redeem it (I’m always afraid I’m going to forget to redeem those vouchers and they’ll expire!), so I made the appointment and grabbed the first available slot. Hence the early morning wake up time. Anyway, when I was checking in, the lady behind the counter asked if I wanted to upgrade, for free, my sugar scrub to a facial! Of course I said “yes.” I’d never had a facial before and I’d been breaking out like a fifteen year old.

So, I got to spend the morning getting pampered. The massage was a combination of Swedish and deep tissue. I am no stranger to getting massages–I try to get one every couple of months if I can–but it had been a while and it was really nice. Then the facial. That was nice as well, even with the extractions, which really felt like I was being pinched. By the time it got too uncomfortable, it was over. My chin hasn’t felt this smooth since before I can remember.

After my morning of pampering, I headed down Oak Street, which is a chi-chi street in the city. Lots of high-end boutiques. I wandered into Juicy Couture and made my way upstairs, where all the running suits and sale items were. I ended up getting a cute tee-shirt. Then I made my way to the beach. I hadn’t been to the beach since the day I hung out with Mylin, and it was so beautiful out, it just seemed like the right thing to do. I sat right in the sand and read, enjoying the warm sun and soft breezes.

Just Chillin'

Oak Street Beach Oak Street Beach

After that, I did a little shopping on Michigan Avenue. That wasn’t as much fun because for some reason, there are a LOT of tourists downtown still, even though tourist season is over, and THEY WALK SLOW. They like to walk five abreast and just saunter down the street. It’s hard to get around them! But I managed it, and I found some really cute socks in TopShop, and some great deals on tops at Gap. I’m talking shirts and tanks for just a few dollars, and long sleeve tee-shirts for 9.99. I love long sleeve tee-shirts. They’re great for winter and fall weather, and nice to wear under sweaters or hoodies. I even got colors that aren’t grey or black, if you can believe that! Wait, I may have gotten one grey shirt or tank. I guess there is no denying what I like, but really should wear brighter colors this winter. Maybe that’ll help keep me from being so depressed come February. I am in the market for sweaters, but finding a normal sweater is always a challenge for me. They’re all shaped weird. The ones I DID love, from TopShop, were out of my budget. So, I didn’t come home with any new sweaters. I guess that’ll wait ’til the next check comes in.

After my excursions, I was finally tired and made my way home. Spent the rest of the evening relaxing and reading and playing on the computer. I started to feel nauseated and a migraine was settling in, so I took it easy.

Saturday, I went to the library and checked out six books, then I had brunch with a former co-worker, now friend. We ate at this place called Angel’s. Just happened to find it by looking on Yelp. Four and a half star review? Yes, please.

This is what I had:

Brunch at Angel's

You know you’re jealous. I’m jealous right now and I got to enjoy it already! I had bacon, pancakes with strawberries, and scrambled eggs. Orange juice for my drink. It was really good and the price was pretty good, too. Our waiter was interesting. My friend and I hung out so long that he brought me a free margarita! OK, any place that doesn’t mind if I sit and chat for three hours AND gives me a free drink to boot? WIN!!!

So, those were my two really good days. I caught a cold Saturday night and my migraine started up again–BIG TIME–so the days weren’t perfect. But I can’t complain. I just can’t believe it’s already going to be Friday again. Seems like this week went by in a flash. And it may have, seeing as I spent three days of it lying in bed trying to get over a migraine and a cold (which is gone now YAY).

Is it just me, or does every cold get worse? I really don’t remember them laying me up for three days when I was little, or not even a year ago. Being sick is the pits, and today is the first day I feel 100% again. So YAY for that. I should probably get back to yoga practice tomorrow, huh?

That’s all for now. ‘Til next time! :)

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How Was Your Weekend? (Pictures)

Here’s what I did!

FRIDAY
I washed my hair, so all of my curls came back. And THEY CAME BACK WITH A VENGEANCE. My curls haven’t been this tight in ages.

Short, Short Curls

My hair was like this just a few days before:

Straight Hair Again

Then Jen met me at the yoga studio, where I was picking up some work-study stuff to work on. We took a class together. It was supposed to be Rich’s class (he’s one of my favorite teachers) but Rich was out and Mia was teaching, which was an awesome surprise. :) After yoga, we came to my place and watched New Moon with RiffTrax. It was a fun day.

SATURDAY
Adam and I got up and headed up north to the tippy top of the state to Richardson Adventure Farm (home of the world’s largest corn maze) for our friends Paul & Krista’s wedding. As guests of their wedding, we had all-day passes to the corn maze. It was a lot of fun. The bride looked GORGEOUS. AND… they got a picture of her on the zip line in her wedding dress which I cannot wait to see.

Adventures at Richardson Adventure Farm
What I love about this picture is that my original was far away. I cropped it and only then did I notice that she had tears running down her cheeks.

After the wedding and dinner, we headed over to the actual farm. There were animals:

Adventures at Richardson Adventure Farm Adventures at Richardson Adventure Farm

A pig race:

Adventures at Richardson Adventure Farm

A Pillow Jump:

Adventures at Richardson Adventure Farm Adventures at Richardson Adventure Farm

And of course, the corn maze itself.

Adventures at Richardson Adventure Farm

This maze is huge and it goes in stages. To do the ENTIRE maze would have taken hours. Adam and I did the one-mile maze. It was pretty cool. I hadn’t been in a corn maze since 2004.

After we left the festivities, we headed home. Naturally, we took some wrong turns. So we decided, since we were in the area, to drive across the border just so I’d say I’d been to Wisconsin. So we did. Then we made our way home.

SUNDAY
I did some work for Moksha, then I spend the rest of the day playing games, working on my website, reading, and cuddling with the cats. At one point, all three of them were sitting on the couch with me. It was pretty awesome.

And that was my weekend in a nutshell. How was your weekend?

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General Life Update

You know what makes me sad? How QUICKLY weekends fly by. At least I got the full two days this time around, though. Last weekend, I worked on Saturday from 10am-5pm. It’s hard enough to work on a Saturday, but to do it for seven hours made it even harder. I’m really glad I get overtime, and it was kind of nice to be in the proofreader’s area by myself. I could sing all I wanted without worrying about anyone hearing me and subsequently running from the building with bleeding ears. Friday, I worked from 9am-930pm. My brain was officially fried by the time I got home that night.

I won the book Slice of Cherry (and other cool stuff) from Dia Reeves. And I held off on reading it forever, partially because I knew it would be out there and I wanted to be in the right frame of mind to read it. Partially because I knew I’d enjoy it and sometimes I like to make myself really wait until I dive into something I know I’ll like. Cause the anticipation can be as much fun as the actual activity, right?

I started reading it today, and I’m almost done. Folks, this is not a small book. It’s 500 pages. And I have 52 pages left. I will finish it tonight. I am enjoying it highly. HIGHLY. Dia is an ace author, and I love her snarkiness. She is seriously talented. And kinda twisted. In a good way. Add her to my list of authors who inspire me muchly.

I am so eager for spring, especially the part of spring where the rain and grey and 50F days stop and the sun shines and the trees are blossoming and flowers are everywhere. I am so eager for that. In Chicago, I’m typically wearing my pea coat all through April and most of May. The weather usually doesn’t get warm enough for short sleeves (at least for me–I run cold) until early or mid June.

The temperature when I left work Thursday morning was -5F. Right now? It’s 43F. Hard to believe that what I thought was so cold just a couple months ago seems like a HEATWAVE now. The sun’s been out, and the snow’s been melting like crazy. The Bobcats have been everywhere cleaning up the slushy stuff from the streets. Maybe I’ll be able to actually cross the bridge without walking in the street tomorrow morning!

For some reason, ever since I updated WordPress, some of my Flickr pictures are not showing up on my posts. I don’t know if this is a Flickr thing or a WP thing, but I do know that it is annoying me. (update: Someone else posted the same thing on the Flickr Help forums. It’s a Flickr thing.)

In other random news, I’ve been relaxer-free for almost two years now. That’s the longest I’ve gone without a relaxer since I was 12 years old. I’ve straightened my hair a couple times since then (blow out and flat iron), mostly to see the length, but also to make it so I can smash it under a hat in this cold weather. Funnily enough, I’ll see a picture of me with the straight, long hair and feel prettier, although there are times I’ll look at a picture with my curls and think HOLY CRAP, MY HAIR IS COOL! I guess I’m still not done transitioning.

Still adjusting to life as a (often more than) full-time office worker again. I miss midday yoga so badly. A couple weeks ago, I tried a restorative candlelight class and absolutely loved it. I haven’t been back though because it’s Sunday nights from 7:30-9pm. Usually around that time, I’m bathing and reading and winding down for the night. Seems like a good time to do the yoga right? Except it would be better if I didn’t have to go out to do it. We’ll see how it is in the summer, though. I think it’ll be much easier for me to deal with the late evening classes. My body misses yoga. Very much. I feel like I need to take a vigorous class just to get my chakras all back in balance. Then a restorative class to recover!

One thing I need for sure (in addition to yoga) is a massage. I have vouchers for THREE of them. I think I will schedule one for this week. 6:30p.m. Wednesday. The place is a hop, skip, and jump away from my office. I can leave work and go straight to an hour of bliss.

And then Thursday, I am taking 1/2 day off work because Aidan’s flying in! :D Did I mention that he texts now? Today, he got ahold of his dad’s phone and we texted back and forth. It was so cute. Can you imagine any of us texting at age 8? Technology is crazy. Aidan’s never known a world without cell phones. Or iPods. Or CDs. Or computers, DVD Players, cable TV.

Gah, I cannot wait to see him!!!

I’m seriously considering buying a new DSLR. I am looking at the Canon Rebel XS. I don’t need any of the super, duper fancy $2000 ones. It’s just that my current one was acting buggy when we were at Disney, and there are some dust particles in it that I have to Photoshop out of every picture that has blue sky in the background. I don’t want to go out on me when I am taking pictures of something important. Also, the difference between my Canon pix and the point and shoot pix are off the charts. I would miss not having a DSLR. I’ve had my XT for nearly four years now. It’s gone with me on many, many trips. It has served me well.

My book to buy list is a mile long. And I was toying with the idea of buying a The North Face coat. Maybe next winter, though. I have also had it in the back of my mind to get Amazon Prime again, but I can’t bring myself to spend the money just yet. I haven’t shopped much at all since Disney World, to be honest. Groceries is where the bulk of my expenditure has been going, and even that’s notout of control. Oh yea, I did need a new tire right before that big blizzard hit. But as far as leisure spending? Not so much lately. I feel awfully disciplined. And also goal-minded. That camera isn’t going to buy itself, you know?

I should get to bed. As usual, those last precious hours every Sunday night speed by. Time for a long work week ahead–but I possibly have a massage to look forward to Wednesday evening, and I DEFINITELY have Aidan to look forward to this weekend. Not to mention temperatures that are not sucktastically cold!

So, with that said… good night all! :)

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