Just call me Kristy Yamaguchi

When I was a kid, I loved figure skating. I watched all kinds of competitions on tv and my parents even took my sister and I to see different shows, like the Icecapades and Stars on Ice. My favourite was always Kristy Yamaguchi. I wanted to be just like her. I even took figure skating lessons. Only for one year though. When it came to doing some of the faster, face-close-t0-the-ice thing, I changed my mind and took dance lessons.

Even though I’m not a famous figure skater, I still love to skate. I’m not exactly athletic, and it’s always been the only winter sport I do really well.

One of the good things about living near the capital is having access to the world’s largest skating rink. It’s a canal that connects the Ottawa river to Lake Ontario. Part of the canal that goes through the city is turned into a 7.8km skateway.

I love skating on the canal. There’s so much to see! I went yesterday and it was such a nice day out. I would have loved to take better pictures, but I didn’t take my new camera, just my little point and shoot.

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There’s a festival going on called Winterlude. There are all sorts of activities and shows to attend. There are also ice sculptures, which are pretty amazing.

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Sure, it’s cold and it snows a lot, but that’s winter. It’s staying for a while, so I might as well enjoy it!

If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough

A while back, I saw that written over a picture of a girl doing a headstand and I thought “yes! This is exactly it. This is what I want.” I tell everyone that I’ll do a headstand one day. Any inversion, really, but the headstand is my goal.

However, I realized I talk a lot, but I don’t do much. I’m happy when we practice arm balances in class, because that’s where I need to start. But what about all the classes I go to that don’t have arm balances? Or the days when I don’t practice at all?

At the begining of the month, I wrote about challenges. I love a good challenge, but it has to mean something, it has to lead somewhere. That’s when I rememebered my headstand, and my arm balance challenge was born. It’s pretty simple. Do one arm balance pose a day. That’s it. Oh, and take a picture. Because I like pictures.

Sometimes, I can only hold the pose for the few seconds it takes for the picture to be taken. But that’s ok. It’s better than not doing anything at all.

Here’s what I’ve got so far.

February 3rd – crow pose

I started off with my favourite, because it’s the easiest for me.

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February 4th – side crow

In a skirt, no less.

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February 5th – Eight angle pose

In my bird dress and feather necklace (it’s a whole avian concept, in case you don’t get it). This pose needs a lot of work. I know you can’t see my feet, but I assure you they’re not on the ground. My arms are the only thing holding me up.

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February 6th – shoulder-pressing pose

I don’t like this picture. The angle is weird. But the only other picture I have from this day is me falling out of crow pose. I have a big bruise on my knee now. This pose is difficult because I always feel like either my arms are too short or my butt is too heavy. Let’s go with the arms. Also, my legs really are nowhere near my shoulders. something else to work on.

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February 7th – teddy bear headstand

I’m not sure if this is the actual name for this pose, but I like it. It’s cute.

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February 8th – crow pose

This is the crow pose that almost wasn’t. I forgot to do my pose of the day until I was going to bed, so I was tired and cranky. I could barely lift my toes up off the ground.

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February 9th – scissors pose

Again, not sure if this is the right name. It looks like my head is on the ground, but it’s not, it’s just my hair. I see the placement of my left arm is a little off. This one is hard, but it’s one of my favourites.

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I’m enjoying this challenge so far. Some days, I don’t really feel like it, but after I’ve done it, I feel really proud of myself, even if I fall over. I like taking pictures because it’s like a mirror. I can see exactly what I need to work on. It’s one thing to feel the pose, but sometimes, seeing it helps too.

Knit one, drop two

My sister is a terrific knitter. She can knit practically anything. She’s really fast too. She’s made me lovely gifts. I think she has a small obsession with buying yarn, but I love her anyways.

I am not a knitter. I’ve knit a few blankets, but they’ve been few and far between. Actually, I’ve knit two. In about five years.

When my friend Caroline was pregnant, I knit her a baby blanket. It all went relatively smoothly, even if I had to call my sister pretty often to figure out how to pick up a dropped stitch. Here’s a tip: don’t drop your stitches. And if you do, don’t try to fix it over the phone.

About four years ago, I found out my friend Sandra was pregnant, so I thought “Hey, I can knit her a blanket too!” Yeah. Not so much. I started it. It was lovely. All pink and white and soft. And so loooong to make. Her daughter will be four in June. She never saw the blanket.

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When my friend Suzanne told me she was pregnant, I asked her if she would be ok with a previously-started-for-another-baby blanket. She said yes. Perfect. Now, all I had to do was dust if off and remember how to knit.

Fortunately, my sister came over and figured it out for me. Then my sister left and I finished the blanket! Woohoo! Just in time for the baby shower. Small problem. How, exactly, does one cast off? How am I supposed to remember how to do this when I only did it once, over four years ago?

It was the morning of the baby shower and I really wanted to give Suzanne that blanket. So I had only once option. I wrapped it up, knitting needles and all.

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Then I had a brilliant idea. I stopped in to see my grandmother before the baby shower and she finished it for me. She even re-wrapped it.

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Suzanne loved the blanket. So did Stella. Well, she hasn’t seen it yet, but she only just arrived to the world yesterday.

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It’s got a few (ok quite a bit) dropped stiches and mistakes, but I’m really proud of it! It will keep baby Stella warm!

Raspberry bites

I’ve been experimenting with gluten free baking for a while now. However, I’m not a the point where I make my own flour blend, or have different kinds of flour. I buy a pre-made blend. I have realized that not all gluten free flour blends are equals. I found one I really like, from the health food store down the street, but last time I was there, they didn’t have my flour! I went to the bulk barn and bought some there, thinking I got a great deal. Yes, it was cheaper, but I like the other one better. I guess I have expensive taste (when it comes to flour).

I wanted to make raspberry muffins, but not with pieces of raspberries. I don’t like cooked, mushy fruit, unless it’s apples. I found a recipe for vanilla zucchini muffins, and played around with it a little. I pureed frozen raspberries with some frozen, grated zucchini. They are good, but not excellent. I’ll have to keep playing with it before I share. Preferably with my favourite flour.

The batter had a nice colour, but it wasn’t as vibrant as I thought it would be.

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Once cooked, the colour wasn’t really noticible. Well, they are kind of purple. But who doesn’t love purple?

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Sorry if you came to this post looking for a recipe. I’ll share as soon as I find a way to make them taste amazing!

Top ten best bookish memories

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is the Top Ten Best Bookish Memories. I was excited when I saw this week’s prompt. I’ve wanted to do this for a while, but it was never a subject for which I had a top ten. But I have many, many bookish memories!

These are not in any order. There is no way I could possibly decide which memory is the most important!

1. Going to the library when I was younger.

I grew up in a small town, and we had new books at the library about every three months. I would read all the books for my age long before the new books showed up. My mom started taking me to libraries in three different towns so I could have more books. I read in English and French, so I had even more options!

2. Discovering The Baby-Sitter’s club.

These girls were so cool. Their lives were perfect, and when they weren’t, it was because they had something important to learn. They were best friends and all the kids they baby-sat listened really well. There was a similarity to them that was comforting. They didn’t age. They had the best vacations. This is the series that started my reading obsession.

3. My first time in a used book store.

I was around 9 years old and on the way, my parents told my sister and I that we could get all of the Baby-Sitter’s club books we hadn’t read. All of them! We got 18. On the drive home, I was looking at them, trying to decide which one to read first. My sister read them in order. We’re different like that.

4. Reading my first grown-up book, Flowers in the Attic.

People read this? It’s so twisted. And awesome! They’re swearing in this book! What? They can’t do that! That lady is crazy! I couldn’t believe how different this story was from everything I had been reading. Now, this series is sold in the teen section, but it was a grown-up book when I was a teen!

5. Reading The Pillars of the Earth and World without End, by Ken Follet.

I actually read the second one first, but there’s a two hundred year difference between the books, so it’s not like I was missing something. I stayed up until two am, four days in a row reading World without End, then bought Pillars of the Earth because the person who was going to lend it to me wasn’t done reading it. There was no way I was waiting!

6. Discovering Alice Hoffman.

Pure magic. The first book of hers I read was Practical Magic. Sisters, witches, love and spells. It made magic real. She also wrote The Dovekeepers, which is probably my favourite book, as an adult. (I have a favourite as a kid too. Like Disney princesses. My favourite from when I was a kid was Ariel, as an adult, it’s Mulan.) I haven’t read all of Alice Hoffman’s books yet. I’m saving some, as a treat for when I need one.

7. Little Women, my favourite book as a child.

I wanted to be one of the March sisters! I was never sure which one, it depended on the day I was having and what adventure they were on. Even now, there is something special about reading that book. When I was fifteen, I got a huge, illustrated copy. One of the best gifts I have ever received!

8. Re-reading books.

I used to think everyone did this, but apparently not. When I find a book or a series I like, I read them more than once. I’ve read the Earth’s Children series so many times, I can open any book to any page and just start reading. Other books I regularly re-read are: The Divas don’t knit series, Leftover Dreams by Charlotte Vale Allen, Practical Magic and any book by Jennifer Cruisie.

9. College.

Here in Québec, we have college, then university. During my two years of college, I was in a litterature program. While other studends studied and did reaserch, I read. Plays, books, poetry, novels, short stories, songs. You name it, I read it. In French and English. I even had Spanish classes. I wrote a lot too. It was pure bliss.

10. Watching my students fall in love with books.

I love it when I call their name and they don’t hear me because they’re just so captivated by the story they’re reading. Their eyes light up when I tell them I’m going to read a story. Sometimes, if it was a particularly good book, they clap when it’s done. In a world of so much technology, it’s wonderful to see children surround themselves with books and the magic they bring.

What’s your best bookish memory?

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Superbowl Sunday without the Superbowl

I’m not a huge football fan, so Sunday was just a Sunday for me, not a event. When I woke up, I was feeling pretty lazy, so I watched an episode of Homeland. Have you seen this show? I’m still at the begining of season one, but I am hooked!

I realized soon enough that I had to get out of the house, otherwise I would lose my Sunday to the fight against terrorists. I decided to go to an afternoon yoga class, but before I left, I made dinner in the crockpot so that when I came home, it smelled heavenly.

I made orange curry chicken, and it’s so easy, it’s crazy.

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That’s it! Well, almost. When the chicken was cooked, I cut it into bite-sized pieces, then put in back into the sauce, along with some cream. I served it over jasmin rice. So good! Also, it’s gluten free.

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Simple and delicious.

My yoga class was perfect for a Sunday afternoon. It was an intro class, so there wasn’t too much flowing. It was very chill. Baby yoga. Not that it was easy, because we held poses for a little longer than we do in a regular flow class. I think it’s a good idea to do a beginner class every once in a while. It really makes you think about your alignment.

Homeland, easy chicken and yoga. Better than the Superbowl.

Orange curry chicken

– juice of 4 oranges

– tablespoon of curry powder

– 2 chicken breasts

– 1/4 cup of cream

Place juice, curry powder and chicken breast in crockpot and cook for three hours on high or six hours on low. Add cream and heat for 20 minutes. Serve over jasmin rice. Enjoy!

Did you just call me a bookworm?

Last week, I posted photos of my dream reading room. Today, the daily post’s writing challenge is “A  genie has granted your wish to build your perfect space for reading and writing. What’s it like?” Weird coincidence. It’s like they read my mind. Or maybe my blog post.

My perfect reading space would be in an attic. Not a musty, dusty, scary attic. No, a light, airy, lofty space with windows in the sloping roof. The floor would be creaky, the walls white and covered in bookshelves. There would be a fireplace or a wood stove for chilly winter days. In the center of the room, there is one chaise longue, preferably pink. Really, my reading bubble would have all my books in one place and it would be all mine, secret and special.

Right now, I have books everywhere. That works too. I love books, not just reading. They’re my decor. They are me and I am them. They’re taking over, and I’m letting them.

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Yes, that is a My Little Poney. She’s mine, so I guess you could say she’s vintage, because she’s kind of old now. Her name is Apple Jacks.

I enjoy buying books almost as much as I do reading them. Sometimes, I buy more than I can read. Right now, I have a few books in my to read pile. Ok, more than a few. This is just a fraction of them. People give me books too, so it’s not all my fault. Well, ok, mostly it’s my fault.

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The title of this post is something I said to my friend Jen not too long ago. Her reply? No, but I wish I did! It’s ok, I know I am.

Ooh la la!

My best friend Suzanne is going to have a baby. We’ve been friends since the first grade, and now she’s going to be someone’s mom. It’s strange, wonderful and perfect, all at the same time. She’ll be an awesome mom. I can already picture her with her daughter. Of course, in my mind it’s all Hallmark moments, but I’m sure real life will be different! Either way, I hope the next two months go by really fast, because I can’t wait to meet baby Stella.

Suzanne’s mom and sisters hosted a Paris themed baby shower yesterday. I don’t know where they came up with that idea, but it was perfect! They really went all out with the decorations too, with paintbrushes hanging from the ceiling and impressionist-ish paintings done by Suzanne’s two year old nephew. It all felt very artistic and Parisian.

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We all had to wear hats, which was fabulous, because how often do I get to wear a hat that’s not a woolly toque these days? I wore my fascinator and it made me quite happy. I didn’t think I would get the chance to wear it again! Especially not in the winter. I didn’t get a picture though, as I was busy being the photographer with my awesome new camera. I did get Suzanne’s sister to take a picture of the two of us, but I had removed my feathers by then!

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I was asked to make the cake. I wanted to stay with the Paris theme, but not be too tacky. I decided “chic” would be my theme. I bought some edible paper, which I had never worked with before. I liked the design, but I couldn’t cut out shapes like I wanted, it kept cracking. I decided to go with strips instead and this is what I came up with.

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I wanted to take step-by-step photos as I was decorating the cake, but I am way too messy for that to be possible. Making fondant is not difficult, but it requires a very hight tolerance for extreme messiness. Powdered sugar everywhere. And I’m not exaggerating!

I hope baby Stella liked it!

Challenge me

I like challenges. I’ve done two 30-day yoga challenges, one no-spending month and Dressember since I started blogging last March. I’ve also done the photo-a-day challenge last February and May. I tried again in July, but my summers always lack structure, so it didn’t get very far!

Here is the list for February. I thought about participating, especially since I got a new camera and am taking a photography class, but I don’t know. The first prompt is really not inspiring me.

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I’ve been looking for a challenge for February, because it works as motivation. I know I can challenge myself to go to yoga everyday, but it’s not the same. I need more. There are some crazy challenges out there. Here are a few I found:

– No-chocolate February (Why? Really, why?)

– Flexible February (Stretch every day. I’m guessing yoga counts?)

– Fat Free February (I get it, but I don’t want to do it.)

– February Anime Challenge (I wouldn’t even know where to start with this one. Also, this has never interested me. So, no.)

– February in Russia reading challenge (I have never made it through Anna Karenina.)

None of these really appeal to me. I loved the fashion apsect of Dressember, but it’s very cold now, so a fashion challenge would be, well, challenging. This one looks like fun, but like I said, Canadian winter/ice/snow/cold/wind up my skirt here.

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A challenge works best if it’s something I love, like yoga, dresses and photos. I also love blogging, so I think I’ll challenge myself to post every day. I need something to blog about, so maybe this will motivate me practice yoga, even when it’s cold and I’m tired, take lots of pictures and wear dresses (under my snow suit).

Are you participating in any interesting challenges this month?

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