Aerial yoga

For Christmas, a friend gave me a gift certificate for an aerial yoga class. I’m also her son’s teacher, so it was my teacher gift as well. It’s the first time I ever recieve a present from a parent that has the words “pole dancing” on it! There wasn’t any actual pole dancing involved, but the class was at a pole dancing studio.

In January, just before school started up again after the holidays, four of us braved the snow and made our way to the studio. We weren’t exactly sure what to expect. I’ve tried aerial silks before, but I wasn’t sure if it would be the same thing or not.

Turns out, it was a good work out, a lot of fun and a great challenge! Our instructor made it look easy, but it really wasn’t. We started of kind of flying back and forth, which was nice, when you got used to the ribbon cutting into your stomach. I thought it would slice me in half, but that was just because it wasn’t placed right. Oh. My bad.

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We did some handstands too. Correction. The other girls did handstands. I developed a sudden fear of the floor coming too close to my face. Must get over it, as I would like to do an actual, unsupported handstand one day.

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Then we tried some sort of flying flip thing. Ha! That did not work. Not even a little. Not even at all. (See how I snuck part of that poem from 10 things I hate about you in there? yeah, I know. Awesome!) One of the girls did it. She must have been taking something to boost her performance, because it was impossible.

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We did a few upside down poses. That was kind of the point of this whole thing. At first, it was too much of a head rush and I felt like I was going to explode, so I didn’t stay flipped around for very long. But after a while, I got used to it, and could get into a few poses instead of just hanging there like a Christmas decorations.

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They made us keep our socks on, so I look like some sort of lumberjack aerialist. Those socks were never supposed to be in the pictures.

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Aerial yoga is on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, so I’m pretty happy I got to do it. I would definitely recommend trying it if you like yoga, being upside down, flying and having sore hipbones and arms the next day. Because we also pulled ourselves up using upper body strength. I don’t have very much of that, so my arms felt like noodles the next day. But it was worth it!

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At the very end, we got to stretch out and relax inside the ribbon. It’s actually very wide. We hung there in our cocoons for a while, then emerged as beautiful butterflies. Ha! Just kidding. We emerged as sweaty messes, but smiling sweaty messes.

You don’t take a photograph, you make it

I enjoy taking pictures. I’ve never called it photography, because I know there’s more to it than pointing and clicking. Sometimes, my snapshots look good, and usually, they capture the moment, which is what I’m after. Sometimes though, I know what I want the picture to look like, and I can’t do it. I can see the picture in my mind, but it doesn’t come out the way I want it to.

I’ve been wanting to learn how to take good pictures for a while now. It’s number 47 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. Writing this blog has made me want to take a photography class even more, since I don’t think a blog post is complete without photos. So I did it. I signed up for an 8 week photography class and the first one was tonight.

I’m not sure if I learned anything new tonight, because it was pretty basic stuff, but it was interesting. Oh, I did learn something. Out of the millions pf people who buy cameras, only about 4% will take a class to figure out how to use their camera properly.

Speaking of new cameras, I bought myself a treat. After Christmas, there were amazing, a-million-percent-off sales, and I got a new toy. It’s a Canon Rebel T3. I’m still not sure exactly what that means, but several people had the same one as me in the class tonight.

Isn’t it lovely?

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It has all kinds of fancy buttons and it can do pretty much anything, like stop time and levitate. Ok, so maybe not, but that’s what it feels like now, because I don’t know how it works.

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I guess it’s a good thing I’m taking a class.

I bought it a few weeks ago, and I didn’t want to wait until class started to learn how to use some of the fancy functions, so I went to see my cousin Annie, who is a photographer. She gave me a crash course and I tried to take pictures where the backround is blurry. It made sense when I was there. Now, well, I think I forgot part of it. Maybe I can go to my weekly class and also have private lessons.

This is my favourite photo taken with my new camera, so far.

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I also like this one. I didn’t take it. (Obviously. I’m in it.) Annie did. I love how the big kids are interested in the gum from my purse, while the little one is all about the wallet!

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I’m looking forward to playing with my new toy and sharing some lovely photos! My assignment for next week is to take a picture of a tree. Humm. I wonder if tree pose counts?

Snow days

I love snow. It’s like magic. I’m serious. There’s something special about it. Of course, I’m not crazy, so I don’t love it when I have to shovel it. I always think I’m in great shape until I try to shovel the driveway.

I was on holidays for two weeks, and I went back to work on Monday. On Sunday, I was planning to run errands, go to a yoga class, maybe go shopping (I need new dress pants, it’s no coincidence Dressember was so easy for me. All I wear are dresses!) It was going to be a busy, productive day.

Then I woke up to this.

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Yes, it is a terrible picture, but that’s what you get when you open the back door, stick your arm out and take a picture. I was snowed in. It wasn’t a lot of snow, but I knew, from experience, that I would get stuck if I tried to drive through it.

So here I was, stuck at home on the last day of my holidays. It only took me a few minutes to realize how perfect this was. Who needs errands and a busy day, when you can curl up on the couch and read an amazing book about a little girl who wanders out of the forest, not talking, but growling at everyone who tries to get close to her. (Magic Hour, by Kristen Hannah. Read it.)

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The only thing I was a little disappointed in was missing my yoga class.

Yesterday was a very different kind of snow day.

It was the kid’s first day back at school and Tuesday is my recess-duty day. It was the perfect day. It wasn’t cold or windy, the snow was sticky and there was a lot of it, and the kids were still happy enough to be with their friends after the holidays that they didn’t fight.

Some of the little girls in my class asked me to make a snowman with them. This is a lot harder than I remember! It took about four of us to put him together. How do kids do this? There were snowmen all over the school yard.

The girls named him Jack.

I love the very centered photo of Jack and I taken by a second grader.

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Added bonus? Building a snowman was number 53 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days! Awesome.

What do you love about snow?

What does one wear to a Time Warp?

Don’t dream it, be it.

That’s the tag line for The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I heard about this movie when I was in college, and I was fascinated with the idea of audience participation during a movie. I heard people dressed up and threw things at the screen. Definitely two things I wanted to do!

Well, 12 years later, I made it! Last night, I became an official Rocky Horror participant! Because it’s almost Halloween, the Mayfair theatre, which shows old and off-beat movies, is having a Rocky Horror event. They have it every year, and it’s apparently the third most popular in North America and the highest grossing in Canada.

I had never seen the whole movie, but I knew some of the songs and who the characters were. I wasn’t sure if people were going to dress up, so I googled “what to wear to the Rocky Horror Picture Show”. I found this site and they suggested dressing up as one of the characters. I was a little hesitant, as was my friend Suzanne (who, by the way, googled the same thing I did). I went with kind-of-big hair (like Magenta, but not, because my hair was straight) and lots of eye liner. Suzanne went with sparkles (Columbia) and pearls (Frank-n-Furter).

This is us waiting in line outside the theatre like groupies at a concert.

The Mayfair theatre is really beautiful and old. It’s a one-room theatre and it has so much more character than the newer movie complexes. There was also a stage in front of the screen.

There were actors playing the parts of the main characters. I wasn’t sure what to expect. When the first song came on, with only the mouth singing on screen, a girl, dressed as Magenta, came on stage and started lipsynching. The she started to strip. She stripped all the way down to practically nothing. I knew some of the costumes were racy, but I wasn’t expecting this!

After that, I was ready for anything. We weren’t allowed to throw rice or confetti during the wedding scene, but people were shouting out one-liners and comments and it was pretty funny. I didn’t know any of the lines, but it was my first time, after all.

When Janet and Brad got out of the car during the storm, I was ready with my newspaper. Everyone covered their head when Janet did and people were spraying water and waving flashlights around when they got to the mansion. It was so much fun!

My favourite part was the Time Warp. I loved getting up, dancing and singing. I don’t think I did all the moves right, but no one was looking, everyone was having a great time.

I also really liked throwing toast during the dinner scene! I felt a little strange before the show, making toast with the sole purpose of throwing it at a movie screen, but it was worth it! Actually, to be fair, I ate the first toast I made, so then I had to make more.

The movie itself is pretty cheesy, but that’s what makes it so good. Having the people on stage act out the scenes at the same time as the movie was great. It added to the story, especially when the actors made up their own lines. Sometimes, people were yelling so many things that you couldn’t hear what was going on in the movie. I’m pretty sure that’s the point.

Plus, going to this event was number 59 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. It was also on Suzanne’s list, so we wanted to do it together!

Next time, because there will definitely be a next time, I’m going full-out Magenta, big hair, apron and all!

Remember, Don’t dream it, be it!

27 out of 101

On October 1st, 2011, I started a list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. It’s been an amazing year. Some of the things I imagined I would do right away have yet to be done, while some of the things I thought would be done towards the end of the 1001 days have been accomplished already! It’s been great. If I’m feeling restless or bored, I look to my list and find instant inspiration and motivation!

Here is a recap of what I’ve done so far. For the full list, click here.

12. Try snowboarding.

I did this last year with my friend Julie. We went out a few times and I fell in love with it! I’m actually looking forward to snow this year. Sadly, my friend Julie moved to Abu Dhabi, so I lost my snow buddy, but I’m still going to make it out to the hill, because I enjoy it so much! I fall a lot, but that’s nothing new!

13. Go to Central or South America

When I wrote this, I had Costa Rica or Brazil in mind. However, not everything happens as planned. I went to Cuba this summer and although I’m not sure the Caribbean counts and Central or South America, I have decided that, for the purpose of this list, it does! It doesn’t mean I won’t go someday, but 1001 days is less than three years, so I’m not sure I’ll make it before then.

18. Do 108 sun salutations

I did this twice! Once for the spring equinox and once for the summer solstice. There was supposed to be an event held for the fall equinox, but it was outside and it was cancelled due to rain. I was disappointed, because I thought I might do 108 sun salutations for all of the seasons in 2012. It’s definitely not easy, and your legs feel it the next day, but it’s a great experience.

22. Take a trip with my mom

My mom and I went to Cuba together this summer. I love my mom and I like her too! We have a great time together. I always feel bad for my friends who don’t like to spend time with their mom, or who just don’t get along. My mom rocks.

23. Go running along the canal

The canal is beautiful and I always see people running and think “I want to do that.” So I did. It was a beautiful day and it made me happy.

24. Get a cellphone I can text with

I got one for my birthday, last November. I enjoy my phone, but it is not surgically implanted in my hand. It’s not an iphone, it doesn’t do anything special. It lets me text, which makes me thing I have caught up with technology, although deep down, I know I haven’t.

30. Visit the National Gallery

I went to see the Van Gogh exhibit in September. The gallery is beautiful, which is why I wanted to go again. It’s right across the river, I should go every time there is a new exhibit.

34. Go hiking

I’ve done this several times since last October, and I hope to do it again before the 1001 days are up. There are so many wonderful places to hike and walk in the woods around here, there’s no reason not to go!

37. Make a dress

I wrote this thinking I would make myself a dress. However, last year, for my class play, I made two dresses for two very happy little girls! I think two mini-dresses equals one me-size dress!

38. Eat beets

I don’t like beets, but, at a restaurant for my birthday last year, I discovered fried beets. They were delicious and did not taste like regular beets at all. This means they did not taste like dirt.

39. Climb a tree

Trees are made for climbing. I’ve discovered I can climb a tree when it needs to be climbed, it doesn’t matter if I’m wearing white or a dress. I can do it.

43. Play volleyball

I’ve done this twice. I’ve discovered I’m not very good (ok, I knew this already) but I do enjoy it very much. My goal is to get better (meaning not duck when the ball comes my way) and maybe play on a team next summer.

45. Get an IMAX teacher movie pass

I’ve been to several movies, and it’s definitely worth it! One and a half movies paid for my pass, now all the movies I see are free!

46. Go on a road trip

I don’t know if going to Montreal, which is 2 hours away, counts as a road trip, but it was a car full of girls with one bride-to-be, on a mission to find some dresses, singing ABBA songs and eating chocolate cookies. I say it counts.

58. Play Monopoly

I played with some of the kids in my class, and it wasn’t quite how I remembered. They didn’t want to spend their money on anything, so they just kept going around, passing go, collecting 200$. I felt bad buying properties and making them pay when they landed there. But it was still fun!

61. Try a yoga dance class

I’ve done Madonna flow yoga with Natalie, one of my favourite teachers. It’s ashtanga yoga, but it’s to the music of Madonna. We sing, we dance, we vogue. If this isn’t a yoga dance class, I don’t know what is!

63. Try a new kind of tea

I’ve tried many. I even went to a tea house with the road trip girls, although not during the road trip. I love tea. Must keep trying new kinds.

64. Do yoga on the beach

I went to a moonlight yoga class which was held at the beach. I also did some yoga poses on the beach in Cuba. Not many though, it was too hot!

68. Give someone flowers

I picked some May flowers for my mom for mother’s day. I’ve been doing it every year since I was a kid. They grow in the woods and I used to go walking to pick them. Now, I usually park by the side of the road and wave at people who look at me like I’m crazy, in the woods in my dress and sandals.

72. Do the hula

I had the Hawaiian hula in mind, but I did a couple of hula hoop dancing classes. Lots of fun and a great workout!

74. Donate to a good cause

I thought I would donate a big amount to a charity, but I realized I donate regularly, just smaller amounts to different causes. I always give to the kids packing my groceries for their sports team, the man sitting at the table in the mall for cancer, the run for the cure, the fundraising for my 30-day challenge. I give in small doses, but as much as I can.

77. Make a list of the books I read (up to 101)

I’m at 54. Number 55 is taking me a while.

84. Write a list of 101 things that make me happy

I’ve started. I’ll post the whole list when I’m done.

86. Do yoga every day for one week

Well, this one took on a life of it’s own! I not only did yoga for a week, I did it for 30 days. Twice! Once in the spring with my friend Julie and once in September. I will probably do it again!

90. Not buy any new clothes for one month

This one also became something else. I did a no-spending challenge last May, where I did not buy anything but essentials. It’s crazy how much money I saved. It has made me realize I buy way too much crap I don’t need. I’m not as strict with myself as I was in May, but I have changed my spending habits.

98. Ride in a limousine

Did this last December for my friend’s birthday. I don’t like champagne, but it tasted lovely in a limo!

99. Run on the beach

I went for a run in the spring in an area that was somewhat unfamiliar, and I was surprised when the path brought me to the beach. It’s not a large beach, but I ran next to the water to get to the path on the other side. It made me happy because it was unexpected!

So far, I’ve done 27 things on my list. I can’t wait to do the rest!

What I learned after a week of yoga

This morning I went to a yin class at Pure. It was the perfect class to stretch my muscles out from yesterday’s 108 sun salutations. My teacher was Edith. It seemed like everything she said was directed at me. I was feeling grumpy and she talked about love and kindness. I was sick several days during the week, and she said we would be focusing our poses and our energy on our liver and gallblader, which is where I have problems. Then, at the end of class, she sang. A lot of teachers chant, but this was in another category all together. I’m not sure what it meant, because it was probably in sanskrit, but it was beautiful.

It was also day 7 of my 30 day challenge, which means I have completed number 86 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, “Do yoga every day for one week.” I can’t believe my week-long challenge has turned into a month-long challenge! I’ve learned so much during the past week. I thought I would share a few things that you will need to know if you decide to take on a challenge like this.

– You will notice a weird smell. It’s your mat. It smells like feet.

– You will stop doing the dishes.

– You will run out of milk and not go to the store to buy more. You will try cream in your tea, but that too will have gone bad.

– You will do lots of laundry because all your clothes is sweaty and smelly.

– You will not have many conversations that don’t have the word “yoga” in them.

– You will stop watching tv.

– You will start saying things like “I have yoga hair.”

– You will eat less junk food because why would you cancel out an hour of core flow with a bag of chips? (This does not apply to the junk food I ate at the movies last night.)

Most of all, you will be happy you decided to do this challenge with a friend, otherwise you might not have gotten past day 1!

108 Sun Salutations

On my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, number 18 is to do 108 sun salutations. Today, I did it!

I’m not sure exactly what the meaning of the number 108 is. I’ve looked into it, but there are so many opinions, it’s hard to figure it out. I just knew it was a challenge I was up for.

Our instructor, Sheila, said we would divide the 108 salutations into sets of 27, with a 5 minute break in between. She had two bowls of beads in front of her and would transfer one at the begining of each salutation.

My first set was pretty good. I had lots of energy, but not much focus. My thoughts went something like this: Breathe in, breathe out. I can’t wait to see The Hunger Games tonight! Upward dog, dowward dog. Maybe I’ll get popcorn. Reach up, swan dive. Then Sheila said it was number 27, and we took a break.

During the second set, I was a little more focused. However, at one point, I became tired and thought for sure that she would say before the next sun salutation : This is number 54. She didn’t. There were at least 10 left! Well, I think there were 10, counting these out is hard.

The third set was the hardest for me. My shoulders were tired and my swan dives were shaky. Number 81 seemed pretty far away.

Just before the last set, one woman asked if we could dedicate our last 27 salutations to a girl named Ellen who is awaiting a double lung transplant and is deteriorating fast. I nearly lost it. I get emotionnal very easily, especially when I’m tired. My first 2 or 3 salutations were wobbly, then, I decided to give it everything I had left. I have two perfectly good lungs, there was no reason I couldn’t do this. Every breath felt like a gift and I realized how increadibly lucky I am.

Just before our last 5 sun salutations, the teacher put on some upbeat music. The main lyrics were “reach for the sun”. I found some energy I didn’t even know I had left and made those last 5 sun salutations the best of my practice.

I learned something about myself today. I am much stronger, mentally and physically, than I give myself credit for.  I also enjoyed myself much more than I thought I would.

At the end of all this wonderfulness came a 15 minute savasana. 15 minutes! Bliss.