A mini-break

This has been a really great weekend for several reasons. Wine and friends on a patio Friday night, then a beach day with those same awesome girls on Saturday (we didn’t go in the water, it was too cold!) and a mini-break from my 30 day yoga challenge.

I didn’t want to skip a day in my challenge, so last Wednesday, I did two classes and got to spend today, father’s day, with my dad.

Sometimes, I hear people say how they’ve become like their parents, and they’re horrified, like it’s the worse thing that could ever happen to them. I don’t get it. My parents are awesome.

I am my father’s daughter and I couldn’t be happier. He’s funny and smart and the nicest person you could possibly meet. He’s kind. He loves kids. Once, when my sister was younger, her friends came over to ask my dad to help get someone out of a tree. My sister wasn’t home, but those kids knew my dad would be more than happy to help.

When my dad is interested in something, he likes to learn everything there is about it. When I was little, he knew more about fishing than anyone I’d ever met. He’s the best poker player I know (he taught me how to play, and I play well enough not to embarrass myself!) When I decided to sign up for yoga teacher training, wanting to know more about this practice I love so much, my mom said I was just like my dad. She’s right. When I love something, I give it all I’ve got. It makes me happy and I’m grateful to my dad for giving me that.

This mini-break from my yoga challenge has given me time to relax and focus on other things I love, like my family.

Joyeuse fête des pères Pop!

005

So juicy!

I’m sick. I don’t like being sick. I know, I know, nobody likes being sick! I had a super busy week filled with awesome things, like my class play, and not so awesome things, like my car needing expensive fixing -up. Add all that up, throw in some germy kids and voilà, sick me! It’s mostly an annoying cough, so I’ll live.

I went to up to my parent’s place yesterday so my dad could change the breaks on my car (with all the things I had to pay for this week, I was happy to take advantage of some free labour. Thanks Pop and Uncle Phil!)

My mom and my aunts were at the farm planting the garden. I sort of helped, a little. Well, I cut up the planting potatoes. Mostly I sat on the porch and read my book.

002

003

Also, I took some pretty pictures.

005

009

My mom took pity on me because I was sick and made me some fresh juice. I’ve never been a fan of juicing, and I didn’t want anything green in there, so she made me a carrot, apple and orange juice. It was delicious! She said I would feel better as soon as I drank it. I didn’t work quite that fast, but I feel much better today, so it must have helped!

I borrowed their juicer so I could make more fresh juice until I feel better. I quite like it, so I’ll probably keep juicing once I feel better! Today I made carrot, apple, orange and celery.

028

029

I watched a documentary a few weeks ago called “Fat, sick and nearly dead” about an overweight, sick man who gets healthy largely by going on a juice fast. It was very interesting. My mom and I also watched two documentaries last night called “Hungry for change” and “Happy”. I enjoy documentaries because they really make you think.

Do you have any juice recipes I should try? Or any documentaries I should watch?

Running and flowers

I’ve been getting back into running lately. For the past three weeks, I’ve been following the couch to 5k program, and so far, so good. Except yesterday. Yesterday was not good. It was the last day of week three and I needed to get my third run in.

I did not want to run.

I went to a kick-my-butt yoga class in the morning, then ran some errands. All I wanted to do after that was crash on the couch for a while and read my book. The thing is, when my friend Suzanne and I started running together, I made us these motivation calendars. What’s a motivation calendar, you ask? Well, it’s a calendar where you get to put a sticker when you go running. Little feet for running, stars for yoga.

The only thing that made me go on that run was the thought of not getting a third sticker for the week. Not because I really love stickers (but who doesn’t love stickers?) but because if I didn’t go, that empty space on my calendar would mock me every time I walked by it.

So I went running. I’m not going to lie and say that as soon as I started running, I felt amazing. No. I felt like I was on a run I didn’t want to be on. But about halfway through, I got over my crankiness and enjoyed myself. I really, really enjoyed putting that sticker on my calendar!

015

Today, Sunday, is mother’s day. My mom is awesome, which is a good thing, because I’m becoming more and more like her. There is no doubt that I am my mother’s daughter and I couldn’t be happier about it. I hope that, when I have kids, I’m just like her. She used to take my sister and I on all sorts of adventures, playing under a bridge (seriously the coolest thing ever when you’re a kid) letting us take all the lessons we wanted (figure skating, horsback riding and step dancing anyone?) and baked, played, danced, sang, read with us all the time. And I mean all the time. She was, and still is, always there for us.

035

Every year, since I was little, I pick May flowers for my mom on mother’s day. Last year, I had a nasty cold and I still stopped by the side of the road and picked flowers for her. This year, don’t ask me what happened, but I forgot. I know! How could I forget!? My mom did not say anything, probably so I wouldn’t feel bad, but when my sister showed up, she asked “Where are the May flowers?”

I couldn’t believe I forgot, so I took my two little cousins and drove out to my “secret spot” so we could pick some for our moms. Sadly, my mom only got a small bouquet, as the kids were so into it, yelling “I found one!” whenever they saw a flower, that I just had to leave more for them.

019

026

033

Here’s a tip: If you’re going to be walking in the cold, mucky woods, don’t wear thin little flats.

023

The rest of the day was spent indoors, eating delicious food and spending time with family. And that included doing the dishes!

037

Don’t lose your Christmas spirit!

When I was a little girl, I was always sad when Christmas was over. I waited so long for it, and after a quick blur of hugs, laughter, presents, Santa, cookies and family, it was gone. I knew I would have to wait very long for it to be Christmas again.

Now that I’m an adult, I know it won’t be long until Christmas comes again, because time seems to speed up the older you get, but it still makes me sad that it’s over. People are nicer around the holidays and I miss that when the world goes back to normal. To help people be happy, smiley and nice to each other, I’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to hold on to your Chirstmas spirit for a whole year!

1. Play

We play during the holidays, so why not play all year? Play whatever you want. Play a board game or play with your Barbies (you know you want to). Build a fort or go on a scavenger hunt. In my family, we play cards. The day after Christmas, we play poker. I dont usually win (ok, never), but that’s not the point. It’s fun! This year I made it to the final six (out of 13). Yay me!

005

2. Sing

People who say they never sing can be heard singing Christmas carols if you listen closely enough. They smile while they’re doing it. If you recognize yourself here, then this message is for you: Sing!

3. Eat

At Christmas time, we let ourselves eat what we want to without feeling guilty. What if we did that all year? Now I’m not saying go nuts on the brownies or the french fries every day, but if you have a cupcake, eat it, enjoy it, then forget about it. That is all.

013

4. Be nice

Being nice to people is not just biting your tongue when someone who got a really bad haircut asks for your opinion. We give to those in need around Christmas, but they need us to be nice all year round, too. We can’t give to everyone, all the time, but sometimes, we can give time, patience and love without it costing us anything at all.

5. Get excited

I love Christmas as much for the time spent with family and friends as for the days leading up to it. Baking, finding gifts for people I love, decorating, all this makes me happy. It’s good to get excited, to look forward to something we know will bring us joy. I’m still enjoying Christmas time, but I’m also looking forward to going snowboarding!

6. Love

We all have people we love, and we love being with them, but sometimes life gets in the way of us remembering how important that is. Spending time with loved ones is not just a Christmas thing, it’s a guaranteed-to-make-you-happy thing.

011

7. Read

Maybe this one isn’t a Christmas thing, but more of a time-off thing, but curling up with a good book and forgetting the world for a couple of hours is magical. Bonus points if there is a snowstorm or a thunderstorm. When you finally tear yourself away from your book, you feel as if you’ve been on an incredible adventure. Unless your book is boring. Find a new book.

8. Watch TV

This is like the reading thing and the eating thing. It’s like reading because it’s not necessarily a Christmas thing, but if you have time, I recommend you watch several hours of television without feeling guilty (like the food thing). My mom and I spent a good amout of time (ok, 439 minutes) watching The Pillars of the Earth mini-series yesterday. Last year, it was The Thorn Birds. I don’t think it’s a good idea to this every week or anything, as you might lose all your friends, maybe your job and probably your dog, but once in a while, go for it. Enjoy it. Then go for a walk, you’ll need it!

9. Sleep

Ahh, sleep. For most of us, functioning on very little sleep is like wearing a badge of honnor. It might not be possible to sleep as much as you like, but we tend to indulge ourselves and sleep in during the Christmas holidays. Do this as often as you can. Well rested-people are 38% happier than other people (yes, I made that up, but it sounds good.)

10. See the magic

If you’re lucky enough to have children in your life, you get to see Christmas through their eyes. It’s magical. Santa might only come once a year, but kids are amazed daily. Imagine if seeing a butterfly take flight or finding the perfect snowflake still brought you the same joy it once did. You might have to find new ways to see the magic, but it’s there, if you look hard enough.

015

I am thankful

Today is Thanksgiving. It’s a day for gratitude and thanks. I have so much to be thankful for.

I am thankful for beautiful fall days and walks in the woods.

I am thankful for my family.

I am thankful that my sister is my friend.

I am thankful for this dog, even if he did eat my contact lenses.

I am thankful for the ability to practice yoga.

I am thankful for babies in downward dog.

I am thankful for my parents.

I am thankful for my friends.

I am thankful for turkey and mashed potatoes, stuffing and pie. (I don’t like stuffing, but it makes a lot of people pretty happy.)

I am thankful that I have a job I love.

I am thankful for days spent making apple pie with my mom and my sister.

I am thankful to be living my life.

What are you thankful for?

My week in Paradise

I have just spent the most relaxing week of my life in Paradise, also known as Cuba. If you’ve never been there, please, drop everything and go right now. I’ll wait. ( … ) See what I mean? Amazing, right?

I left with my mom last Thursday for what had to be the longest day of traveling ever for a 4 hour flight. Just to give you an idea, we left home around 9:30 am and got to the hotel around 10:30 pm. But everything went smoothly, so it’s all good.

When we first got there, it was dark and my mom did not want to go to the beach. I think she was afraid of sharks or lizards or axe murderers. We explored the hotel a little and we didn’t really know what to think. There weren’t many people there and it felt like a ghost hotel. Like Hotel California, which, incidentally, played on repeat all week.

The next morning, however, we woke up to this.

The beach was incredible. White sand, clear turquoise water, even a few crabs. It felt like being in a postcard. There were a couple of piers not too far away, so we decided to walk over and check them out. Afterwards, we were so hot we decided to fling ourselves into the ocean, which tastes like pretzels, by the way, and have another drink.

On our second day there (I think) we took a bus into Varadero. My favourite part was all the old cars. They call Cuba a “rolling museum”. We walked around for a while and got our first glipse of Cuban culture. Varadero is mainly a tourist town, but there are flashes of the real deal here and there.

My favourite day of the week was when we went on a catamaran cruise. I had never been on a catamaran before, and it was so much fun! The weather was perfect, there was a bar on the boat and the bartender, Elvis, (seriously) made the trip into something awesome. He asked everyone where they were from and kept bringing us more drinks. He even got everyone dancing and singing.

The boat brought us to a dolphinarium where I got to meet Jessica the dolphin. It was surreal to actually touch a dolphin! Her skin felt like rubber and I was so worried I would scratch her, but apparently she wasn’t worried because she came pretty close! I was standing on the tips of my toes on a platform in the sea, trying to keep my head above water and not get in the dolphin’s way, in case she thought my braids were fish or something. I even got a kiss! Best part of the day, for sure!

We got back onto the boat where I liked to pretend I was a movie star and had my own private catamaran. All the other people were my movie star friends.

After I was done being a movie star (for the moment, not forever) we went snorkeling. In my case it meant putting on the floating belt, the mask and the tube thingy, then going into the water very, very slowly. This was followed by my not letting go of the rope, sticking my face in the water for approximately 48 seconds and seeing some cool fish and ocean floor before I said “ok, I did it. I’m done now.” The whole process lasted under five minutes. but I did it!

The rest of the day was spent eating lunch on the beach, swimming and drinking on the boat. Bliss.

The other days seemed to flow into each other as we did a lot of reading, swimming, talking and eating. The food was not incredible, for some reason everything tasted the same, but I had a wonderful time being there with my mom. We had drinks, but not as many as I thought, because the combination of the strong sun and the strong drinks was quite potent!

I even found a tree to climb! If you look hard enough, you will always find a tree to climb. Even in a lace dress, it’s possible.

I loved being in the water most of all. I’m not a strong swimmer, but I am an excellent floater! Plus, this was saltwater, so floating was even easier. I floated on my back, sitting up, even standing. My feet didn’t touch the bottom, but I could see it, since the water was so clear. I was float-walking around all week.

I tried to do a wheel on the beach, but it didn’t work so well, because my hands were sinking into the sand and the waves were pulling me into the ocean. It was the only yoga I did all week. I had brought my mat with me, but it was just too hot to practice. Also, I was quite busy doing nothing.

Really, the best thing of all was being there with my mom. We both like to talk and we both like to read, so we were perfect traveling companions for the week!

We also went to Havana, but such a colourful, vibrant city deserves it’s own post, so that will have to wait!