The ocean is where I belong

In July, I decided I wanted to take a trip somewhere. Anywhere, really. I went to a travel agency, picked one lucky agent, told her what my budget was and said “Send me somewhere.”

Then, I proceeded to stalk her for days, asking if she had any good deals for me, anywhere exciting to send me. I was hoping for an African safari or a tour of Iceland. My adventurous side was screaming “Egypt!” while my budget was whining “A bus to beach.”

I wanted to leave as soon as possible, but I discovered that the whole “I waited until the last minute to book my trip and I got a great deal!” thing was actually a myth. I decided I needed to be more flexible and added August to my available travel dates. After all, I am off all summer.

I was planning on going by myself, because that’s number 3 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days.

After a few days, I realized I had to adjust my expectations when it came to the destination. What I really wanted was a change of scenery and a plane ride. If you fly somewhere, it’s a real trip. (Not always, but this summer, yes.)

My travel agent suggested Cuba. I said “When do I leave?” I was telling my mom about my awesome deal, and asked her if she wanted to come. I did not expect her to say yes, but she did! This is amazing because number 22 on my list is “Take a trip with my mom”. It’s going to be just the two of us!

Here is where we’ll be for the next week.

I’m going to be completely disconected from technology. No phone, no computer, no Internet. I’m really looking forward to that part. I’m bringing a book (ok, 4 books) and I’m going to relax, drink, read and swim in the ocean. I’m going to do whatever I want to.

See you in a week!

How to play volleyball in 30 easy steps

1. Play volleyball in high school. Only in gym class and only because you have to.

2. Don’t play for 15 years.

3. Wait until someone is very desperate and posts on facebook “Looking for a girl volleyball player or our team forfeits.”

4. Volunteer your services.

5. Warn team that your technique consists of ducking when the ball comes close to your head.

6. Warn them again when they say it’s all good.

7. Watch the women’s olympic volleyball for tips on how to be awesome.

8. Try not to be terrified at how intense they are.

9. Wear yoga clothes because you don’t own any volleyball clothes.

10. When it starts to rain, wonder if you can back out.

11. Breathe a sigh of relief when rain stops and you see a rainbow.

12. Tell the guys to look at the rainbow.

13. LOOK at the RAINBOW guys!

14. Meet other team members.

15. Try to look confident.

16. Take off flip-flops and step onto the court.

17. Resist the urge to build a sand castle.

18. Stand in one spot for the first 10 minutes.

19. Wave your arms around like a fly is bothering you.

20. Hit the ball by accident.

22. Serve something awesome.

23. Win the game.

24. Feel like a superstar.

25. Go out for drinks.

26. Discover fried pickles.

27. Drink half a pitcher of beer.

28. Wonder if people can tell you’re tipsy.

29. Go home and de-sand.

30. Pass out.

When lawn-bowling becomes an extreme sport

I come from a large family. My mom has 3 sisters and 8 brothers, so I grew up with a lot of cousins. I think the family motto is “Any reason for a party is a good reason.” We used to have family olympics when I was really young, then we had a golf tournament. I played for a few years, but then I decided I didn’t like golf so much and I volunteered to baby-sit all the kids while everyone else played golf. It worked out well, because the kids and I hung out by the pool all day, then went to the party when everyone else got back all tired and sweaty. Now, we have a lawn-bowling tournament every August.

This is brilliant for many reasons.

1. You can play while holding a drink.

2. You don’t have to be any good.

3. You can talk while playing.

This year about 75 people were there. That’s most of the family. Some people were missing.

These are a few of the lawn-bowling courts. Or fields. Or whatever. I think there were 10.

It was HOT. So hot that the weather channel had an extreme heat warning and was telling people to stay indoors and avoid any outdoor activity. I have never been so hot in my entire life, except maybe the summer I went to Spain.

There was a big tree that gave off a lot of shade where everyone collapsed after a game to cool down a little. Someone also thoughtfully brought freezer pops and water guns so we were all wet and full of sugar. The kids kept pretty cool in the turtle pool.

Here are some of my favourite moments of the day.

This face. I don’t know what she’s doing or thinking, but it’s hilarious!

My partner and I. We didn’t win, but that’s ok, we didn’t really want to. The winners had to keep playing and we just wanted to crash under the tree. I’m all wet because I thought I could outrun all the kids after I sprayed them with water. They got me back.

Dirty feet from the water fights and the dry, dusty dirt that seems to be everywhere!

Trying to get a picture of six toddlers. It was never going to happen.

It was an awesome day. I really do love my family. There are a lot of kids and babies, and that’s my favourite part. I love seeing everyone and catching up on their lives. Many of my relatives told me they read my blog, which was great! My uncle Ray really wanted me to start a yoga session so he could be featured in a special post. Hi Uncle Ray! Even thought it was hotter than the surface of the sun, it was the perfect day.

Also, on a side note, I’m thrilled to report that this is my 100th post! I’m so happy it was a post about my family.

Full moon yoga

Last night was a full moon. I love full moons. I love the stories that go with them. They usually involve werewolves, but I remember my grandmother saying that my hair would grow more during a full moon. Scary stories, which I love/hate because I’m a big chicken, always happen during a full moon. I also think the pull of the moon has an effect on us. Maybe this is all the time, but when the moon is full, there’s no ignoring it. It’s like it’s saying “Hey! Remember me? I’m cool, I’m important. Don’t believe me? Ask the ocean.”

Other people must have realized how amazing and underappreciated the moon is, because last night, I went to a full moon yoga class. And this wasn’t just me doing yoga on my balcony trying not to fall over the under-regulation-height railing while trying to get a good look at the moon through the branches of the huge tree that will one day fall on said balcony and crush me if I happen to be on it. No, this was a class at the beach, where almost 500 other people were present.

I went with my mom and my sister and it was quite special. The girls from lululemon were hosting the event, so there was a lot of attention to detail. Candles and tiki torches lit up the area so people wouldn’t walk on other people’s mats, because that’s just bad manners. Also, it’s gross. The invite, and by invite I mean the facebook event, said to wear our whitest and brightest. I decided to go with my new hot pink pants. I love these pants, as they make me feel like a cross between Strawberry Shortcake, Super woman and the pink power ranger.

See the white spot above us? That’s the moon. It was a little cloudy, but only enough to make to moon look spooky, not hide it completely.

Amber, one of my favourite teachers, was leading the class, so I knew it would be awesome. I was hoping for some moon salutations because, well, do I really need to explain this to you? However, everyone was pretty close together, so moon salutes would have meant walking all over everyone else’s mat. (See above for why this is bad.) It was a new experience doing yoga in the dark. Not pitch-black, or I would have been scared, but nighttime-at-the-beach-in-the-city dark.

Some of my friends from work were there. Apparently. Maybe I didn’t see them because it was too dark. Maybe they didn’t go and just said they did, because, really, there’s no way to check. I can’t imagine why they would say they were going, and then not go, however. Unless they needed an alibi for something. Then they’ll be all “Ask her, she was there too.” And then I’ll either have to lie and say I saw them or say they were never there. Then someone will catch me in my lie, either the police or the people who caused my friends to need an alibi in the first place. I’ll have to run away and live in a tree somewhere and eat roots and berries to stay alive. That’s too bad, because I’m a picky eater and I don’t care much for roots and berries.

Wow. I didn’t realize how dangerous that was.

As you can tell by the beautiful, professional photos with the photographer’s name and website on them, I didn’t take these pictures myself. I tried, but mine were all dark and blurry and twilight-zone-y. These were on facebook and they’re way better than mine! You can check out the website to see more.

Jelly Bean Toes

My friend Suzanne and I wanted to go camping this weekend. When we were kids, my family went camping a lot, and I was always allowed to bring a friend, so Suzanne came along on a lot of family camping trips. We wanted to go to the same campground we went to as kids. Since the summer has been as sunny and hot as a Beach Boys song, we figured the weather would be great. One problem: the campground was full!

We could have gone somewhere else, but we decided to just postpone our trip and have a girl’s weekend in the city.

First stop, Chapters. I love that place. My dream is to get locked in a Chapters and spend the night reading. I told this to an employee once and he said it could be arranged. I think he was flirting with me. I’m not sure. Maybe he was just bored. I have many books to read, so I didn’t need a new one. I surprised myself with an amazing boost of willpower and didn’t buy anything. Suzanne bought a book, so it’s kind of like I got one because I’ll read it when she’s done.

After that, we went to get pedicures. I love doing this in the summer because I can never get my toes to look that awesome on my own. Also, Suzanne had it on her list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. I was her first time and I think she’s addicted now. I’ve created a fabulous-looking-feet monster.

Then we went to dinner. A student (well, his parents, really) had given me a gift certificate to an Italian restaurant. Neither of us had ever been, but we figured we would give it a shot. I think we brought down the age average by about 40 years. It’s next to a retirement home. It smelled like old lady perfume. Not bad, just like a room full of grandmas. The food was ok. Not great, but hey, the drinks were good!

Our last activity of the night was to see the newest Step-Up movie. I liked it. Obviously, it’s about the dancing and not so much the boy-meets-girl-who’s-not-who-she-seems-and-has-to-chose-between-his-friends-and-her storyline. It was in 3D. I think that part was a waste of my 3$. However, I did get to wear my pink and blue Katy Perry keepsake 3D glasses. I looked fabulous.

Suzanne slept over and that just proves that you can have a slumber party at any age. This morning we watched the Olympics and got to see Canada’s first medal in synchronized diving. Awesome!

The rest of the day was spent at the beach where our main activities were eating and going into the water. We got sand all over our pretty toes, but it’s ok, they’re a tough kind of pretty. They can take it.

Sun, sand and pedicures made our weekend absolutely marvelous!

Country Roots

I live in the city. It’s not a huge city, but it’s got 24 hour restaurants, a variety of yoga studios and many theatres, museums and lots of great people watching activities too. I like it. I enjoy living here.

However, I grew up in the country. I spent my childhood building cabins in the woods, trying to figure out the architecture behind a beaver dam and picking wildflowers. I could light a campfire and put up a tent like nobody’s business. I perfected reading on a blanket under the apple tree. I had a tire swing. I was a country kid.

Sometimes, it still surprises me that I’m a city grown-up.

I just spent the last few days in the country with my family. They all still live there and it kind of made me wish I did too. I think it’s mostly a summer thing. I’m on holidays, so I have lots of time to enjoy the garden, the views, the frogs that sing at night. If I was working every day, it might not seem so magical.

Here are some of my favourite moments.

Sunday coffee at the farm. It’s a very casual thing. Aunts, uncles, cousins, everyone just shows up. This week about 25 people were there. That’s a small part of the family. It was a special treat spending time with my cousin Isabelle and her son, as they live in New Zeland and I don’t see them very often.

Getting some great loot from the garden.

Felix just decided to chill out in the beets.

Looking for frogs. Haha, ok, not really. I don’t need any frogs.

Checking out the grapes on the vines. There are lots, but they’re still small. Hopefully the birds don’t get them all before they’re ready.

The view from my Adirondack chair as I read by the river.

It was great taking the time to appreciate the small things. Moments spent with family. Getting water off the dock to water the garden as everything is so dry. Going out for ice cream with my mom and grandma. We each got huge ice cream cones and it cost a total of 3.25$ That’s just crazyness. I see myself going back to get my country fix as often as I can this summer!

Look at me!

I haven’t been blogging very much lately. I thought, once summer got here, I would have even more time to blog. I do have lots of time, but I’ve been using it differently than when I work. There’s been lots of beach days, cottage time, yoga classes and great books. Cold beer, family time and sleeping in have also taken over my days. I like to call it summer-busy, which means busy doing whatever comes up.

Last Wednesday, I went to a yoga class on Parliament Hill, like I’ve been doing every Wednesday. I think it’s the only scheduled thing I do. Amber, one of my favourite teachers from Pure Yoga Ottawa, was teaching, so I wore my Pure tank top.When I got there, I didn’t see the friends I was going to meet, so I went up to the front to say hello to the girls from the studio.

I didn’t even have time to say hi before one of the girls said “You’re wearing your Pure shirt! Do you want to demo?” To which I replied “Umm, No!” There were 930 people there. Did I want to do the class in front of everyone and have them look at me? No! Of course, I ended up doing it. There were about 7 or 8 people in the front, so it wasn’t like everyone was looking at me. At least, that’s what I told myself.

Turns out, I just did the class like I normally would, except I was in front of 930 people instead of hiding in the back and I couldn’t very well wimp out on plank pose. Amber really likes plank pose.

I had my camera with me like I always do, but I didn’t take any pictures because I thought it would be weird. I got a few off the lululemon facebook page, as it’s very difficult for me to write a post and not include pictures!