San Diego Sunshine

I just returned from an amazing, sun filled week in San Diego. You would think that, living in Canada, I travel to the United States all the time, but I usually go as far as possible when I travel, so I haven’t been to many states. To be fair, San Diego is really far, probably the furthest place in the States from where I live, so it’s not like I stuck close to home this time either!

I traveled with one of my best friends. She and I went to Spain nine years ago, so I knew we would travel well together! We also have our freak out moments at different times, which is a definite plus while traveling (her: can’t find the bus stop, me: too many people and someone touched me.)

We had originally booked a hostel, but ended up staying in an airbnb house, which was much better. I learned many things on this trip, the most important one being that I’m so done with hostels. I’m a grown-up now, no more sharing a bathroom with 13 people.

San Diego is a big city, and I’m sure we didn’t see everything, but we did as much as we could, and that included relaxing on the many beautiful beaches!

Day 1

We started with mimosas for breakfast, then we walked and walked and walked (over 21 000 steps, according to my fitbit!) We took a guided tour of the city on a trolley and stopped in several interesting places, including Old Town, Coronado and Seaport village.

Day 1

Day 2

We went to the zoo! I was so excited! I have a love affair with giraffes and they were amazing. There was a baby giraffe too. We also saw elephants, koalas, pink flamingos and pandas. There were plenty of other animals too. In the evening, we were so exhausted and were wondering what to do. We didn’t want to go out, but we didn’t want to just hang out around the house either. Someone gave us tickets to an advanced screening of Antman, so we ended up going to the movies!

Day 2

Day 3

Our first beach day. We went to Pacific beach and it was wonderful. There was quite a bit more seaweed than I would have liked, but it was the ocean, so I’m not really complaining. We had Mexican food for lunch, ate gelato and relaxed in the sun. It was a perfect day.

Day 3

Day 4

We took a trip to La Jolla to see the seals. They just lay out on the rocks, sunning themselves and pay no attention whatsoever to the people walking around them taking pictures. It was surreal to get so close to them. Also, they smell really bad. After lunch we left the cove and went to the beach. Less seaweed this time. I bought a hat and it made me feel fabulous.

Day 4

Day 5

Before we left, we booked a culinary walking tour of downtown for day 5. What we didn’t know was that it was the Pride parade, right in our neighbourhood! We missed the parade, but still saw plenty of colour and partying going on. Also, strangely enough, it rained! There was a huge thunderstorm, which is very unusual for San Diego. The end of our tour got canceled, so we got to go on another one the next day.

Day 5

Day 6

We started the day off at the Hillcrest farmer’s market. It was so cool to see people selling food they grow themselves, and there was definitely a different variety than what we have at home. On the way, I stopped at an atm, and it was covered in glitter! The Pride festivities were still going strong. After the market, we headed to North Park for our second culinary walking tour. There was wine. Bliss.

Day 6

Day 7

Our last day was spent in Balboa Park. There are lots of museums in the park, but we wanted to enjoy our last day of beautiful San Diego weather outdoors. We visited the botanical garden, the rose garden and the desert garden. We had to leave in the afternoon to make our flight, but it was the perfect last day in this amazing city.

Day 7

I loved San Diego and I would definitely go back. I enjoy spending a whole week in one city, because it gives me a better feel for a place and I don’t have to pick one or two things to see, I can do it all (almost).

Where to next?

Lake Muskoka

I just spent a weekend, the first of my summer holidays, in a cottage on Lake Muskoka. The cottage belongs to a friend’s family, and she assembled a hodge-podge of friends and family to enjoy the sun, the lake and the laughs over the weekend.

It was a four and a half hour drive up. I’m not always a good road tripper, but I enjoyed spending time with my friend Kara as she told me about her cottage and how she used to live there when she was in high school. She had to cross the lake by boat to go to school. How awesome is that?

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We spent a lot of time on the boat, a lot of time on the dock and a lot of time in the water.

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There were a lot of people around, all the time. The first night, the girls decided to go out to the mainland for drinks and I stayed at the cottage. A few years ago, I would have gone with them, even if I didn’t want to. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss anything, or look like I was being a party pooper. I love the freedom that comes from not caring what other people think.

The second night, there were, again, many people at the cottage. We wanted to make a fire, but it rained, so we stayed in. Late in the evening, everyone decided to play a game. Sometimes, when I’m around people I don’t know very well, I get uncomfortable. It’s all very well and good not to care what people think if I don’t go drinking at a bar, but I also don’t want to be rude. I don’t think the term anxious is the right one here to describe how I feel, because I know people suffer from anxiety, while I mostly feel uncomfortable. I decided to remove myself from the party and go to bed.

While I’m completely fine with my choices, I do feel like not everyone understands them. Some people are naturally outgoing and talk easily to everyone, regardless of the situation. Some people need a lot of time alone. I, like a lot of people, need a mix of both. I’m not anti-social or super-social, I’m regular-social.

All that being said, I had a good weekend at a wonderful cottage. There were magical sunsets and adorable 2 year olds singing Let it go. There were cookies and boat rides, suntans and swimming. The summer is off to a great start!

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Two minute moments

I am a big fan of the Facebook page Humans of New York. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a page where a very talented photographer posts pictures of people in New York, along with a sentence or two, allowing you a glimpse into their life.

Last week, there was a picture of a little boy and his mother. The little boy said he wanted to make a card for his mom, but the teacher was too busy to help him spell, so he drew a picture. I thought this was a sweet moment. Then, I read the comments.

People were bashing the teacher, writing things like “she should be fired”, “bad teacher” and “a good teacher would have helped him in her spare time”. I had to stop reading, as I was turning purple.

I have a small class of 18 students, but sometimes, I am too busy to help someone. I have three grades in one class. I do what I can, but I am human. Teachers do not have angel wings or superpowers. We also don’t have “free time” while at work. That comment was obviously written by someone who doesn’t have a clue!

My life as a teacher is a series of two minute moments. Here are a few examples of things that take two minutes:

– Explaining what an adjective is.

– Having a discussion on why it’s not nice to kick our friends.

– Finding a lost pencil.

– Eating half an apple. (You have to eat fast, and you rarely get to eat the whole thing).

– Talking to the parent who interrupted story time by bringing their kid in late.

– Dealing with a bloody nose.

– Reading an e-mail.

– Reminding the third graders that they know what synonyms are.

– Looking for someone’s shoe. How do you lose a shoe?

– Putting a hand on a kid’s forehead to figure out if she’s sick or faking it.

– Asking “who’s is this?” about 47 times.

– Reminding some people that crayons are not meant to be thrown at other people’s heads.

– Helping a first grader read one sentence.

– Listening to kids teach each other.

– Sounding out words so kids can spell them themselves.

– Feeding the lizard.

– Holding up a finger to tell someone to wait while someone is asking a question and someone else is tapping you on the arm with their warm, sticky, little hand.

– Reading the story a second grader wrote for you. It’s about a pink giraffe.

– Suggesting that reading might be a good alternative to staring at the ceiling.

– Trying to teach division while the kids would rather talk about dinosaurs.

– Looking up dinosaur info on the Internet.

– Filling out the millionth form of the month.

– Taking attendance.

– Saying hello to every student.

– Not flinching when a box of beads is dropped on the floor.

– Drawing a star on someone’s hand, because everyone knows that will give you more energy to help you work.

– Answering a questions about prime numbers/pronouns/birds/snack time/planets.

– Going to the washroom (if you’re lucky).

– Hugging the child’s who’s crying because her parents have separated.

– Laughing. Kids are funny.

– Listening to a bad joke. They don’t always tell them right.

– Motivating the kid who thinks everything is boring.

– Replying to an e-mail.

– Singing a song.

To be honest, most teachers do several of these things simultaneously. There are 157 2-minute moments in a school day, including lunch time, which is considered “free time”.

If you witness the moment where I’m laughing and singing, you’ll think “what a fun, happy teacher.” But if you see the moment where I’m telling a child he has used up almost every drop of patience I have specifically for him, you will think I am mean and impatient. One moment does not give you the whole picture.

If you know a teacher, don’t say “lucky you” when her summer vacation starts. Try “I know how hard you worked all year, here is a margarita and a piece of pie”.

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Summer days, drifting away

It’s starting to feel like fall. I love fall. I love sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes. I love wearing skirts and boots with no thights. I love the colours of the leaves. I love the way the air smells and how it’s cool but not cold.

However, I also love summer and I wasn’t quite ready to let go! September is usually a slow transition from one to the other, but it feels like fall is here all of a sudden. I’m not quite ready to give up my sandals and summer dresses.

August was a great month for me. After my yoga-bubble month of July, it was nice to have some time to just hang out. I had no plans, I just kind of floated around from beach to cottage, from yoga class to drinks on a patio.

Doing yoga on a boat. Then falling out of fallen angel pose on a boat!

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Yay, I did it!

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More yoga poses!

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And finally just hanging out on the boat!

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Taking pictures by the lake. (This photo shoot did result in a pulled muscle that’s not completely healed, but the pictures are nice!)

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Yoga on Parliament hill.

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Going out for dinner one last time with my friend Julie before she went back to Abu Dhabi. (Also, I cut my hair!)

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More happy moments at the cottage.

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Enjoying the last little bit of summer on the very last day of August.

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Getting some treasures from my mom’s garden.

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I’ve already made potato-leek soup, apple crisp and apple sauce, a yellow bean casserole that was the most amazing bean dish I’ve ever eaten (not that hard since I didn’t think I liked beans until this summer), not to mention salads and juices!

I’ve had a great summer, so I guess I am ready for fall, hot chocolate, crunchy leaves and pumpkins!

Half-moon disaster

Ever have one of those days where you wake up thinking everything will be awesome, and then it isn’t? Yeah. Not fun.

I got up early yesterday morning (9 am is early when you’re on holidays) to go to yoga. A road was closed, so I had to detour. The detour was so long and far away from where I wanted to go that I not only missed my class, I got lost and it took an hour, a closed bridge and another closed road before I made it back home.

Determined not to let this ruin my day, I decided to head out to Pink Lake to take some fun yoga shots. I asked my cousin Annie, who is a photographer, to take some yoga pictures of me, so I thought I’d practice a little.

Last time I took yoga pictures, I hid from people, so they wouln’t see what I was doing. I started off the same way, on a small trail away from the lake, in the only patch of sunlight I could find.

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Does this sunlight make my butt look weird?

Half-moon pose. Not the disaster part yet.

Half-moon pose. Not the disaster part yet.

I wasn’t really satisfied with this location, so I headed for the lake, thinking if people saw me, so what.

Sun warrior in the sun.

Sun warrior in the sun.

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Upward dog by some trees. I waited until there were no kids around so I wouldn’t set a bad example.

This looks like a slightly more dangerous version of upward dog on a railing, but the water was there in the previous picture, you just can't see it.

This looks like a slightly more dangerous version of upward dog on a railing, but the water was there in the previous picture, you just can’t see it.

So far, everything was great. Then I came to this spot.

Something terrible is about to happen here.

Something terrible is about to happen here.

I set up my camera, hit the timer and went into half-moon pose. This time, I grabbed for my left foot with my left hand, a variation I’ve done before. The worst thing that usually happens is that I lose my balance and fall down. My balance was ok, but as I held my foot, I felt something move, and not in a good way. It felt as though two muscles were pulling away from each other, but I’m thinking it was just one muscle and it wasn’t happy.

This is the picture I got.

See me reaching for my right glute? Not fun, not fun at all.

See me reaching for my right glute? Not fun, not fun at all.

Here is a more detailed photo of my injury.

Talk about pain in the butt.

Talk about pain in the butt.

It wasn’t terrible at the time, it just felt kind of weird, so I took a few more photos. I didn’t attempt half-moon again though.

Crescent lunge.

Crescent lunge.

I didn't dare go into the full expression of camel pose because I didn't know how my butt would take it.

I didn’t dare go into the full expression of camel pose because I didn’t know how my butt would take it.

A little side crow fun stuff.

A little side crow fun stuff.

And that was it. I came home, sat on an ice pack, then spent the next few hours glued to my couch watching Doctor Who. Today, I have to go outside and talk to people, so I’m going to take some advil and hope for the best.

The worst thing about this whole disaster is that I can’t practice yoga for a little while. The horror!! Remember kids, half-moon has hidden dangers. Be aware!

From a place of love and joy

Before I started my yoga teacher training, I thought I would be writing about it almost every day and sharing all the new stuff I discovered.

It didn’t really work that way.

I learned so much about myself and my practice, but it was such an intense process, I didn’t have time to figure it out. Half the time, I didn’t understand what I was feeling, learning and experiencing. There was no way I could seperate it all into neat little blog posts.

People ask how yoga teacher training was. I don’t know how to answer. I wasn’t just one thing. It was everything. My life, my practice, my goals, my emotions, they’re all connected and I can’t pull out one thing and say it was good, or it was bad.

I do know how I feel now. I feel limitless. I can do anything and be anything.

Also, I know that I want to teach yoga from a place of love and joy. That’s what I have to share with the world.

Here’s a little look at my journey.

Day 2: Learning how to instruct pyramid pose.

Day 2: Learning how to instruct pyramid pose.

Learning about anatomy. This is Severus showing off his spiral line.

Learning about anatomy. This is Severus showing off his spiral line.

Practicing inversions.

Practicing inversions.

Getting ready to attempt a headstand.

Getting ready to attempt a headstand.

Supported headstand.

Supported headstand.

Breaking through limiting beliefs. (Yes, I broke that board with my hand!)

Breaking through limiting beliefs. (Yes, I broke that board with my hand!)

Awesomeness.

Awesomeness.

One thing I am sure of: This is only the begining. There is so much more to learn.

Junebug

No, I am not particularly fond of insects, I just think it’s a cute name (for a bug that is anything but cute!)

June was a great month, as it was my third 30 day yoga challenge! I can’t believe the “Do yoga every day for a week” goal on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days turned into three month long challenges! Amazing.

June was such a busy month, I didn’t blog about my challenge as much as I thought I would. I didn’t take many pictures either. The thing is, it felt less like a challenge (for the first half, anyways). I was going to yoga three to four times a week anyways, so going everyday wasn’t quite as difficult as you would think. The second half happened at the same time as report cards, field trips and end-of-the-year crazyness, so it was a little tougher to motivate myself to go to class, but I think all the yoga helped me deal with everything.

Now, on to the best moments of my month caught in pictures!

Midsummer Madness

midsummer madness

30 day yoga challenge

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Goody bag from the lovely ladies at Pure Yoga Ottawa

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Learning a new yoga pose. Bird with a broken wing, grasshopper or dragonfly, depending on who you talk to!

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Going to the library book fair.

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Spending father’s day with my dad.

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Seeing the Supermoon. Awesome.

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Going ziplining with my students. Kids are brave.

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Viking day with my students.

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And, with the end of June came the completition of my 30 day yoga challenge and the start of my summer holidays! Bliss.