To do: Yoga, Be awesome, Repeat

In my last post, I said it didn’t feel like summer. I take it back. Summer is here and I love it. I just had a four day weekend and it felt so much like summer vacation that I was shocked to realize I had to go to work this morning.

What did I do on this amazing weekend of summery bliss, you ask? The best thing ever: yoga! Six yoga classes, to be exact. And one dance class. Yes, it was exhausting, hot and humid. And yes, I loved every minute of it!

Friday night I went to a flow class where the teacher massaged my feet during pigeon pose. Bliss.

Saturday, I went to a flow class that was hot, hot, hot. Made me feel like I was in Cuba again. Bliss. Then, I went out to dinner with my girlfriends, followed by a night out at a club for a cd release party. Bliss.

Sunday, I made it to a detox class where I twisted out all the bad stuff and inhaled lots of good stuff. Bliss. After class, I went to Chapters to buy a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. I need to read it for my yoga teacher training, which starts in just over a week! Went back to the studio for an intro class. When you do two classes in one day, it’s nice to have one that’s a little easier!

Sunday evening, I was supposed to go to a house dance class with my girlfriends. One friend decided not to go, as she’d had a long day at work. When I got to the studio, my other friend sent me a text to say she wasn’t coming. I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t really want to go alone. I considered leaving, but I’d already paid for my class. I decided to stay and I’m so glad I did! It was so much fun. I’ve tried house dancing before, and I’m not very good, but I loved it. Bliss.

Monday was a holiday, so I went to an early class (9:30 is early, right?). Had the amazing feeling I get when I get something done before noon on a non-work day. Bliss.

Had a lunch and movie date with a friend, then back to yoga for a class called Pure Hips. Now, I’ve avoided this class for a long time, based on it’s name. It just screamed “dragon pose” at me. Fortunately, there was no dragon or gecko to be found. It was a lot of rolling out tissues on balls. Sounds weird. It is. It doesn’t feel great, and that means it’s working. It felt good today. Bliss.

Tonight, I went to a yin class that’s got me feeling all soft and sleepy. I can’t believe it’s almost the end of June and the 30 day challenge is almost over!

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Midsummer madness

If you read my blog last December, you know that I participated in Dressember, which is the amazing challenge of wearing a dress every day for a month. I loved it! The only thing I didn’t like was that I couldn’t show off my most summery dresses. There’s a Dressember facebook page and it was suggested that we do a mini-Dressember in June so we could show off our summer dresses. I posted a few pictures, but here is the whole week.

Day 1

I love, love, love this dress. I love it so much I kind of wrote it a love letter.

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Day 2

It was a rainy, grey day so I tried to wear as much colour as I could to balance it out!

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Day 3

A dress I’ve had for years. I’ve never worn it with blue shoes before.

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Day 4

My red dress. Probably one of my favourites.

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Day 5

I don’t wear a lot of yellow, because it washes me out and people ask me if I’m feeling ok, but this is a light, sunny yellow, so it’s good.

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Day 6

I had another dress picked out, but I overslept and ran out the door in 10 minutes. No time to iron, do my hair or my makeup. At least I still wore a dress. Also, I made it to work on time!

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Day 7

It was very cold and it was raining, so I had to cover most of my dress up. I took two pictures: how I wanted to wear my dress, and how I actually wore it.

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I didn’t wear a dress today, but I’ve still got plenty. If I can remember to take pictures, I’ll share!

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!

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.