Random Stuff

Hello my lovelies!  In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t posted much lately.  It’s the middle of June and I’m a high school English teacher…that’s just the way it goes, I’m afraid.  Since it’s already after 9 and I teach a 6am fitness class tomorrow, this will be a “random things” type of post….here goes….

1. My husband went back to work today – I was spoiled and got to spend an extra 2 days with him, since he had a specialist appointment today and therefore didn’t go back to work on Monday when the rest of his shift started.  It was lovely to have those two extra days.

2. I wish he was home every night.

3. I only have one week of classes left before exams.  That is both exhilarating (because it means the end is VERY near), and terrifying (because I have A LOT of marking and other work to accomplish in the next week).

4. One of my closest work friends resigned from her teaching position and will be moving; it’s a bit of a ridiculous story and I can’t really get into it here since airing any sort of gripes about colleagues, administration or my school division is against the Teacher’s Code of Conduct and could get me into a lot of trouble.  I feel incredibly sad because the students are losing an amazing teacher, and I am losing a wonderful colleague and a great friend.  It sucks.  We had an assembly today, so the kids said their goodbyes and presented her with a gift.  I cried.

5. There are a lot of things about my career that are making me very unhappy lately.  Those things have absolutely nothing to do with my students.

6. I love my students, and if it were just about the teaching, I would be in my glory.

7. My husband told me to quit last week – not to give my notice, but to actually quit – because he is so fed up with seeing my frustration and tears.  Sometimes I think he’s right:  no amount of money is worth my sanity and self-worth.  On the other hand, it makes zero sense for me to actually quit at this point in my life.

8.  We have a plan.  That plan does not include quitting my job.  It does include making some changes to how I do things so that I can reduce my workload.  That should help a bit.  It won’t eliminate the other issues (the ones I can’t talk about online without risk of breaking the Teacher Code of Conduct!), but it’s a start.

9.  My fitness classes are going well.  My students want me to run Summer classes, and I had fully intended to do so…but now it looks as though there might be an issue with the venue I use being unavailable to me over the Summer, so I’m not entirely sure what is going to happen on that front.

10.  Maybe that’s the Universe trying to tell me that I need to take the Summer off of teaching and just focus on my own fitness, running and yoga practice….

11.  Today is Day 22 of my 30 Day Yoga Challenge.

12.  I kind of cheated on the Yoga Challenge on the weekend:   I played in a Slo-Pitch Tournament, so I didn’t do any Yoga on Saturday or Sunday.  I think I can just double up and do two 2 practice days to make up for it, but I don’t really know how that works.  It’s my own damn challenge, though, so I’m saying it’s totally cool!

13.  I am getting sleepy, and I really want to get to read a little bit of my book club reading selection before bed, so this will be close to the end of my post.

14.  I wrote “book club reading selection” to make it sound fancy, but I’m really reading smut – Fifty Shades of Grey is what we chose for this time.  I’ve only read the first few pages, but I’ve heard from some of the other ladies in my club (and virtually everyone else) that it is pretty raunchy.  Whatever….my husband is away for 3 weeks, so I need something to keep myself occupied! Ha!

Yogi, Yogi, Yogi

Hello lovely readers – I know I’ve been neglecting you, and for that, I apologize.  I’ve decided to just go with the flow in life right now, and not stress about things that are out of my control…including being busy.  I just couldn’t get to the blog, but I’m not going to feel badly about that – I’m just going to let it go.  Que Sera Sera.

On the upside, a huge chunk of me being too busy to blog in the last little while is actually WONDERFUL news:  I was away from home for six days in a row, and part of that was my very last weekend of Yoga Teacher Training.  That’s right, my LAST weekend.  I did my teaching practicum on Saturday, and it went very well…so I’m actually a yoga teacher now!  Do you know how exciting that is for me?  I still have to do my written exam, but I’m not worried about that, especially since the practical part is out of the way.  Huge sigh of relief!

A lovely group of people to take Yoga Teacher Training with – I am so blessed to know each and every single one of them!

Completing the Yoga Teacher Training over the last 5 months has been one of the best things that has ever happened in my life.  I learned a lot about myself, improved my yoga practice in leaps and bounds, and made some wonderful friends.  There is talk of a 500 hour certification (another 300 hours on top of the 200 I’ve already done, with a lot of specialty training and master teacher shadowing) with the same group next year, and I’m pretty sure I’ll take the training if I can make it work within the context of my life.  It was honestly such a beautiful journey with an incredibly beautiful group of people.

In other yoga news, I have completed Day 6 of a 30 day yoga challenge.  Today wasn’t a full on practice, but I did manage about 25 minutes of Sun Salutations followed by some seated postures and a brief Savasana, so it still counts.  It will be tough for me to fit in a yoga practice each day, but I think it’s a committment worth making time for, especially since every other facet of my life has been spinning so wildly out of control lately.  Yoga and running are the only things keeping me sane and grounded lately, so I plan to make time for them amidst the chaos – I deserve that!

Anyway, it’s midnight and I have to teach an early morning circuit class in 6 hours, so I guess it’s bed time!  I guess it’s a good thing I’m getting in the yoga, since I’m definitely NOT getting in the sleep…

Jamaican Holiday

I’m back, but wishing desperately that I was still in Runaway Bay; the beach at Breezes is beautiful, the people are wonderful, and the pace is so relaxed.  I LOVE the feel of hot sun and humidity on my skin, and I always look my best in tropical climates.  There is something about the air that does wonders for my skin, and my normally fine, limp hair always has oomph from the salt water.

We had a fabulous holiday!  We were able to get in a lot of relaxing in the sun, but we also enjoyed a few tours and some fun activities at the resort.  We spent the better part of one day with a local Jamaican named Alvan Gardner, who drove us up into the hills to Nine Mile to see Bob Marley’s house and mausoleum.  For the entire drive up and back, we asked a lot of questions, and Alvan gave us some great information about real life in Jamaica, while pointing out interesting sights in the hill communities we passed through.  After visiting Nine Mile, Alvan took us to a local Jerk Chicken place (so delicious – much better than the bland stuff they give you at the resort!) and we bought him lunch.  For the last part of our afternoon, he took us to the nearby Green Grotto caves for a historical tour.  We also took a tour to the Captain Hook Pirate Ship in Falmouth for an evening of entertainment and a steak and lobster dinner.  It was a fun night, if a little bit cheesy, and we certainly enjoyed ourselves.

Except for the day we spent with Alvan and the evening we went to the Pirate Ship, we spent the rest of our time at the resort.  We had two spectacular spa treatments: a lovely and relaxing couple’s massage, and a second treatment where Rob had a scrub with accupressure massage and I had a scrub with a milk and honey body wrap and an a-ma-zing foot massage.

We did lounge around by the beach and pool for a good chunk of our time, but Rob and I also spent a lot of time playing beach volleyball with other guests and some of the entertainment staff at the resort.  Rob played volleyball in high school, and still has a pretty mean spike, but I have never really played at all and don’t have much of a skill set, so the others were probably a lot less thrilled to have me on their team.  I don’t completely suck, though, and I’m not afraid to dive into the sand for the ball, so I was able to make at least a tiny contribution on the court!

What I imagined myself looking like while diving for the volleyball

 

Probably a lot closer to what I REALLY looked like out there!

We also participated in a few of the beach race type fun games, including a Goat race that I’ve been looking forward to since we missed it last year!  I also ran through the resort and on the beach most mornings before taking a quick dip in the ocean to cool off, and I completed a short yoga practice on our balcony almost every morning – the beach running and yoga were lovely, as I knew they would be!

My favourite activity of the whole week came on our second last day:  we did a SCUBA lesson in the pool, and then went for a beautiful dive just a few minutes away from our resort.  It was the coolest experience of my entire life and I can’t wait to do it again!  We found out after our dive that we could have done the lesson on our first day, and then dove for free in different locations all week long.  Sigh.  I guess we will know that for next time, and take fuller advantage of that aspect of our resort.  Neither of us had ever been diving anywhere other than a swimming pool, so it was a brand new experience for both of us, and we are looking forward to a lot more SCUBA diving in the future.  I have some great pics, but we used my parents’ underwater camera and I don’t have the cable that will allow me to transfer the photos to my computer.  As soon as I get that from my mom, I will upload some photos.

While I ate fairly sensibly for an all-inclusive resort, and stayed active all week, I did indulge in a lot of alcohol…plus I ate dessert every night.  Not exactly conducive to making my ass smaller.  Oh well.  C’est la vie!  Tomorrow is a new day, and (at least once I kick this sinus infection that reappeared about 15 minutes after I boarded the plane to come home), I will get right back on the skinny train.

Off to Jamaica, Mon!

So I feel like this has become a pretty standard statement for me, but this week has been hectic (and it’s only Wednesday!): an all day trip to the city with my Mom on Saturday; marking papers, cleaning house, and doing my own yoga homework on Sunday; a jam-packed Monday full of all sorts of things at school – plus Rob came home, but that’s exciting 🙂  Yesterday I taught my fitness class in the morning, taught high school classes all day, went to two appointments after school, and then had to pick up groceries for a school event.  Today we had a “compressed day” of classes, with a staff meeting after school and then Parent-Teacher interviews until 8pm.

Tomorrow is nuts too…Sunrise Sweat class at 6am, then finishing some marking that I’d like to get out of the way, morning supervision before school, a full day of classes, lunch time supervision, the student group I lead has an “eating contest” planned at lunch that I need to get ready and oversee, and then we must have our dogs at the boarding kennel about 2 1/2 hours away by 6pm.  Normally this would be a rush, but apparently they are expecting a crazy snow storm in and around Edmonton tomorrow, so I’m not sure we will make it in time to get the dogs to the kennel 😦  Except that we HAVE to, because Rob and I are headed to Jamaica, mon!  School ends for the day at 3:24, so I will be walking out the door at 3:25; here’s hoping the roads are good.

We are going back to the same resort we got married at last Easter Monday, and we CAN’T WAIT!!!

The water and the beach are just so beautiful in Runaway Bay! This is a dock just a few steps away from our resort; it made for great photo options.
- Photo by Kathy Lovell

It’s not quite our one year anniversary yet (about 3 weeks shy), but the Easter break is really my only option for a holiday, so we’ll take it.  We weren’t really sure if we’d be able to go, but Breezes gave us four anniversary nights free with our wedding package, and we were able to find super cheap flights, so we took the plunge and decided to go back this year.  Last year I ran on that beach in the early mornings, and I’m really looking forward to doing that again.  I’m bringing my travel yoga mat too, so I can practice on the beach after my runs.  It is so very beautiful there, and just the thought of a morning workout in Jamaica makes me want to jump for joy 🙂

Our super awesome wedding party getting some air!
- photo by Kathy Lovell

 

Lions and Tigers and Handstand, Oh My!

I just got home from an intense weekend of Yoga Teacher Training.  I have such a love/hate relationship with these weekends.  This weekend was EXACTLY what I needed to refocus what is important in my life: my loved ones, my health and my sanity.  I started to write about my love/hate relationship with the teacher training weekends, but as soon as I wrote it, I realized that it wasn’t really true.  There is no doubt that these weekends are draining; we complete a physical asana practice for 2.5-3 hours each day, and then do a lot of book/lecture type learning and posture labs.  Yoga teacher training is not easy (and I’m glad of that, or ANYONE could be a yoga teacher), and the weekends are quite taxing on both a physical and mental level.  I’m finding this especially difficult given how hectic the rest of my life has been as of late, but I really believe that the training is also exactly what I need to slow down my life (even if it is a lot of extra work right now!).  This weekend has reminded me how important yoga has become for me, and even though I’ve been busy lately, yoga really isn’t the thing that I want to let slide in order to make room for it all.  Why not?  Well that answer is simple:  when life is hectic, yoga (and snuggling with my husband when we actually get to see each other!) is the only thing that brings peace and calmness to my crazy.  I learned today that the way to change your practice for the better is to practice vigorously, often and for a long time.  The vigorous and the often I can make happen right now, and the long time will only come if I continue to practice!  I can – and WILL – make adjustments in other ways so that I can continue to improve my practice – that is what is right for me right now.

Learning from Catherine Munro – who is unbelievably amazing – is so perfect for me, because even though I wish I was familiar with more of the poses already (like most of the others in my class are), I also realize that I have the benefit of learning these new poses the right way the very first time I do them.  That means that my practice will continue to improve, and I can be confident that I am receiving excellent instruction every time I go for another weekend of training.  Plus, she works us REALLY hard, so I can be sure that I am building strength and burning calories every single time I take a class with Catherine!

We worked on inversions this weekend, specifically Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand), Sirsasana (Headstand) and Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand – pictured to the left).  With the exception of trying an assisted handstand in a workshop a few months ago with Catherine, I had never done any of these poses before this weekend.  They were terrifying, but I got up into all of them (with help, obviously – I don’t think it’s actually possible to do this shit without assistance unless you’ve been practicing for a WHILE!).  Apparently Handstand is the pose that is most frightening for the majority of people, but I wasn’t that nervous about it.  I found it kind of exciting, actually, and like the others, it was very invigorating.  The pose that freaked me out more than any other was Pincha; maybe because the floor was so close to my face, I was afraid my nose was going to smash down into the hardwood…but it didn’t, so we’re all good.  I will definitely be practicing this pose (and the others, too) in order to gain some confidence with it.  The biggest obstacle that I see here is needing help to get up into the pose, and since I don’t practice in a yoga studio, and my husband is out-of-town for work a lot, that might be tough.  I WILL find a way, though.  If you happen to stop by for a visit, I might just put you to work helping me to get my legs in the air!

I Want to Pump You Up!

Did you read the title with an odd, pseudo-Austrian accent a la Hans and Franz of SNL fame?  I hope so – it is much cooler that way.

I thought it would be a fitting title for two reasons:

A) I spent a lot of moolah this weekend on fitness equipment for my “Sunrise Sweat” class, which starts this week.  The point of the class is to “pump up” my participants…well, sort of.  Two of the ladies in my class texted me a picture of a woman with arms as big as my calves (and much more muscular) accompanied by the message, “We’re game for class but we don’t want to look like this!”  I guess that means they aren’t going to be taking any steroids before arriving at my fitness class.  I don’t think they really have too much to worry about; while I design workouts that build strength, I am much more interested in a streamlined physique than growing giant manly arms!

B) I spent a large portion of my evening pumping up recently purchased stability balls and BOSUs.  Notice the foot pump?  I overheated my electric pump and had to use the manual one.  It took a while, but I got everything inflated, and had a little leg workout at the same time.

Speaking of legs – I have really exciting news!  At least it is exciting news for me…you might think it’s a little silly, because I tend to get excited about things that other people sometimes find a bit ridiculous.  But on with the story:  every time I have attended one of my Yoga teacher training weekends, many of the other teacher trainees have these fabulous leg warmers and cool high socks to keep their feet and legs toasty before and after practice.  I always wear plain white ankle socks and feel really boring.  Plus, because my yoga pants are crops, the bare skin on my legs sometimes gets cold.  I covet the cool leg warmers…but no more!  I am now part of the cool kids’ club.  That’s right – I have leg warmers.  I found them at Wal-Mart for about $6, and had to have them.  I also bought two pair of $3 knee-high socks while I was there, and turned them into my own DIY leg warmer creation.  I can’t take all the credit, though; I totally stole the idea from a wonderful yoga classmate named Melissa.  Melissa reminds me a bit of a rock star, and she wears the neatest stuff – including a sweet pair of home-made leg warmer socks that I have been coveting for the last month.  I hope she doesn’t mind that I borrowed her idea!

Here’s how to create this look:

1. Find a pair of tall socks that you enjoy – this pair can go all the way past my knee if I stretch them, and I really like the purple stripes.  The other pair is a pretty boring grey, but they will probably match with more of my other stuff.

2. Take a pair of scissors and cut off the toe of the sock just below the seam line.  Then cut a triangle out of the heel.  Most socks have a slight line where the knitting changes direction, and many socks (including these) have a different coloured heel – cut just inside the different colour/knitting line.

3. Voila!  You have a neat little pair of leg warmers.

Here is a close up of my toes – I just got a pedicure on Friday, and I’m loving the sparkles on top of the dark plum, so I thought I’d show off up close.  Thanks Sharla at Exhale!

Motivation Meltdown

I’ve read a lot of posts tonight about having a lack of motivation, and as much as I hate to hear about others who are struggling, it is nice to know that I’m not alone.  This past week has been VERY tough on me:  I am into my no-prep semester, which means that I am teaching full days, without any breaks at all.  There are four class sessions within my day, and because of split classes, I am now teaching six classes in a four period day.  I spent the majority of the weekend at school just trying to stay on top of things.  On top of that, I am also teaching the morning fitness classes (and contemplating adding in one more per week), plus managing our household and taking care of the dogs on my own.  My darling husband is still working out-of-town, so for the time being it is all on me.  Add to that my own homework to stay on top of my yoga teacher training, and I’m beginning to feel like I may have “bitten off more than I can chew.”  It’s been tough, to say the least, but I have managed to fit in a few good workouts this week!

I got in two good runs on the weekend and had a great yoga class tonight.  Monday was my rest day, so I had every intention of running Tuesday morning, but my body decided that it needed an extra hour of sleep instead.  Sometimes you just have to listen when your body tells you to slow down, I guess!

I teach my circuit class at 6:15 tomorrow morning (I will be off to bed very soon!), and I have a few more good workouts planned for the rest of the week, so I am still mostly on track…sometimes it’s just a lot more difficult finding the energy to fit in a good sweat session than I want it to be.

But let’s conjure up the positive, shall we?  I have managed to fit in some good workouts amid the chaos, I’m rather enjoying the students in my new classes, and I’ve been able to eat well and (mostly) stick to Cycle 1 of the 17 Day Diet.  Really, I amazingly successful!