Saturday, April 25, 2015

Nameste, Ya'll !

You may have noticed, I haven't posted in a while. Odd, huh? I guess it's not that odd. But there's no real reason for it.  What I've been doing lately is yoga!  

And let me just's hard. And yet it's also rejuvenating and has given me lots of endorphins. I have fallen in love with a local hot yoga studio. I don't think I've talked about my quest to find THE yoga place for me. So I'll give you a taste here.

Credit: DaPino-Colada
All of the studios I've tried offer "drop in" options. You can try them out with absolutely no obligation. A lot of studios  sell "punch cards" to purchase multiple classes at a discounted rate. Some studios have a monthly plan with unlimited classes. That is the plan I'm doing for now.

I was taking yoga classes at a different studio almost every night. It was great. Each studio has their own personality and vibe. 

I was like Goldilocks. One class was too hard while another was not challenging enough. But several studios had classes that I found "just right."  What a wonderful new world I've discovered. 

Though it was fun to go to a different studio for each class, paying drop in rates is not sustainable. Not if I want to work out 3 to 5 times a week. I decided to do the monthly pass at my favorite place. It makes life much easier. Now I just plan around "my" studio. This week I've taken five classes. Much to my surprise, I've been gotten up "early" on the past few Saturdays to go to either an 8:00 or 9:00 class. 

I'm still one of the newest students in class. New to yoga. And there are many poses that I don't attempt (yet). But there are many things I'm doing now that I couldn't do in January! So, I'm not discouraged, even on the days when I find myself needing to take a child's pose in the middle of class. I come out of the classes drenched, exhausted and exhilarated. 

Some teachers recommend setting a mantra for our practice. The first time I set a mantra was last month. My mantra was: "I am strong. I am healthy."  It was my first class after the hospital scare that left me weak for over a week.

It is true and it's good to be reminded.
I am strong and I am healthy. And I am Grateful.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Reading About Middlemarch

Recently, I've been reading books that I wouldn't ordinarily read, which has turned out to be a really good thing. I've just finished My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead. The blurb grabbed me:
I was drawn to the idea of returning to the landscape of youth... and thinking about how it shapes us. Plus, I'm a sucker for great first lines and Mead's first page is a gem. She starts with:
When I was seventeen years old and still living in the seaside town where I spent my childhood, I would go for hours every Sunday morning to the home of a retired teacher of English literature to talk about books.
I've never read Middlemarch. I'm not sure I would enjoy it if I did. Yet, I was drawn to Mead's reflections. For Mead, discovering her love of Middlemarch  coincided with discovering her own identity. She realized that, not only did she love the book, she loved being the kind of person who loved it.

As a journalist, Mead examines both the novel and the novelist. In the process she uncovered letters written by Eliot before she was "George Eliot." Her letters turn out to be unexpectedly cringe worthy. They are pious with a dash of intolerance. In a word, they are judgey. Mead examines the letters with tenderness, remembering her own adolescent letter writing saying:  
Sitting at my desk and writing letters -- on childish Snoopy notepaper I'd been given for Christmas, using a heavy, liver-colored fountain pen with a gold cap that had belonged to my mother until I claimed it--was no less significant a part of my growing up then the mild adventures I excitedly recounted: of underage pub-going at fifteen...
Writing letters was one of the Things there was to do while I was waiting for my life to start.
Earnest letter writing must the universal teenage girl's rite of passage. My own letters were written with a blue Bic pen on daisy filled paper.

In adulthood, Eliot is known for bold choices, including a life with the never divorced George Henry Lewes. Eliot allowed herself to have an entire paradigm shift. In the end, life is too short to not to chase what calls you. 

Similarly, Mead chased the life that called her. She says, "When I first left England as a young woman, I didn't consider that there would be a finite, and unknowable number of times I would return." Mead left to study journalism in New York and shares some of her impressions from the experience. 
Much of the time I felt like I was wasting time. But I also got a part-time job at a magazine where I did research for writers and answered the phones and even wrote a few short pieces, learning skills and gaining experience that only a real deadline and a real paycheck could provide.
I shared a small apartment that had sloping floorboards, exposed-brick walls, and an occasional rodent problem, four flights above a busy SoHo intersection. On summer nights when it was too hot to sleep I would sit on the fire escape, looking over the water towers on the buildings opposite and down on the lively streets below, enjoying the exotic sensation of sultry air on my skin.
I love this shared memory. 

By the time I finished the book, I understood why Mead loved reading Middlemarch. Mead says "when I read her [Eliot's] books I am restored anew to that place of childhood," which Mead says "is an opportunity to be in touch again with the intensity and imagination of beginnings."

I haven't read Middlemarch and I haven't lived in England or NYC (though I've visited both). I'm happy that Mead's memoir allowed me to experience it all, even just for a moment.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Permission to Be Wrong and Look Silly

The puppy pic is to celebrate a spring sunny day. Who can resist a puppy looking out the window?
I've been killing it with my "own my workout" goal for 2015. Before the snow hit I was at a yoga studio almost every night. I think I may have found my workout of choice. But...then the snow and ice came it was impossible to go. When the snow/ice melted I decided to get right back to what I'd been doing. So Monday night I did a hot wasn't one of my favorites. I didn't feel stronger after. But, it was still time that my body was moving and burning a few of the calories I need to burn.

My favorite yoga class is held on Tuesdays. But it's a pretty late class. I would have been in a time limbo for too long to make that class make sense. So, armed with my new sense of workout duty, I went to the gym at my office. I decided to ride the bike for 30 minutes plus a cool-down. Granted it's been a while sense I have done pure aerobic exercise. --I'd been doing the hot yoga instead. So, when I started to feel yucky while riding the bike, I was not deterred or surprised. I thought to myself..."yep, this is what you get when you let yourself get out of shape. You get winded and you want to throw up."

Like the militant task master than I can be, I shamed myself into continuing.  My heart rate according to the bike was all over the place. I'm never convinced that the machines are getting accurate readings. I didn't give myself a break until 25 minutes of stationary bike hell. I decided "today my work out is 25 minutes...not the 30 minutes I planned." And I decided I was okay with that.

I was pretty disappointed when the nausea didn't automatically go away when I stopped the workout.  I mean what the heck? I walked to my car and started the commute home. Luckily it was late enough that there wasn't a ton of traffic. The whole way home I felt sick, but I made it without an incident. 

I got home and just sat on the couch trying to control that queasy feeling and "will myself" to not be sick. Long story short...that didn't work. 

Hours later (after being sick) I had no relief. So we called the insurance 24 hour nurse, which led to the decision of "better safe than sorry" and an ambulance and EMS workers taking me to the hospital. The symptoms I was having can be linked to a heart attack, which is why the drama.  

I'm happy to tell you that I did not have a heart attack. I had a virus. One that made me very sick and resulted in dehydration. 

I'm so thankful that what I experienced was not life threatening. I'm also proud of myself for not being afraid to look foolish. Because, what if it was a heart attack? And I was too afraid of looking silly to follow through on the nurse's advice? Or what if I didn't call the nurse at all? 

Granted, if we hadn't called for advice/help we wouldn't have a medical bill that will be coming our way. But, really, the cost of medical care is a topic for another day. 

Today's topic is: