Friday, April 29, 2011

The Days We Miss

Feet, Meet Sneakers

Leaves Under Stairs

Windchime Shadow

Friday’s (very short) Run (4/29/11)

After a long hiatus, I finally went running again.  According to the official record, it’s been 26 days since my last run.  That feels correct to me, as I know my fitness focus has been elsewhere: yoga and biking.  After the half-marathon, I had a feeling in my gut that I would take a break from running, enough time off to let me miss the sport a bit.  In fitness and in romance, a little missing can be a healthy and energizing experience.  For running in particular, time off can be good for any niggling injuries to heal themselves without much fuss.  (Wait, is this also true for romance-induced injuries?)

This week, I’ve been missing my running routine.  I’ve been missing the Thursdays when I would bike to work and then run after work—those days made me feel so healthy and strong.  So tonight, I went for a short, 10-minute run.  Just a mile.  It felt nice and familiar and freeing—nothing between me and the sidewalk but a pair of sneakers.  This evening I was reminded of something that Maura once wrote, that the road does not judge us, no matter how long we’ve been gone or how slow we are or how much we weigh.  The road welcomes us back just the same, every time.  That’s true for me, and one of the reasons that I feel like I will always be a runner, no matter how many days have passed since my last run.  I know it will always be there for me.

But I also know that running is more fun if you are fit and feel able to do it.  Now that Texas is teetering on the brink of summer, I need to figure out what my summer fitness plan is going to be.  My (not so) super secret goal is to be able to run a solid 30 minutes outside, even at the end of August.  It scares me to say that, having lived through a Texas August, but there it is.  The question is, how should I try to accomplish this goal?  Early-morning runs?  Late-night runs?  Hard-core treadmill time?  I need to think about these options, but I know some of you, sweet readers, also live and train in hot-hot places.  What are your summer strategies?  How do you manage to keep running when the weather is blisteringly miserable outside?

One more thing: happy weekend, everyone!  We made it to Friday!  

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Let’s Not Skirt the Issue


Over the Shoulder

Faux Walking

Wednesday’s Bike Ride Commute (4/27/11)

Hey hey!  How has your week been?  Mine has been pretty good.  I had two big things this week at work, a seminar I organized and a lab meeting presentation.  They are both done now, and no tears were shed, so I shall consider this week a success.  But more importantly, let’s take bikes and skirts!

Last week, I was shocked and dismayed to discover that trying to bike in my favorite knee-length red skirt is a pain in the butt.  The skirt in question is not particularly tight, but it’s just tight enough and long enough to make it difficult to pedal comfortably.  So it was with some trepidation that I decided to try biking in another knee-length skirt this week.  This patterned black skirt that I’m wearing in the photos above hangs a little past my knees, as you can see.  Pessimist that I am, I didn’t expect this skirt to be bike-friendly…but it is!  It’s breezy and comfortable and I feel both sporty and girly wearing it while I pedal my way to work.

During the long Texas summer, I favor skirts over shorts, so it’s nice to find another skirt in my closet that will work for my bike-commuting days.  For modesty’s sake, I prefer to bike in longer skirts, but clearly not all of my longer skirts are going to work on pedaling days.  I want to know how Tania bikes in this skirt!

This was the wind’s response to my photo shoot yesterday:



Monday, April 25, 2011

If a Tree Does Yoga in the Forest…

A Tree Doing Yoga

…it looks a little something like this!  (See Figure 1, above.)

Yoga Update (4/18-4/24/11)

I have discovered something very dangerous or very wonderful, depending on how you look at it.  It turns out that in the evening, sitting on a chaise lounge in front of a pool is even more relaxing than yoga.  Dangerous and wonderful, no?  Last week I had to bring out the big guns to deal with my stress and frustration: poolside reclining, wine, and too much time on the bike.  Strangely, I didn’t really turn to yoga, perhaps because right now it feels a bit like a chore, and to relax, I was looking for something that didn’t resemble a chore in the least.  No cooking, no housework.  But something cold to drink, a bikini, and a good book?  Yes, please!

I didn’t abandon my yoga completely last week; I just spent some time away from it.  I’m looking forward to yoga tonight, and I’m looking forward to a better week altogether.  What goes down must come up…or something.

Without further ado, the highlights of my yoga practice last week: 

Monday (4/18): I am completely sick of looking at a screen, so I decide to do a DIY yoga instead.  It feels so good to turn off the computer and focus on stretching my limbs instead.  Om…

Tuesday (4/19): I have a horrific day at work and desperately want to do yoga.  Instead, I spend an hour on the phone being comforted by someone who has the utmost of confidence in me, which makes me feel much better.  I devote the rest of the evening to dinner, kitchen clean-up, and trying to read a paper for journal club the next day.  I do a tiny bit of pajama yoga before going to bed, exhausted, and I promise myself that I’ll do a “real” yoga session the next day.  (FYI: I don’t count today toward my 40 days.)

Wednesday (4/20): Making good on my promise to myself, I do Morning Flow #1, and it feels amazing.  I find myself going even higher (deeper?) into wheel pose, which is one of my favorite poses.  Wheel pose is quite challenging, but it’s such a mind- and body-bending experience that I love it, no matter how hard it feels.  I think this is one of the benefits to doing the same yoga class over and over again—you start to own it, wheel poses and all.

Thursday (4/21): I have a Self magazine clipping for a yoga abs routine, which I used to do more frequently.  It’s a fun set of moves and a nice alterative to Pilates.  I don’t do “yoga abs” too often any more, but tonight, during my DIY yoga, I decide to incorporate some of the yoga abs poses.  I think these poses really do build abdominal strength, but I’m not going to lie: I do yoga abs as much for abdominal strength as I do for those nights I spend sitting around in a bikini top.  Oh, vanity…

Friday (4/22): I skip yoga in favor of doing…nothing.  I sit in front of the pool for a while, and it feels great.

Saturday (4/23): I skip yoga again in favor of…nothing.  In my defense, I’m tired after bike commuting, working, grocery shopping, and cooking dinner.  Actually, I’m not just tired but drained after my week from hell and a busy Saturday.  So no yoga tonight, just some time to putter around and nurture my exhausted self.

Sunday (4/24): After three hours on the phone, my head is spinning and I decide that yoga is the perfect before-bed calm-me-down, so I do a few minutes of pajama yoga.  It does the trick.  And those crescent lunges are still hard to balance in, especially if I try to lean into a backbend in them!  Practice, little yogi, practice.

* * *

One last piece of yoga news.  Did you see Chrissy’s review of Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer?  I really enjoyed the review, though I haven’t read the book yet.  Not to overstate the obvious, but I enjoy conversations about how physical activity affects our mental and emotional well-being, so this book and Chrissy’s review of it are right up my alley.  Now I’ve got another book to add to my reading list!

Have a wheel pose kind of week, my dears!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bike Update, with a Side of Randomness

Bike on Red Brick Road

Tree Scar

Interesting Flower

(Almost) Nonstop Bike Commuting: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday Bike Rides (4/19 and 4/21-4/24/11)

I have apparently become addicted to the convenience and stress-relieving properties of the bike.  I rode my bike to and from work three out of the past five “working days,” and I rode it to and from the lab yesterday and today.  I’m not working on the weekends because I love working all the time; oh no.  Rather, I’ve got experiments going that require daily attention, so I’m trying to be diligent about doing the experiments to the best of my ability.  Hence all the bike-riding to and from the lab.

Bike commuting has actually been really tough lately.  The wind has been blowing with unbelieveable strength, and it seems like I’m fighting the wind during every bike ride.  I’m actually looking forward to taking the bus to work tomorrow because I need a break from the wind!

In other bike news, I almost ran over a squirrel three times this weekend.  No, not the same squirrel.  That would be absurd.  A different squirrel, but three times!  The squirrels must be getting dumber down here.  And of course, when a squirrel comes thisclose to meeting my bike tire, I squeal like a little girl and slam on the brakes.  Oh boy.

In Flickr news, I have apparently been found by a few foot fetishists.  I find this both creepy and amusing.  Since I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a foot fetishist, it’s totally benign.  But it is pretty funny to announce your preference to a stranger on the internet.  My new “fans” wrote,

“miss u got some pretty feet”

“sure do”

Um, thanks?  Maybe they just have a thing for silver toenail polish.  I can’t blame them—it does look really nice, like my toenails are tiny mirrors.

Tis almost time for my afternoon snack, so on that note, adios, amigos!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Every Day Should be Earth Day

Bumblebee with Flower

Happy Earth Day, dear readers!  I’m just popping in to say hello and to reassure any worried readers that I’m okay.  It’s been a hard week at work, but today is Friday and the weekend is almost, almost here.  I have a lot of work to do in the next few days, but I am hoping to celebrate Earth Day properly by sitting outside and staring at the clouds and flocks of birds overhead.

Here’s to a good weekend for you and for me!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tuesday Lists

Bike and Me in New Shoes

New Shoes and New Pedicure

Branch View

Tuesday’s Bike Ride Commute (4/19/11)

Despite my horrific day at work, the crying and hyperventilating that followed said day at work, and the sudden and unbearably hot and humid weather, there was one good thing about Tuesday: I got to ride my bike again.  Actually, there were a number of really great things about Tuesday: the bike ride, eating lunch outside (trying to recover from my wretched morning), beautiful evening sunlight in which to photograph my everyday life, and a phone call from a handsome gentleman who responded to my SOS signal.

Life never unfolds in tones of black and white.  It’s always grey, sunshine and clouds and the occasional rainstorm all circling around each other.  I may not be a rockstar scientist (YET!), but I have my health, my bike, and good shoulders on which to cry, metaphorically or in the flesh.  All things considered, I’m doing pretty well.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I’m hiding in my cave right now…

…because it’s too damn hot now!  We’ve had 90+ degrees of heat this week, which is just about right for August, but it is way too hot for April.  For some reason, my writing studio always stays cooler than the rest of the apartment, so that’s where I’m hiding.  It’s my cave, my cool dark cave.  Between my writing practice, sending and receiving e-mails, and watching television shows on my computer, I spend as much time in this room as I do in the kitchen.  And that’s a lot of time.

My weekend was gorgeous.  It looked like this: 

Me with Big Plants

Looking Up

Bike Outside of Cool Bio Building

Which is to say that it was lovely.  Somehow I managed to go to the lab on both days and had plenty of time to relax, cook, read, and unwind before starting another crazy week in the lab.  As usual with my weekend lab days, I rode my bike to and from the lab, for a total of about seven miles per round trip, or fourteen miles for two days.  It was crazy windy, like it has been for the past few weeks, so biking was an especially good work-out, whether or not I wanted it!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Yogi with a Bad Attitude

Leaves on Side of Tree

Yoga Update (4/10-4/17/11)

Yee-haw!  I’ve passed the 20-day mark of this 40 Days of Yoga project.  In fact, I made it to 21 days as of last night, which means only about five more weeks of feeling guilty that I haven’t finished 40 Days of Yoga.  I’m taking a rather cheeky attitude toward this whole thing right now because dammit, I need to finish!  Yoga isn’t supposed to make a person feel guilty; it’s supposed to make you feel good.  It still makes me feel good, but it also makes me feel guilty when I skip it to do less wholesome activities, like watching The Unbearable Lightness of Being.  That was a strange movie.  For a movie that is all about sex, it is surprisingly unsexy.  I hate when that happens!

I noticed that last week, I only did two classes, and the rest of my yoga days were DIY and pajama yoga.  As much as I love the structured classes, sometimes I just want to be free to do my own thing for as long as I’d like.  Also, I hate pigeon pose.  Hate!  It hurts my hips, and I’m not sure if it’s actually improving my hip flexibility at all.  I do it when a class instructor leads me into the position, but when left to my own devices, I never do pigeon.

Well.  Now that we’ve gotten my bad attitude out of the way, here is my yoga week, listed for your reading pleasure:

Monday (4/11): I demonstrate my devotion to yoga by doing Gentle Hatha Yoga #3.  This is the class where Jackie leads us into gorilla pose, which is one of my favorite forward bend poses!  Just for gorilla pose, I love this class.

Tuesday (4/12): I take a few minutes before bed for some DIY yoga.  My back always needs to be stretched.

Wednesday (4/13): I skip yoga.  Instead, in the evening I take a walk and write instead.

Thursday (4/14): I do Morning Flow #1, my new favorite yoga class.  I do it in the evening, as usual.  I am so not a morning yoga person.

Friday (4/15): I almost skip yoga today!  However, ambition prevails and I choose some pajama yoga, which feels good on my sore back and legs.  I’ve been doing so much walking this week!

Saturday (4/16): Okay, I really do skip yoga today.  I watch a movie and sink into that pleasant, hey-it’s-Saturday! feeling.  After running errands, going to the lab, and cooking a batch of soup, I want to relax on the couch with something entertaining, hence the movie.  I almost feel like I don’t need yoga on Saturday, usually, because it’s easy to relax on Saturdays.  Plus I always run tons of errands on Saturday, so that means I’m on my bike or walking around town, and I get plenty of exercise.  Yoga on top of all that running around would be too much.

Sunday (4/17): Today I do a very special kind of DIY pajama yoga.  First, I unroll my yoga mat, which doesn’t always happen during pj yoga.  Second, I am careful not to mush my toenails into the mat, as I have given myself my first pedicure of the season, and I’d like to neither smudge my toes nor get nail polish all over my mat.  Mission accomplished!  And the yoga is nice too: I do a longer-than-usual DIY session, which feels great after all the walking and biking this week.

* * *

19 more days to go, dear reader!  Wish me luck.  Have a stretchy, flowing week!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

On a Walk: Day Turns into Night

Orange Budding Flowers

More Branches

Moonlight and Branches

Friday’s Walk (4/15/11)

Still feeling contemplative this week, I went for a walk after dinner on Friday.  I walked for a while, long enough for day to turn into night.  It’s amazing how soothing a good walk can be, how much can be accomplished by the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other.  Walking is what I do when I need to think or to be inspired and I don’t know what else to do.  I don’t think I solved any of the world’s pressing problems on Friday night, but I did return from my walk feeling a little better, so I suppose I solved one tiny, temporary problem.  That’ll have to do for now.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Visiting the Woods on a Warm Spring Day

I Love Tangles of Branches

Look Up and You See This

Bike with Nature Trail Sign

Tuesday and Thursday Bike Ride Commutes (4/12 and 4/14/11)

It’s been stunningly beautiful in Texas this week, albeit windy as usual.  I’ve been happy to take advantage of my two-wheeled commute option for all the usual reasons: freedom from bus schedule tyranny, the fresh air, the pleasant rhythm of my feet pedaling me to my destination.  Lately, I’ve been taking the longer and more scenic route home in the evenings, and this short nature trail is along my path.  There’s no bike rack nearby, so I haven’t been hiking the trail, but I do like to stop for a few minutes to take some pretty pictures before resuming my ride home.  When I was training for the half-marathon, occasionally I would do part of my run through this trail, and I kept thinking that I need to come back to walk through it, slowly, with my camera in hand.  I still need to do that.  For me, there is nothing as relaxing as walking in a wooded trail.  Even if there are cars zipping by not more than 100 feet from where I stand, the dense growth of trees and plants helps to muffle the noise, and I feel 100 miles from my busy daily life.  I love that feeling, especially when I can find it right in my own city.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Up and Down

Is this a Rose_question mark

An Action-Packed Weekend: Friday’s Errands by Bike, Saturday’s Hike, and Sunday’s Contemplative Bike Ride (4/8-4/10/11)

Here’s a crazy piece of news: even though I was desperate for a change of scenery and had a marvelous time in Austin this past weekend, I didn’t take a single photo while in the city.  What is wrong with me?!?  Maybe I was too busy enjoying the good food and company.  Maybe I was self-conscious about looking like a tourist.  I was happy to be a tourist in someone else’s city, mind you, but I wanted the Austin folks to think I fit in with their cool selves.  So I carried my camera around in my purse all day and never took it out of its little pouch.  Oops!

Anyway, life has been busy in great ways lately.  Last Friday, I rode my bike to do errands in the evening.  The wind was fiercely, ridiculously strong, so I got a work-out that left my calves sore the next day.  Though I lived in the Windy City for six years, Texas is by far the windier of the two places.  Also, I was almost run over by a ten-year-old who was pedaling on his bike like a bat out of hell.  Kids these days!

On Saturday, to add to my calves’ woe, my friends and I went on a hike in Austin that had us climbing up and down the terrain in exciting, dizzying ways.  The path was filled with rocks and tree roots, so each step had to be scouted so that we didn’t fall into the ravine.  We felt so adventurous!  I was tired and sweaty afterward but also happy and deeply relaxed.  It turns out that all three of us enjoy being “in nature,” so we were like the Three Musketeers hiking up and down that trail.  It was perfect for working up our appetites for dinner, which was part of a near-perfect evening, the kind that sustains me during the long, hard days of everyday working life.

On Sunday evening, with my Austin trip now a memory and the work week looming, I was feeling contemplative and a little melancholy.  I decided to go for a bike ride after dinner, using my library books as an excuse to get out of my apartment.  I dropped them off at the book drop, then wandered aimlessly around campus for a bit, feeling lonely for Matt.  Finally, I hopped back on my bike and rode home in the semi-darkness, feeling marginally better and confident with faith that this, too, shall pass.

Monday, April 11, 2011


And the Sky Wore Stripes

Yoga Update (4/4-4/10/11)

I am almost to the halfway point in my 40 Days of Yoga project.  I think it would go against the spirit of yoga for me to be disappointed by my slow progression and tendency to skip yoga, so I won’t say that I am.  Instead, I’ll say that this project is teaching me what kind of a yogi I am versus what kind of a yogi I could be, if time and energy weren’t limited, and if I were utterly devoted to yoga.  The funny thing is, I do feel devoted to yoga.  It’s been a part of my life for almost a decade, and it’s made me a stronger, happier, calmer person.  I love yoga.  But I have a hard time doing it every day, which is what this project has taught me.  Yesterday was Day 16 out of 40.  24 days to go!  I do plan to finish the project, but now I know it won’t be finished until May.  May!  I wasn’t planning on that.  Oh well.  Even hyperactive planners like me have to deal with life’s curveballs, and sometimes the change of plans comes from within.

My yoga week, in a proverbial nutshell:

Monday (4/4): I join Dave Farmar for another round of his Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga.  Namaste, Dave!

Tuesday (4/5): I am absurdly tired today, and I have no reason for it.  I do a very short pajama yoga session, trying to concentrate on my breathing, hoping that it will relax me enough to fall straight into unconsciousness when I crawl into bed.  I think it works, as I wake up the next day feeling a little less squashed by life.

Wednesday (4/6): I practice Morning Flow #1, at night as usual.

Thursday (4/7): I skip yoga and meet a friend for drinks.  Later in the evening, I find myself wondering if what I thought was “meeting a friend for drinks” was actually a date.  I am equal parts intrigued and dismayed, as I am not a fan of the stealth date.  I like my romance straight-up, no ice.

Friday (4/8): I skip yoga again, but this time I have a very good excuse.  In anticipation of a trip to Austin the next day, I do a little grocery shopping to pick up salad ingredients.  While I’m out, I find a terrific pair of black sandals.  The sandals are a little sexier than what I was seeking, but I decide I like them and I take them home with me.  The next day, Matt looks at my feet and asks, “Are those your shoes?”  Ha!  Damn right they are.  And they’re so tall that I feel practically amazonian tottering around in them.

Saturday (4/9): No yoga today, as my friend and I road-trip our way to Austin for an overnight visit.  I have such a good time enjoying the change in scenery and my wonderful friends that I wish we could stay longer.  Next year!  Next year I shall return to Austin for a weekend and stay at one of the bed-and-breakfasts.  Doesn’t that sound lovely?  I’m going to save my pennies for that trip.

Sunday (4/10): I return to the metaphorical yoga mat with some pajama yoga before I go to bed.  My legs are tight from biking and hiking over the weekend, so downward-facing dog feels good.  I am exhausted, so I only do a few minutes of yoga before climbing into bed, but they are quality minutes.  Om…

Have an om-filled week, my dears!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Red Bandana Club

Bike Sign

Red Bandana Club

Cat in Driveway

Tuesday and Wednesday’s Bike Ride Commutes (4/5-4/6/11)

The rumors are true: I am part of a gang.   It’s called the Red Bandana Club.  We ride around Texas on our purple Schwinns, taking pictures of the tough-looking neighborhood cats, looking fierce in our pink sweaters.  Don’t mess with us.  You might get hit in the face with a smile.  Seriously.

On Tuesday evening, I decided to take the long way home, riding along one of my favorite streets in town.  It’s a quiet neighborhood, perfect for a slow, contemplative bike ride as I shrug off the day’s worries and try to shift into my evening routine.  I’ve been feeling really tired these days, for reasons that elude me.  Could it be that my yoga project, rather than invigorating me, is actually exacerbating my end-of-day exhaustion?  I don’t understand it.  I’m sleeping well and eating well, but my energy levels just seem low, which sucks the ambition right out of me.  Am I drinking too much wine?  A glass with dinner hardly seems like too much, but could that be it?  And isn’t that a sad possibility—that my tolerance for alcohol is so low that I can’t even have a glass of wine with dinner?

On a happier note, I have been loving the Iron & Wine songs that are playing on my little grooveshark player.  Many of my newest favorites, the ones I keep repeating, are from The Shepherd’s Dog album, which may be my next purchase from Amazon.  The songs are lovely and mellow, and the fact that I want to keep listening to them keeps me firmly planted at my desk, analyzing data peacefully.  The results from my data analysis are not inspiring me, but at least I’ve got some good tunes to keep me company.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Appropriate Weekend Activities

Flowers and Rocks

Tiny Flowers

Looking Up into the Tree

Weekend Warrior: Friday’s Late-night Walk, Saturday’s Bike Ride Commute, and Sunday’s Run (4/1-4/3/11)

There’s so much green in these photos!  I love it.  We’re trying to get spring going in Texas, and it sure looks like spring, but we keep having cold snaps.  I’m just not sure we’re there yet.  For example, today I am wearing a warm pink sweater because it was only 40-something degrees out there this morning.  Yesterday I wore a skirt and short sleeves, and I was freezing all day.  Thank goodness I’m from the North and have an abundance of cozy sweaters for times like this.

My weekend was lovely and slow, which is just the way I like it.  On Friday, after lounging for a decadently long time on the couch, I ate dinner and went for a late-night walk.  I like the after-dinner walk, but sometimes I walk too fast and I forget that I’m full of food.  It’s better to take a slow stroll after dinner rather than a power walk.  I tell you this so that I might spare you the unnecessary cramps.  It’s just like swimming: you’ve got to take it easy after you eat!

Saturday was a little busy, but it was all good: I rode my bike to the lab to get some work done.  Then I rode to the hippie food store for good eats.  By the time I was done shopping, I was starving, so I went home and ate.  The rest of my day was devoted to appropriate weekend activities: a long chat on the phone with my Austin tour guide, more grocery shopping, cooking, and watching a movie.  It was a full day!

On Sunday, I finally got my feet into sneakers and out the door for a run.  I haven’t been running much, as you may have noticed, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss it.  I think when you do a lot of sporty things, it can be hard to give each of them the attention they deserve.  Lately, yoga and biking have been my sporty fun things for two reasons: yoga for my 40 Days of Yoga project and biking because I love to bike to work.  It’s so much better than the bus!  But to my mind, Sundays were made for running, so that’s what I did: my favorite running loop, with 20 minutes of running and another 20 minutes or so of walking to finish the loop.  I definitely did not push myself at all here—I was just looking for an easy run to remind myself that yes, I am a runner.  Maybe this week I’ll get another run under my feet before the weekend.

Happy week to you, loyal reader!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Yoga Drop-out?

Sunday Self-Portrait

Yoga Update (3/28-4/2/11)

I’m not sure what to think of this yoga project right now.  Last week, I skipped yoga three times!  I have no excuses, other than that I just didn’t feel like it.  I noticed that I rode my bike on the days when I skipped yoga, which is funny because I’ve never thought of bike-riding and yoga as mutually exclusive activities.  It seems like my pattern here is reiterating something I learned in college when we had two cross-country practices in one day: I really don’t like being forced to work out twice in one day.  Once per day is fine with me, thank you very much.  I like to exercise, but I also like to lay on the couch, reading a book and not exercising.

Given these not-so-startling realizations, I think getting through the rest of my 40 Days of Yoga is going to be a little tough.  As of today, I’ve done 12 days of yoga in just under three weeks, which isn’t bad, but I’ve got 28 days to go.  And my Texas spring fever is going to make me itchy to spend my exercise time outside.  I don’t do yoga outside—I feel too self-conscious to do tree poses in front of my neighbors, who are already wondering about all the self-portraits I take on my patio.

The problem, I think, is that there is no real “goal” with this yoga project, other than to do some yoga every day for 40 days.  But what counts?  I decided what counts is getting on my mat or pajama yoga, which doesn’t require a mat.  The point is the ritual, the breathing and the stretching and the quiet time that yoga brings.  The point is NOT how much time I spend doing it, or how many wheel poses I do, or how long I hold warrior 2.  I spend enough time in my day trying to quantify things; I don’t need to do that during this project.

So with that said, I shall continue to pose my way through the next 28 days of yoga, even if it takes me longer than four weeks to complete it.  My goal here is to love the practice itself.  And love, unlike many other things, cannot be quantified.

My yoga week, in list form:

Monday (3/28): I feel motivated on Monday and spend my yoga time with Dave Farmar, doing his Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga #3.  Dave’s class is so awesome, and I am reminded of this every time I do it.

Tuesday (3/29): My rebellion begins and I skip yoga.  What do I do instead of yoga?  I ride my bike to and from work, and I celebrate a very good day at work by eating dinner and relaxing.  Despite the lack of yoga, it’s still a great day.

Wednesday (3/30): I make this day a DIY yoga day, late at night.

Thursday (3/31): I continue to rebel by skipping yoga, riding my bike, and drinking wine.  Or, as I like to say now, I practice Edith Wharton yoga, which consists of lying in bed while holding an Edith Wharton novel at eye level.  It’s a variation of savasana, you know.

Friday (4/1): I make a stunning realization: part of what’s bothering me about yoga this week is that every time I do yoga, I’m doing warrior poses.  Warrior poses are terrific, but they’re kinda hard on the hips.  So instead of warrior poses, I opt for downward dog, forward folds, shoulder stands, plow pose, and the best, savasana.  Ahhh…

Saturday (4/2): I skip yoga AGAIN!  While skipping yoga, I watch a racy movie, Dangerous Beauty, and contemplate a world where a woman has three choices about what to do with her life: she can be a nun, a wife, or a prostitute.  And in this world, marriages are arranged and wife = husband’s property and baby-making machine.  What would you choose?  And what if, in that world, the prostitutes are the ones with all the education, money, and power?  It boggles the mind.  I think I know which one I would choose…

Sunday (4/3): I decide to multi-task by running in the early afternoon and doing yoga immediately afterward.  I usually stretch after I run, and this time, I unfurl my yoga mat and make my stretching more of a yoga session, trying to focus on my breath and holding the poses longer than I might if I were just “stretching.”  My run and my yoga session are great, leaving me free to enjoy that glowy post-work-out feeling.

And now, speaking of yoga, I’m off to do today’s yoga practice.  Namaste, sweet readers!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Then I Had a Glass of Wine and Made Everything Better

Wine and Water

Wine with Dinner

Not Bad Luck

Thursday’s Bike Ride Commute and General Restlessness (3/31/11)

Wine!  It’ll cure what ails ya, at least if what ails you is a restless impatience for something exciting.

I’m not in the habit of drinking wine too often, but sometimes it really hits the spot.  Pouring myself a glass of wine feels like such a grown-up thing to do.  I don’t really feel like I’m 29, but occasionally I’ll have moments that remind me just how much freedom I have now because I am a grown-up, with a grown-up job and grown-up responsibilities.  And I can choose to relax in grown-up ways, like fishing a bottle of wine out of the fridge and pouring myself a glass.  I was feeling restless and fidgety in an uncomfortable way, so the wine was, in a sense, a form of self-medication.  I had just one glass, but it did make me a little tipsy.  Fortunately, I had no big plans for the evening, so tipsy was okay.  In fact, tipsy was nice and relaxing.  It makes me think I should drink more often!

On Thursday, before that glass of wine, I rode my bike to and from work.  I don’t really remember Thursday, which tells me it was a pretty ordinary day.  I’m kind of tired of ordinary days and feel ready for something out of the ordinary to happen.  Next weekend’s plans ought to do the job: a road trip to Austin with a good friend, meeting up with more good friends in Austin, and some big-city fun with all these good friends!  Actually, I’m not sure we’re doing much in the way of urban fun.  We’ve talked about going for walks and looking at flowers, which sounds a lot like my life in College Station.  But we are going out for a terrific dinner on Saturday night, and we must, simply MUST, visit the flagship Whole Foods store in Austin.  I booked our hotel room this morning, and I’m feeling ready to hit the road.

Austin, get ready.  We’re coming, and we’re going to be hungry.  Don’t forget the wine.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Seattle Kind of Day

Grey Skies on Campus

Academic Building with Grey Sky

Bike Under Tree

Tuesday’s Bike Ride Commute (3/29/11)

Tuesday was a cool, misty, drizzly day here, which was in stark contrast to our usual bright sunshine and delightful warmth.  To be honest, I’m missing the springtime that I expect in Texas—the heat, the sun, the bare legs and iced coffees.  I hear that the weather this weekend will meet my expectations, to which I can only say: It’s about time!  I didn’t move to Texas for drizzle.

But there is something rather charming about the days in Texas that are more like the Pacific Northwest, or at least the way I imagine it to be.  I’ve never been to that part of the country, though it is at the top of my list of faraway places to visit.  I am hoping that it will happen in 2012—2011’s travel plans have been made—but we shall see!  It’s a big trip to get there from Texas, which means it will be an expensive vacation, which is part of the reason it is not happening in 2011.  Plus I’ve only been in Texas for about a year and a half, and I have yet to see any of the cities here.  And by “see,” I mean more than “fly out of airport on the way to the North.”

Despite Tuesday’s drizzle, it wasn’t too cold, so it made for a reasonably pleasant bike commute.  It was a big day for me at work, and it went swimmingly, so I came home feeling like a million bucks.  The only downside was that Tuesday’s success made the rest of the week seem kind of drab by comparison.  After all the excitement, it’s back to the normal pace of things, which is fine, I suppose, but it’s left me feeling restless.  But!  There’s always a but, right?  Next weekend, my friend and I are taking a little overnight trip to Austin, and I can’t wait.  I am happy to have something unusual and fun to look forward to.  I’m so happy, in fact, that I’ll let that last sentence end with a preposition because nobody says, “It is something to which I am looking forward!”  Though the trip is something to which I am looking forward.  (Nerd!)