Friday, 30 November 2012

Hong Kong to Sydney

Hong Kong airport is by far my favorite of all the airports I've been to (Narita, Japan is a close second).

Free wifi, big seats in waiting areas, lots of charging stations, excellent food court! 

Walking through the airport while using Facetime with family (excellent wifi coverage) just made Hong Kong all the more awesome.

I also did some stretching :)

By the time we got to Sydney, it was nearly 10 at night. 

It was such a relief to be greeted by a familiar face, my friend Minnie. I hadn't seen her in about 5 years, so it was a big reunion for us. 

She was letting us crash until our backpacker's holiday really began. 

Oh, and crash we did. 

I woke up really early, around 5 AM, and got to work. 

I did my practice, including drop backs, and felt strong and ready for the day. 

Coming back to a home practice, the quietude, the concentration and determination, was such a revelation to me after being committed to Mysore for the past few months. My practice has grown in ways I was not aware of. 

I'm not necessarily more flexible, stronger, or really any different physically. But I hold myself more accountable to the sequence, more accountable to the nature of the practice, the meditation. It's easier to slide into it, and when I'm interrupted, I'm eager to return. 

Very cool to me. 

Anyway, the day passed quickly. After getting mobile numbers and bank accounts, Minnie took us for an excellent coffee and cake.

I made a humble vegetarian dinner for us.

Chick pea and eggplant curry with green beans baked with celery salt. 

Not my best work, but decent! More on Sydney soon! 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Leaving Toronto

I'm exhausted! We've been in Sydney less than 24 hours, but it's been a lot of fun so far. Here's what you missed:

Leaving Toronto was hard and sad.

Our roommate, Angela, got me the best chocolate fudge cake. I packed a box to bring onto the airplane in case vegetarian food sucked (which, btw, it didn't. IT WAS AWESOMESAUCE).

Then, we packed up our stuff into the cars, including the humans (but not the dogs).

At the airport, we met a few of my favorite people.

The one taking the picture, middle left, brought me a box of cupcakes from my favorite cupcake place in the city (and probably the best one, too).

This dude also showed up. He's been a good friend since junior high school, so it was awesome to see him and share this #Asianstakingpicturesoffood moment with him.

After a little mix-up with the visa and a 30-45 min wait (my double names, English and Chinese, always messes things up), we boarded the plane.

I popped Gravol and fell asleep, leaving Steven alone with his 3 movies, 2 tv shows or whatever it is he did during that time...

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Safely in Hong Kong

Not much to report.

We landed into the Hong Kong International Airport (might be my favorite airport ever) just an hour ago. I'm having a coffee now and reading my favorite blogs.

As for the first 14-hr-leg of our journey, I popped Gravol and slept through most of the flight.

Being a vegetarian is awesome. I get served my food first, and I always get a great selection. For instance, I had pancakes this morning. WAHAHAH! Veggie FTW.

I'll probably pop another Gravol before the next flight so that I can pass out again. It's another 8 hours before Sydney.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

How to keep from freezing on a run

This is one of my last runs before a year abroad in Australia. 

So I took the time to really enjoy the dots of frost on the grass.

And then I offended all the Fashion Gods with my running outfit.

Leg warmers, warm tights, long sleeved shirt, running pullover, down vest, hat! + Vibrams and gloves, and we're done.

I ran REALLY fast to keep from freezing. The Garmin said I did a 6:15min/km average, with my fastest pace being something like 6:09.

I was really cold.

16:06 min
2.58 km / 1.60 miles
6:15 min/km
189 calories

By the end of the run, I had a single triumphant drop of sweat drip off my nose.

I sat around after my run trying to get the feeling back into my toes.

The dogs refused to sit on my stinky feet. They decided to fight each other instead.

All-in-all, a successful run. I didn't feel loose in my legs until 8 minutes in, and by then my feet were numb.

Hey Vibrams, can you make something for winter running?

Please and thank you.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Run: Blurry Garmin Photos

I did it. I ran.

And it felt GOOD!

In order to keep all the gains I've had recently in Ashtanga (not only bound Mary D, but friggin' half lotus twice on my bum knee!) I had several goals this run.

1) Play with Jen's Garmin:

I put it by the door, which must be made out of lead because it couldn't find a satellite for a good 15 mins. So, I moved it next to the window in the living room, and it got it in 2 minutes.

Keeping track of the distance I'd already covered made it easy to...

2) Stay under 1 mile:

Sorry for messing with your eyes.

Here's what it says:

Time: 8:22:7
Distance: 1.34 km or 0.83 miles
Pace: 6:15 min/km or 10:03 min/mile
Calories: 98

Just as I got home, I started to feel less hyperventilate-y and my legs felt like they finally found a pace. It sucks that I have to keep my runs under 1 mile because 1 mile feels like a warm up. I really hope that working up my mileage slowly will allow me to keep my flexibility in my hips, and pain out of my knees.

Staying under 4 miles a week will be worth it in the long run when I'm both a superstar runner and a rockstar Ashtangi.

Patience and determination.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Teaching my last Ashtanga class

It's my last week here in the T dot O dot. So, it's a week full of last classes and sad goodbyes!

Last night was my final night teaching my beloved Ashtanga level 1-2 led primary this year.

Among the people I'll leave behind is this great guy over here.

Nobody else would let me take their picture (not true, I just didn't have time), but basically everyone who showed up last night (including you!) will be missed so, so, SO much.

Corner guy also got me this:

"An apple for the teacher," he said.

There are no words for how awesome this is. Especially since I own this:

Yes, I wear this in public and IT IS AWESOME.

OK, I don't always dress like an 11-year-old child. Especially since dating this guy, and all the gifts he gets me, I've become quite well dressed! See?

Anyway, the point of this post is that I will miss teaching Ashtanga. A lot. And that coming back to see my friends will be fantastic. I can't wait to see how much, in a year's time, they would have progressed along in the series, and in their lives!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Aaand, No, I shouldn't run

After my post this morning, I went off to Ashtanga, did my practice all the way to my last pose, Garbha Pindasana, which has been my last pose FOREVER.

David Robson looked at me and asked, "Do you still run?"

I'm pretty sure I never told him that I started running.

I nodded. It's been about 2 1/2 weeks since the last time I technically ran, but I've done lots of walking since. (Yes, walking up and down hills until you break a sweat still counts! Especially when you do it for 45+ mins and your hips are sore the day after.)

After backbends, he pressed on my back and said, "You're at an edge. You have to choose whether or not to give up what's tightening your hips, and choose something less stressful for your legs."

"So it's the running that's the problem?"

"Yes. You start opening the hips one day, and the next day they tighten back up again," he explained.

So it's confirmed. What I've guessed for weeks now, since I've upped my mileage to 10K+ a week.

Running makes Ashtanga hurt, hard, impossible.

For my hips at least, especially with my bum knee. (friggin half-lotus impossibleness)

I'm bummed. So I took a longing-for-the-outdoors picture with the Two-Bum.

Monday, 19 November 2012

I want to run

This happened yesterday.

Oh, you don't recognize this? 

This is an over-walked dog. 

With 3 active women living in my house, and a beautiful day outside, all 3 of us took the dogs on 1-2 separate walks/runs. 

That's too much for a 11-pound fur baby? 

Yes, yes it is.

In other news, I'm getting fat. I didn't post a picture or video of my belly roll talking to you, so you're welcome.

I forget that when I'm not running, I can't eat like I still am.

So in a logical twist that makes perfect sense, I've decided to run again. I'll keep my mileage down to less than 5 miles a week, and hopefully lose my fat and still keep my Ashtanga gains.

Stay tuned!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Pizza night and the Mysore morning after

This morning, I woke up groggy and tired. I didn't want to sleep any more, but nothing in my body wanted to bend, stretch or push either.

I'm ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN this feeling had nothing to do with the activities of the previous night.


Spinach, red onions, roasted eggplant, mush-a-rooms, cherry tomatoes, peppers, tomato sauce (with about 8 cloves of garlic).

1) Crust
2) Toppings

3) Bake

4) Attempt to peel the cheese-glue off the tin foil and free the pizza!

5) Pizza cheers because you can't wait for the rest of the dinner party it smells so good! (Sorry about my face. Gawds...)

6) "Traffic was horrible!"

7) "Would Sandy notice if I stole her dogs?"

By 10 PM, us girls were glued to TLC's Breaking Amish while the boys held their heads in their hands and pretended not to fall asleep.

Understandably, the next morning was tough on my old creaky bones.

It took a great deal of determination to drag myself off to Mysore.

I made it to Ardha Padma Paschimottanasana and wanted to give up. Every jump back hurt. I felt nauseous, dizzy and tired. I wanted to give up.

I forced myself through to backbends.

I've been able to comfortably drop back (fall back, catch myself on my hands, Thanks, Gravity!) for a few days now.

But coming back up is another story failure.

I push.

I fall.



Repeat, repeat, repeat until my arms feel jello-y from catching myself.

Today was even worse. I was nearly ready to give up, so I sat up and watched the room around me.

A girl in the front row dropped back, pushed herself back up, and did it again. And again. And again.

Something clicked. Something about the way she pushed her legs down, something about the way her body floated up...

My favourite yoga teacher always says, "We learn by watching," and it was never more true than today.

I tried it again, and lifted up as high up as I've ever gone.

And fell back down.

I tried it again, and again, until I was frustrated and exhausted. I thought to myself, "No more falling back, GET ALL THE WAY UP."

And it worked.

So I did it again.

And again.

And by the time I was done, I forgot how tired I was when I came in. I couldn't even really comprehend that I had lifted up from a drop back all by myself.

I finished the closing sequence and lay down for rest.

Leaving the studio, Jill, the girl at front desk asked me, "Did you get up?"

"What do you mean?"

"From the backbends," she explained. "I was watching you. You lifted so high up, and fell back down. After a while I couldn't bear to watch anymore."

I laughed. "Yeah, I got up eventually."

She beamed. "Congratulations! That's huge!"

In a way, it is. My body achieved something it hadn't done before.

But facing that fear of falling back? Pushing through that fear and trusting in my instincts?

A surfboard and some waves taught me that years ago.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Gifts galore!

This month has been hard on the wallet.

It's not only a month of birthdays, but in a few weeks, Steven and I will be on an airplane to Australia for a year.

That's a long time.

That's a Christmas, a New Years, a whole year of birthdays and weddings and things we'll miss.

So I got my sister this:

She's already run with it a couple of times. She says the GPS is really, really slow to load, so she hasn't actually used the GPS function of it yet (WHICH WAS THE WHOLE POINT AGGHHHH GARMIN!!!)

I got Steven a bunch of stuff for his birthday yesterday.

It started with a travel pack: Visine, floss, lip balm, toilet seat covers, hand wipes.

Then, sunscreen for his delicate baby's bottom skin, and underwear.

Because all of that makes sense together. Right?

The piece de resistance:

A waterproof camera! 

Steven was surprised. When he first brought up the idea of a waterproof camera, I played it really cool.

Steven: I think a waterproof camera is a good idea! We'll be in and out of water, traveling, you know. It might be good to have a camera that can take the abuse.

Me: Nooo, it's too expensive. I have a waterproof casing for one of my film cameras. We can just use that.

Steven: But I'm sure we can find it for cheap on kijiji or something.

Me: Bad idea. Don't waste your money.

Steven got the most badass cake for his birthday ever.

Those cupcakes are glued onto the mini cake with frosting.

Whomever thought of this is genius.

In other news, Two-Two got a hair cut:

Big Brown Eyes.


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

My new favourite hobby

Forget running.

I'm taking up roller skating so I can be as rad as the old timers I saw a few nights ago:

The picture doesn't do justice to the rockin' rollers out there, jammin' to the tunes while spinning around on their skates, doing cross steps and hops. Simply put, kicking our young asses out of the park completely!

Although we didn't dance nor skate the part, we looked it!

The night before that, we decided to have a pizza party.

Steven and I got started first because we got hungry.

We made The Perfect Pizza on our first try. This mini 5-or-6-bite baby:

It had the perfect blend of cheeses, mushrooms, sauce, and garlic. The cornmeal at the bottom of the crust gave it such a beautiful, fresh crunch.

Unfortunately, we were never able to replicate perfection.

Pizza #2 in a cast iron:

For some reason, we messed up All Important Sauce-to-Cheese ratio and it didn't taste the same.

How do people do it?!

In doggie news, the new kid is enjoying our longer afternoon walks as much as the Two.

They plop down at my side upon coming home, all tired and cuddly.

However, Fu-Fu is a little disaster when he's feeling rebellious.

He got into the garbage one morning, and got a big a-scolding when I got home. He's done this 2 or 3 times now, and we're thinking he needs to be tied up when we leave the house in the mornings.

How do you teach your dog not to get into the garbage?

Two-Two had never really messed with it. She is so sensitive to criticism that she stays by Fu's side while he's in time out, clearly ashamed of herself while Fu looks like he's the king of the world. Grr...

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Two dogs!

Look! We have another dog in the house!

This is what they look like after a good 45-min walk. After this picture was taken, they fell asleep.


Fu-Fu is the white prince sitting there. He is here for a month with his owner, Angela.

Two-Two was unnerved when she first met him, but now she's better. The more we walk together, the better we get along!


Big smiles.

It's so nice coming home to a puppy party.