Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Guilt v. Necessity

Have you ever felt guilty for taking a day off work just to recharge your batteries?

No? Just me?

I have always felt that way. Planning a week's vacation? Fine. But taking a random day off ? The pinnacle of guilt. I feel like I'm letting people down, that I'm not taking care of my responsibilities.

Which is absolute bullshit.

Oddly, this crazy work ethic has transferred to my yoga teacher training. I'm trying desperately to fit in my yoga classes by the end of the training, and I'm struggling. I was going to try and make a 9am class this morning and it never happened. I felt guilty about it. I felt like I wasn't keeping up my end of the bargain, that I was just making excuses for not going, and that yoga is about sacrifice and I wasn't taking this seriously.

Again, I say, bullshit.

The truth is, that Wednesday 9am class simply does not work for me. Yoga is not about sacrifice, it is about acceptance and compassion, for yourself and others. Yoga can bring up all kinds of emotions that should be dealt with, but if it becomes the cause of your anger and frustration then it is time to re-examine your motives. Yoga is Peace. Love. Joy. It is not spending two hours on a Wednesday morning grumbling and being in a bad mood and forcing yourself into asana simply because you think it is required. That is the last thing Yoga will require of you.

So, yeah. I decided to go outside and take a walk in the joyful beauty of a summer morning in Vermont. That, my friends, is Yoga.


Monday, July 29, 2013

The Sweet Relief of Doing Nothing

Yesterday was Sunday: my One Day Off. And I did nothing. Okay, so not entirely nothing; for some reason I woke up extremely early yesterday after a poor night's sleep. So I took advantage of it and went for a lovely walk. Then I came home and spent the rest of the day dozing and reading non-impressive books. Oh, and watched some Harry Potter on the TV.

That's it.

I briefly entertained the idea of going shopping, then I took stock of my finances and realized that while I get paid on Friday, rent and cable are due on Thursday. So, any shopping for cuteness needed to wait a week. And frankly, the idea of getting in my car and dealing with Sunday Shoppers filled me with anxiety. It was easier to take a nap.

I long ago stopped feeling guilty about taking a day to just STOP. Your body needs time to rest and do the things it needs to do to keep you in top form. Yes, sleep is its prime time to do this but it isn't the only time. There isn't a creature on this planet that goes constantly for 16 hours straight only to drop for eight hours and get up to start running again. And how many of us actually get eight hours?

The reality is that we were meant to slow down from time to time. To simply sit, let everything relax. To let things digest. To look around and see what we've been ignoring on our quest to Get Everything Done.

Everything will get done eventually, right? I could have filled my Sunday to the brink with stuff that "needed" to get done. But it's all still waiting for me today, isn't it? This morning, I woke up after a wonderful night's sleep with the sun shining in and a smile on my face. I felt good.

That alone is worth taking a day to simply doze.


Friday, July 26, 2013

No. Just... No.

After receiving yet another message on Online Dating Site asking if I was taking on new clients, I thought I might post some of the more interesting messages I've gotten over the past few months. What truly boggles my mind is that these people were convinced they were being witty, clever, intelligent and/or putting their best selves forward. I'm trying to reign back on my judgmental tendencies... but really? REALLY?

Are you looking for massage therapy clients? I'm an experienced client of 15+ years who hasn't found a good therapist out here yet, interested? 
     Because finding massage clients on a dating website is a safe and ethically sound 
     business model.

It looks like we have some things in common. Do you like to cuddle?
     Yes, I do. I'm fabulous at it.

Sorry for the crazy message. Apparently my ex had my email password and just flamed me all over the Internet. Many apologies.
     Makes me glad I never responded to the first message. 

hey sexy
     You know, this says more about your personality than any conversation could.

Are you good at trivia?
     Only if there is alcohol involved.

Do you happen to be into younger guys?
     No.

Read your profile. Got to the bottom of it. Saw I was ONE YEAR past your age limit... pity.
     Of course my age limit is non-negotiable. I'm very narrow minded like that. 

Hello there, first I love your smile on your profile picture… I bike a lot and I'm always looking for good massage therapist...
     Thank you... good for you... no.

Hi how are you doing my name is -- I would love to chat with u some time. U look beauifull in thoes pitchers plus u sound very intersting please wright back
     Thank u i inheretted those pitchers from my gramma

Your profile is very appealing to me. Plus we are 94 percent on match, 85 percent on friend and 5 percent on enemy. That [dating site] data seems to indicate that you should respond to my email.
     Well obviously we should just get married now.

Guys... NO. Please... no. A girl will either respond or she won't. If you can't find anything in her profile to comment on, then don't write a message. And if she's looking for clients, odds are you can't afford her. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

STOP! NOBODY MOVE!!!

Yesterday evening I lost my keys at work.

PANIC ATTACK.

While I'm based out of one particular building, my place of work is actually a sprawling complex. Not only do we do massage in our main building, we have a secondary spot across the lot. We've been using it a great deal lately because renovations have yet to be completed in our usual place (this week, please god this week. We're running 3 months behind. Please god this week).

I recently picked up some reception desk work to help our Massage Manager, who was trying to cover a 7 day a week/10 hours a day business all by herself. Yesterday I was wandering all over the complex, picking up payment slips and health history forms at our secondary location, and also trying to deposit a cash payment while also breaking a $5 because we didn't have enough change. Somewhere in my wanderings I put my keys down to talk to someone and didn't realize they stayed there until I went to go home.

.... and I couldn't go anywhere.

At first I thought they were locked in our secondary location, so I went to get a spare set of keys. It turns out that The Big Boss needed to do evening rounds so she graciously walked with me to the second space and helped me search for keys... that weren't there.

This is where I start going into secondary panic mode. It isn't enough that my keys are not where I thought they'd be; now the Head Honcho is standing right there as I'm trying desperately to put on a brave face and convince her that I am not the Idiot Champion of the World. I am sure that she's wondering why the hell she allowed my Manager to give me extra responsibility when I obviously could not handle it. I am a screw up. I do not deserve what I've been given.

So... yeah. She continues on her rounds and I start backtracking my steps and tearing up Main Building wondering if I put my keys down in a construction zone. Primary panic and secondary panic mode merge together to become Monster Panic. Which thankfully happens when no one is around. They aren't ANYWHERE. I am convinced that a coworker accidently brought them home with her an hour beforehand. While I'm searching for her phone number, I call the front desk in a last-ditch attempt to find them. I was there three times; they hadn't made any mention of finding my keys.

But sometimes you just don't ask the right questions. They were at the front desk; one of the guys thought they were someone else's keys and had placed them in his cubby. I think my exact words were "THANK YOU JESUS."

As I was in my car driving home, I started reflecting that all that I had learned re: breathing and non-attachment in yoga flew out the window when I couldn't find my keys. I mean, logically I knew they had to be somewhere in the complex; I'd gotten there, hadn't I? I hadn't left to go anywhere else. I probably could have prevented Monster Panic by simply stopping for a moment and taking a few deep breaths and a moment to reframe this spiraling event. It was going to resolve itself eventually. The idea of being stuck there, with no access to my home panicked me. I was locked out of my own life!

I am human. I get caught up in things. I forget other things. There is not a person in my place of work who has not, at some point in their life, gone through a similar key-related panic. It happens. I am not going to get fired because I forgot my keys while trying to be as thorough as possible in my job.

Honestly, the whole episode was a study in humor. Thankfully, 12 hours later I can appreciate that.

And also, today I'm stapling my keys to my forehead.

You're asking: "How could she possibly lose those keys with the Evil Death Flashlight
attached to them?" I found a way, people. I found a way.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Yoga Teacher Training Weekend

 In our June weekend, we were all about the Shadow, and thanks much for hanging out while I spent the ensuing 6 weeks waxing poetic about mine. This month, the focus was on Ayurveda. Which, frankly, is a whole hell of a lot more uplifting. We had a local expert come in and give us a talk (ironically enough the same person who ran the cleanse I did a couple years ago). We spent the rest of the weekend relating everything back to the three Doshas.

For those who just said "the three whaaaa?": Ayurveda is a complex medical system that works to treat the body and mind to ensure total health. It is still used in India today, and is believed to be older than even traditional chinese medicine. Where western medicine treats the symptoms, Ayurveda goes beyond that to treat the underlying cause. It uses food as medicine (along with other things such as breath work, yoga postures and lifestyle changes) to boost what needs boosting and calm what needs calming.

Ayurveda uses Doshas as a categorization method. They are based on 5 element theory. Every living thing is some combination of the three doshas and one in particular that is strongest. Vata is air + ether, Pitta is fire + water, and Kapha is earth + water. The subtleties of the doshas will show up in personality, physicality, emotions, actions, etc. Those trained in Ayurveda will find out which combination you were conceived to be (for example, Pitta dominate) and then figure out how you are out of balance now (too much Kapha). They'll then use a whole combination of treatments to get you back where you need to be.

It was an interesting weekend, and fun to relate the postures back to the doshas. For a while after my cleanse I thought pretty heavily about trying to maintain a diet better suited to my Vata/Pitta nature. Then I found out all my favorite foods were on the "nada" list for them and that pretty much halted my journey. Don't you be asking me to give up my tomatoes, onions and garlic. But lately my Kapha has been way out of whack and I need to work on getting that under control. Because coming one with the couch is good every once in a while. But not all the time.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sigh.

I feel like I am failing on some level, but I don't at what, or why.

I just feel like... I dunno. That this isn't right.

And if it isn't right, how do I fix it? Especially if I don't know what's wrong?

Sigh.

Ah well.

We'll see what we'll see as we see it. That's how it always seems to happen, isn't it?


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Garlique has a friend!


Isn't that sweet? Now Garlique doesn't have to spend her days alone, wistfully looking at the amazing garden my neighbors planted and yearning for the company only those with real green thumbs can bring.

I have no idea what it is, but I'm looking forward to finding out.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Re-arranging Thoughts

Yesterday afternoon I went to a Jivamukti yoga class. At the studio I attend (the same one where I'm training to be a yoga teacher) each month's Jivamukti classes are centered around a theme. This month's theme is letting go of negative thoughts. We started by chanting one of the verses from the Yoga Sutras (II.33):
vitarka bhadhane pratipaksa bhavanam
When you are disturbed by unwholesome negative thoughts or emotions, cultivate their opposites
Hopefully I got the spelling right. Anyway, this really hit home for me due to my negative spiraling and dwelling lately. Mostly the self-talk running through my brain right now is habit, a default setting it goes to when I am not otherwise occupied. I don't want to think these things; hell, I'm sick to death of thinking them! But still they remain.

Our instructor spoke of mantras we could use, either Sanskrit ones (Om, Shanti) or English ones ("I am Peace", "I am Love"), or even one of our own. I really like this concept, because one of the main reasons I'm still on this feedback loop of annoyingness is that I do nothing to interrupt it, give it no new information. Letting go is a great idea, but it implies that you need to hold on to something. If you don't give your brain something else to grasp, it's just going to keep holding on to the crap. Frankly, a constant stream of "I am Love" sounds a lot more appealing than "You'll never find love."

So, yeah... I'm going to start using this technique every time I find myself digging deeper into negativity. I heard somewhere that it takes at least 15 days to develop a new habit. I'll be happy if I can just replace the old one with something a little more uplifting.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fruit flies A-Go Go

I have been over-run with fruit flies. Which tends to happen when you eat a lot of fresh fruit and veggies and it gets super humid.

I got rid of their home yesterday (ie, I took out the trash), but now I have a whole bunch of homeless little bits flying aimlessly around and swarming me every time I wander into the kitchen to get something to drink.

Last year (or a couple years ago, whenever) my friend Marie told me this trick about putting some ketchup in a container and covering it with plastic wrap with some holes punched in it. They can get in, but not out. I don't keep plastic wrap in the house (I think it's a huge waste) but I *do* keep bags for re-use, so I came up with this:


There is ketchup in the bottom and holes punched in it. It's already working. This way, I can just take the whole bag and throw it out when it's done its job. Then these guys can have a family reunion with the ones in the dumpster.

Meanwhile, I'll be keeping the dishes cleancleanclean and when I buy fruit and veg it's going in the fridge (no bananas for me this week). Food scraps are going into a plastic bag in the freezer.

Hell, I'd rather have it be warm and deal with fruit flies than have it be 23 degrees with two feet of snow on the ground.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pthththpth

Yesterday I closed one of my two dating site accounts. I rarely ever checked it and it rarely got any movement. Ironically, it was a home-grown local type thing. All the same people are on the other site anyway, so whatevs.

God DAMN I live in a fish bowl.

I don't know why I haven't closed out the second account. It's not like it's doing me any good. Hope springs eternal, I suppose. I guess it makes me feel like I'm trying. Even though at this point I'd really rather meet someone in person. I keep trying to... I need to come up with better ideas than trying to meet guys at yoga classes, because I may be at my flexible best but I'm also all sweaty and humidity has frizzed my hair out to Annie-like proportions.

On the plus side, my 29 year old neighbor thinks I'm a hottie. That's something, right? Just call me Kitty McCougar. Rawrrr.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: The Reluctant Tarot Reader

I first learned about Raven Mardirosian in May 2013. My friend and I are unbirthday twins – separated by just two days (and a few years) – and in celebration we traveled to a wellness center for a day of salt caves, massage and ionic foot baths. While we were there, Raven came in to do her Sunday readings. It wasn’t part of the package, but hey it was my birthday and I wanted a tarot reading! I’m fascinated by tarot, and by default the lucky people through whom the cards speak. Though the reading was only 15 minutes or so, Raven got to the heart of everything I was worried about, everything I was confused about, and all the stuff I was afraid to say out loud… until she said it first.

The reading was one of the best tarot experiences I’ve ever had, and I consider it to be a healing experience. The Reluctant Tarot Reader: Adventures in the Gypsy Trade is the story of Raven Mardirosian’s exeunt from the “woo-woo closet”. Raised as a staunch Christian, this book explores her journey from a prayer warrior to a healer. How does one come to grips with the fact that everything you’ve turned out to be (healer, lesbian, intuitive, tarot reader) stands in direct violation of everything that you have been told is right, good, and true?

If you want to be true to yourself, you find a way… and it’s usually the hard way until you finally find the ease of Being. The Reluctant Tarot Reader is a poignant, witty, poetic and powerfully honest book. When she writes of ending relationships, you feel like you are in that car with her when she drives away. When she rails against person after person telling her who she is – you’re a healer, Raven – you feel the same frustration and fear from being told a Truth you just aren’t ready to believe.

Raven bares her being in this book of vignettes, each a story or poem taken from a moment or remembrance. I gulped this book down in a few short days; but it is one that can be read again and again. Each vignette offers depth and a new way of looking at things. Each reading will change what jumps out at you. You will find yourself in her struggles. And in the end, isn’t that what it is really all about? Knowing you aren’t alone?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Whole 4.5

Yeah... that's how many days I made with that experiment. Which is okay. I feel like I've definitely learned something valuable. I am just not cut out for the paleo lifestyle.

And that's okay.

Which is something I already pretty much knew but sometimes getting regular confirmation about these things is a good thing.

I haven't had bread since last Saturday though, and frankly I'm glad for it. I don't know how much longer I'll keep that up, but with the weather being so hot bread is just not interesting to me; it's too heavy. Frankly, so was all that animal protein. A had some beans on my salad yesterday instead of chicken and I felt so much the better for it.

So, basically yeah. This will be the last time I post about this because in my opinion, the experiment is over. I know without a doubt that this does not work for me. So the next time I feel like I'm eating too much bread, instead of jumping the fence and running to the extreme I'll just stop eating bread for a few days.

To which you probably are saying "Why didn't you just do that in the first place?"

To which I reply, "When have I ever done anything the easy way?"

Friday, July 5, 2013

Oh, The Water, She is A-Rising

This was my commute home from work yesterday (yes, I worked on the 4th):
Don't worry, I wasn't driving while I took this. I was stopped while a State Trooper was directing traffic through the water.

This is the view from my town's bridge this morning at around 9am:
Not over the banks, but...

We've got more thunderstorms in the forecast for today. And tomorrow. And the next day. And next week.

At some point this summer I would like to walk across my lawn and have my feet stay dry.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Body Image

So I'm sitting at my computer this morning with my cuppa, flipping through this and that while the TV is droning in the background. I'm not really paying attention to it, but as my laptop is permanently attached to the internet cable (what can I say, I thought I was getting wireless when I ordered it... silly me) I can see the screen in my periphery vision.

One of those ubiquitous weight loss commercial comes on:
After having three kids I was fat fat fat. I was unhealthy and miserable. I couldn't play with my kids. Small animals ran from me in terror and confusion. Everywhere I went people shunned me and threw stones. So I started taking this product. And in 3 months I went from a size 12 to a size 2. Look at me now! My husband can't keep his hands off me. Small woodland creatures rush to my side when I break into song. I've never been so popular! Look how happy I am now!
Okay, so that isn't typically the script they use, but you get the general idea. By taking this product, by doing these exercises, by eating this food you can drop your dream amount of weight and be a sexy size 2 with slim hips, perky breasts, and abs that just don't quit.

What they neglect to point out is that you can have all of those things... if you're genetically predisposed to them.

It is not surprising that so many people hop from weight loss fad to weight loss fad, never happy with the results. They don't lose the weight as fast as they want from the areas they want. Or maybe there is just too much sacrifice involved; let's face it, not everyone is going to thrive on a vegan/primal/raw/no-carb what-have-you diet. Some of us are genetically designed to handle dairy... some of us aren't. Some of us thrive on a nearly grain-less diet, but others find themselves running for the nearest baguette after a week of no grains.

We as a nation are so out of touch as to what our individual bodies need and what they actually look like when healthy that we can't find our way out of the dark. We're told we need milk for calcium, and that dairy is a big no-no. We're told breads and grains are the enemy and that gluten-free is the way to be, yet quinoa and Thai forbidden rice are the things to serve at your next dinner party. Meat clogs your arteries, and yet it's the best protein source out there. You shouldn't eat avocados and nuts because they're full of fat... but it's a good kind of fat so you can still eat them.

We're lied to by our own government about what is healthy, and even our doctors don't have a grasp on decent nutrition. Anyone with an internet connection can come up with and sell a weight loss regimen founded on "real science" (that they found on the internet, conducted and funded by lord knows who).

What we really need to do is start listening to our own bodies. We can all agree that fruits, veggies and minimally processed foods are generally a body's best bet. As for the rest - protein, grains, dairy, nuts, fats - experiment. What works for you? Vegan? Good for you. Does a diet that is mainly vegetarian with meat a few times a month work? Great! Do that. Do you need more meat and veg, less fruit and grains to thrive? Have at it.

And remember that at the end of it, you just want to be healthy. If you end up losing some weight that you needed to lose then great. But if you are not genetically pre-disposed to be 5'7", 125 pounds with slim hips, a flat tummy and perky boobs, then no amount of dieting or exercising is going to change that.

Be you. You're fabulous already. Why be anyone else?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Whole 14

Earlier this year, I embarked on an attempt to follow the Whole30 cleanse for 30 days. I made it 11 days before I petered out and bought what was probably the most delicious bread I had ever tasted in my life.

Lately, after several weeks of feeling like I was turning into a loaf of bread, I've decided to revisit this cleanse/whatever it is. However, I also decided to learn from my mistakes the first time around. So I'm doing it with a few modifications:

1. It's going to be Whole14, not Whole30. I know I can't make it a whole month, so instead of setting myself up for defeat, I'll set my self up for success. If I happen to get to day 15 and I want to continue with it, I'm free to. If I get to day 7 and I'm all frak this, it's okay too.

2. I am not following the "allowed" fruit and veg list. If it is a fruit or a veg, it's allowed.

3. I'm still using milk and sugar in my morning coffee. One of the perks from the last go 'round was that I actually started using LESS sugar in my coffee, and I've kept that habit up. I may or may not at some point switch to honey. In regards to the milk, it was already in my fridge and I didn't want it to go bad. When it's gone, if I'm still doing this I'll replace it with almond milk. I'm not going to do the recommended coconut milk in the coffee thing because NO. Just... no. That shite is nasty and life is too short to drink nasty things.

4. If I'm desperate crazy and the difference between making it to Day 14 and crapping out at Day 6 is a bowl of rice, I'm going to have a bowl of effing rice. This is more about the bread for me.

5. I'm going to rely more heavily on the mustard and less so on the mayo. 'Cause that's how I've always rolled. It's a healthy habit, and I'm not giving up a healthy habit just because half of America is addicted to mayonnaise.

So we'll see how things go. It's really more of an "inspired by" than a "to the letter" kind of experiment. I know some people thrive by following the program to the letter. Others start beating themselves up every time they had something "noncompliant" like ketchup. The first time around I was following it so close and was so determined to succeed that I didn't take into account what MY body needed. I am not gluten intolerant, I am not lactose intolerant. This program is really an elimination diet intended to clear your body of both of these things, so you can figure out what is causing your issues.

My issue is I eat too much bread.

Since I already know this, I hope tweaking the program a little to better suit my needs will help break this habit I seem to be having of eating all the bread in the world in one sitting. Let's face it, I'm a year away from 40 (gulp). It's highly likely that I'm going to have to start changing some of my eating habits if I want to continue to stay where I am weight-wise. Maybe this will help tweak some of my bad habits and create some new good ones.

Last Chance.

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