Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Pre-Memorial Day

I had to work yesterday and I have to work tomorrow which meant today was my Memorial Day. And this is how I spent it...

Victoria Bowden at Carrboro Yoga Company hosted a fabulous Flow Yoga class here in the Paper Lantern Room this morning. If you click on her link, you can actually witness me in action (that's me in the blue). She just happened to have a fellow student videoing the class in order to offer a snippet of how she works on her page of MYCYCOs website! Who knew I'd be just a little famous!

The Paper Lantern Room courtesy Carrboro Yoga Company

Next, I headed here. To The American Tobacco Trail. I love running along this tree lined trail.
It's soft, packed sand and is so peaceful. And the sounds just as beautiful as it looks. I especially like to run here when I have a "long" run to do. I can lose myself in my surroundings and pass the miles easier.

The American Tobacco Trail

The start of the trail is just off of the parking area. There's a pretty good hill leading down to mile marker 1.

Beginning of the trail

Of course, before starting out you'll want to make a pit stop. Being eco-friendly, think of these bathrooms as permanent porta-johns. Yep, no flushing and no running water to wash your hands. They want to conserve the environment. And, well, yes...those are "smoke" stacks, where the odors are supposed to escape. Overall, the concept works very well.
Environmentally friendly bathrooms
Inside the bathrooms are information sheets, explaining the benefit of waterless restroom facilities. I especially like the bullet informing us about the "sweet smelling toilets". Um, sorry but there is NO SUCH THING!!

Explanation of benefits

As I take off, this is my view as long as I looked up. My favorite thing about living in NC? The sky...the Carolina blue sky. It really does exist, people. And it's breathtaking, no matter how many times you see it.

The beauty along the trail

And this is what I see for miles and miles. I only wish I could embed the sounds along this breathtaking pathway. The birds and the frogs and the crickets and the kids and the bike tires along the sand and the other runners. All of this was here today although it doesn't look like it below. There were many periods of complete solitude along my way.

My view at mile marker 1

All good things must come to an end. And this is the end of my run. Back up the hill to where I started from.
A great hill to sprint if you've got anything left
Sometimes I even take time to smell the flowers...

I had a good day. I hope you did, too.
Happy Memorial Day blog buddies...Happy Memorial Day

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Guineas Are Coming! The Guineas Are Coming!

I've never considered myself a "city" girl even though I was born and raised in Northern Virginia, just 12 short miles from Washington, DC. I mean, we lived in the suburbs. We had beautiful trees and flowers and shrubs and narrow, two-lane roads and a yard to mow. But after moving to Bear Creek, NC...well, let's just say I may be a little more citified than I thought.

I have seen and experienced things here in the South that I never have before in my life. For example; breaded, deep-fried green beans. Really? Aren't the green things supposed to be the stuff that's good for us? Doesn't breading it and deep-frying it sort of defeat the purpose? And why oh why can't I get a pizza delivered to my house? And Internet service...don't even get me started on Internet service.

But I recently witnessed something that caused me to rub my eyes, squint, and take a closer look. I heard them first. I can't even describe the noise...sort of like a turkey with his waddle caught in a vice. And the shape...much like a plum poised atop a watermelon. Quite frankly people, this was the damnedest looking fowl I'd ever seen in my life! I even said out loud, "What the hell is that?"

Fortunately, my husband is a country boy - born and bred in Kentucky. He laughed and said, "those are guineas". Yeah, that immediately cleared things up for me. My response? "What the hell is a guinea, where'd they come from and why are they in MY yard?"

Apparently, our closest neighbor is the proud owner of these ground fowl. And apparently they wander, looking to gobble up insects that live on the ground or fly just at knee level (my knee level, not the guineas). Evidently, they are great at keeping the tick count down and having mosquitoes for dessert - both of which I'm more than okay with!

But why must they be so odd looking? Of course, they could be thinking the same thing about me, huh?

The thing that cracks me up the most...when I start the riding mower, it's only a matter of minutes before I am surrounded by these barnyard fowl. You'd think I'd just opened a flavorful packet of breaded, deep-fried ticks.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A New Man In My Life

For some time now, I've felt out of control of my life. Floundering. Not living the plan I made for myself so long ago.

My family has been surrounded by sickness and death. The economy has devastated many of my loved ones. And for the last 9 months, my husband and I have had to communicate via text messaging and notes left on the kitchen counter because he works the 12 hour night shift and I work the 12 hour day shift.

While I can't control much of what is happening around me, I decided that I can work on how I deal with these obstacles. I've always tried to take good care of myself physically but never paid much attention to the overall well-being of my mental health.

In a recent conversation with my daughter, I was complaining to her how frustrated I was with the fact that I was running an average of 15 miles per week yet my body wasn't changing at all; the shape or the weight. She brilliantly said, "Mom, your body is used to doing what you've been asking it to do for so long now. You've got to give it a shock. Ask it to do something different." I thought about this profound statement and wondered what could I do to elongate my muscles and stretch out my soreness...

About four weeks ago, I started attending yoga classes on a regular basis. Since then, I have lost 10.5 pounds and over an inch off my hips. And while I'm ecstatic about those results, what's made me even more happy is the calmness this practice brings me.

For an hour and fifteen minutes a few times a week, I am at complete peace. My mind is free of worry and concern and heartbreak and sadness and critical thinking of my own body (my hips are too wide, my hair is too dry, my nose is too big, my arms are too long...). For those 75 glorious minutes, I am okay. I am quiet. I am satisfied.

Last Thursday night, on a whim, I went to a class that I was sure going to help me unwind from another hectic day. I double checked the schedule I had here at the house and noted the instructor, a female, was one I had not had before. When I arrived at the facility and walked into the Paper Lantern Room, I met Blake. Far from the female instructor listed on my schedule. Immediately I had reservations. Not sure why...not at ALL sure why.

Blake's class was one of the best I've ever taken. His deep, monotoned voice was music to my ears, which had heard nothing but the beeping of IVs and the moaning of people in pain all day. He was strong, forceful in his teaching. He would get us in a position and then read to us - READ TO US, people. He read the resounding words from a yogi expert I am clueless about but am now grateful to. He read to us about love, about loving ourselves and our earth and one another. He brought me solitude and comfort that evening. And he helped us to understand that we had the power within ourselves to go to a peaceful place whenever we needed to - i.e. when we're surrounded by death and sadness and feeling out of control of our lives.

It's my desire to continue to practice yoga. And while it started out for me as a way to change my body - which is has, does and will - it's become a way for me to change my mind. Not necessarily the way I think of things, but how I use it. It has the power to take me to my grounded place.

And while my schedule won't always allow me to attend every class Blake teaches, I plan on spending as many evenings with him as I can.

All the Paper Lantern Room needs now is a bistro table and a bottle of Pinot Grigio.

Namaste, Blake. Namaste.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cause That's How She Rolls

Sweetie Big Girl

No, really. That's how she rolls...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mission Accomplished

You remember the "before" shot, right? Why there was a portal window in a century-old farmhouse is the million dollar question. This eyesore couldn't be removed fast enough for me.

So after a prayer or two to the rain gods, Contractor Dad got to work. I was at work that particular day so I missed all of the grunt work and real mess. But I did make it home in time to find the new little window in and CD painstakingly replacing siding and tacking up trim.

His attention to detail is remarkable...and frustrating at times. Like when I want the project to be over!

But it all pays off and is more than worth it. Look how pretty! He even made a deep window sill so I have a place to sit something pretty (like a cat...who won't keep her face out of the window screen).
And after a few coats of bright white paint...VOILA! A much more time-suited, attractive window! I love it!

Now, to dress it or not? It's high enough off the ground that you can't see in from the outside so curtains/sheers/mini blinds aren't really necessary. But I think it needs a little something, huh?
I'm open to suggestions blog buddies.