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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sick = Tea

Well... we all knew this would happen at some point. I have a bad sore throat and I'm definitely coming down with a cold, which if it gets much worse, puts a crimp in my 'practice every day' goal. I'm going to do a gentle 30 minute practice tonight and go to bed early so I don't get sicker, but in the meantime I needed something hot and delicious to get me through the last stretch of homework (p.s. is it just me or does anyone else really not want to do any work once it's dark outside? kind of problem in the winter in Minnesota...).

The moment I felt a cold coming on, I started craving this amazing honey and ginger tea I had in India... unfortunately I had no idea how to make it. Fortunately... Google machine to the rescue!!! I found this recipe on and downsized it a bit for a smaller serving. The recipe on the website doesn't have any actual tea in it, but I was pretty sure what I drank in India did have tea in it, so I added a bag of (decaf) Darjeeling for good measure.

Ginger Tea with Lemon and Honey

1. Start boiling some water.

2. Grate a 1/2 inch piece of ginger root (he says to put the ginger at the bottom of a thermos, I just put mine into a tea-ball. Alternatively, you could probably chop off a couple slices of ginger and just let them hang out at the bottom of your tea cup while you drink it)

3. Squeeze some lemon juice into the bottom of your mug (maybe 1/2 -1tsp? I didn't measure, sorry, I'm lazy)
4. Add honey to the mug...and I mean... ADD SOME HONEY. Use a ton. At least a tablespoon. You might think I'm exaggerating but have I ever mislead you? Especially when it comes to using ridiculous amounts of sugary substance? I thought not.

5. When the water is done boiling, pour the water over the lemon juice and honey, add the ginger-ball (that sounds so weird) and tea bag (if you want) and steep for a few minutes. Add the tea bag later if you don't want your tea quite so strong.

6. Remove ... wow I can't even say those two things together. But there it is. Keeping it real here folks...real, and also very mature. Hem. Remove the items that are steeping.

7. Drink the tea. Feel better.

"There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea"
- Bernard-Paul Heroux

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yoga Pet Peeves

Normally I'm not a ranter... OK that's totally false I love a good rant... but anyways, Monday night Yoga class was like all of my yoga studio pet peeves in one place.

1) There are only two bathroom stalls in the locker room. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what they're there for. I get that some people are really shy about being seen without clothes on, but please when the locker room is packed and people are going to and from class, just suck it up and change in the changing area, because I really have to pee and my class starts in 1 minute. Seriously... everyone else is changing out in the open. You can too. I promise no one will judge you.

2) Dear couple in back of me - you're in love. I get that. I'm in love too, it's fantastic... but please for the love of god keep the PDA out of the yoga studio. It's super distracting when I'm just trying to stretch out my legs in down dog to have to see you behind me, making out and invading each other's mat space. I assume you have other places to go where you can be all over each other.... so save it for later kthx.

3) If you are so sick that when you breathe it sounds like you are dying, do not come to class. This one should be pretty self explainatory. I don't want to get sick because of you.

So I realized I haven't blogged about my 365 day yoga committment in a while... it's still going. One thing I've noticed is that my yoga mat has pretty much taken up permanent residence on my living room floor. Usually I go to class or practice by myself at home, but a couple of weeks ago, several friends and I went to a cabin for my friend Emily's bachelorette party. My friend Katie is also an avid yogi, so we both brought our mats... and luckily Katie had an extra, so we did an Ashtanga series with Emily, who was a yoga newbie! (Below - Emily, me and Katie enjoying some chocolate peanut butter cake)

School is going quite awesomely... this year is so much less stressful than last year! I'm really enjoying my classes (especially Corporate Strategy), and am loving my extracurricular leadership commitments, too. I'm especially excited for an event on non-profit marketing I'm planning for November.

Fall has definitely arrived in MN. I broke out the fall table runner and bought a little pumpkin that's hanging out on my kitchen table for decoration. Pictures forthcoming :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why I will never buy a Kindle

I really have difficulty walking into a bookstore without buying anything, or even walking by a bookstore without going inside, which is a problem when one of my favorite used book shops is about three blocks from me, and I often pass it on my way home from the bus stop.
I've always been a bookworm - some of my favorite memories growing up are of going to The Red Balloon and Wild Rumpus with my parents or my friend Ellen, usually walking out clutching one or two new paperbacks. When I got a new book, I would never dive into it right away - I always took the time to look at it, hold it, feel the weight of the never-turned pages. I would study the cover, run my hands over the spine, read the summary and reviews on the back of the book in intimate detail, wondering what the story would be like, if I would like the characters, if this would be my new favorite book.

I hadn't planned on buying anything this afternoon, but nevertheless ended up with a collection of Virginia Woolf short stories and a book of poems by Rumi (both used). With school starting, I've really enjoyed having books that I can read in short - yet complete - sections. Walking home, I felt the same rush of excitement I used to feel as a nine-year-old. I turned the volumes over, felt their covers, ruffled the pages with my thumb and inhaled the scent of ink and musty paper.

A new book is pure possibility. It could be anything, or it could be nothing of consequence - but I prefer to think that it will be everything. As I leaf through the worn pages, I wonder which passages I will underline, which quotes I will write down in my journal, which stories will leave me moved and inspired. I love the weight of books - I love the decorations on the spine, the yellow tinge that creeps onto the edges of the paper, I love being able to write notes in my own handwriting. Each book has its own soul - it feels different, it has a new and different story to tell.
Some days, I'm pretty sure I am still nine years old.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thought for the week...

At a Native American gathering in Arizona for the 1999 summer solstice, a Hopi Elder said: "There is a river flowing now, very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. they will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel that they are being torn apart, and suffer greatly. Know that the river has its destination. The elders say we must push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves, for the moment we do that, our spiritual growth comes to a halt... Gather yourselves; banish the word 'struggle' from your attitude and vocabulary... we are the ones we've been waiting for."
~ from Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison

This week, or if you feel like you are under too much pressure and don't know where to turn, just remember to relax and go where life takes you - we are already who we want to be.
Photo credit: "Canoe on Sepick River" by Chris Rainier, found at the Orange County Register Arts Blog

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why I Love Riding the Bus

One thing I DID actually look forward to when I was getting ready to go back to school this year was my early morning bus ride. Driving to work is fun and all, but there's something very soothing about sliding into a seat near the back of the bus, warm coffee thermos in my hand and good music on my ipod, just relaxing and looking out the window and not worrying about traffic. Plus, there's a wonderful consistency to the daily bus routine. I rush out of my building (always a couple of minutes later than I actually want to), and briskly walk the 3 blocks to the bus stop. If the school bus crosses Girard before I do, I know I'm a little behind. If the three dark-haired girls with glasses are still waiting there, I know I'm good. Similarly, if that one girl with short hair who always rides my bus is still there when I arrive, I know I'm good.

At the risk of sounding creepy, I love watching people as they get on the bus. I always wonder what their story is - are they a student too, or are they going off to work? Does that guy like his job, or is he dreading walking in to work? What class is that guy with the medical textbook cramming for from that book and why didn't he study before he got on the bus?

Earlier this week, my marketing professor from last year got on my bus and sat two rows in front of me. He was actually one of my favorite professors, but in class he comes off as a total elitist and chauvanist which ticked a lot of people off to the point where they picked fights with him which was NOT a good choice. Late last year, a couple of friends and I had dinner with him and his wife Theresa. We were all pretty surprised to find out that she is pretty sassy, can obviously hold her own against anyone, and that they met when she busted him for trying to sneak into the college caf using someone else's ID because he was broke and sleeping in the hallway of his dorm.

So when I saw him getting on the 16 just ouside of campus, wearing jeans and a baseball cap over his anchorman-coiffed white head of hair I just grinned and thought, of course you ride the bus. You have a red corvette facade with a public transit soul.

The bus brings out all kinds - distinguished professors, people who are totally crazy, and everything in between such as the good looking, put together dude in hospital scrubs who didn't stop singing along to Lil' Wayne on his ipod (uncensored) the entire way down Lyndale. It's a fun mixture of comforting routine and totally unpredictable. Kind of like life.

"It's good to have an end to journey towards, but it's the journey that matters, in the end." - Ursula K. LeGuin

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The beginning of the end

Today was my first day back at school. I'd done basically nothing to prepare for this, so at 10:30 last night I was scrambling around trying to get everything together... and wondering where the F is my bus pass, do I need notebooks, crap I don't have any pencils etc. It was only as I was running out the door this morning that I realized, this is my last "first day of school" ever. .. and I got some mixed feelings.
Even if I go back to take more classes, or for a PhD program (NOT likely...), it won't be the same feeling of returning to a close-knit group of people, many of whom you haven't seen since May, laughing and sharing stories and... yeah I geek out over new school supplies. I also have a cubby. And all my meals today were free because of student club meetings, and I got to go home at 3.

I should just say that grad school for me has not been all sunshine and flowers... last year, I was actually pretty miserable. I suddenly felt like everyone around me had it together, and I had no idea who I was or what I wanted. I felt like a complete failure in a multitude of ways, and, by late spring semester, no matter how optimistic I forced myself to be when I walked out the door in the morning, I was totally freaking out by about 1pm.

Yoga was honestly pretty much the only thing that kept me sane last year. It gave me an excuse to spend an hour, a few times a week, to shut my mind off from everything that was weighing me down. Pada 1, 1.2 of Pantjali's Yoga Sturas is: Yogas chitta vritti nirodha, or roughly translated, "Yoga is the restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff". This basically means that when our misperceptions of what is going on around us create a false understanding of ourselves and drive us bananas, yoga can help us focus and redirect our thoughts, freeing us from the patterns of perception that obscure the true nature of life and self.

It's easy, when a thousand different pressures are pulling you in all directions, to lose sight of who you are and what you really want out of life. We forget what is truly important to us, because of what others tell us should be important... but sometimes you have to just say, screw it. Do I want to study another hour for my managerial accounting final, or do I want to spend this time drinking wine and cooking with Ben? In 10 years, which one will I actually remember?

Ben's friend Neeraj told him you should plan your life by thinking about where you want to be in your last days, and what you want to remember when you look back. I want to remember taking advantage of new possibilities, and cherishing time with the people I love, and so I will invest time in those relationships and in myself and my own happiness - and if I didn't get the perfect MBA internship I thought I wanted, who cares? If I could give this year's first-year students one piece of advice, it would be this: figure out what YOU want...and don't freak out. Don't spend all of your time, effort and mental energy going after something that isn't really you, just because you feel like you SHOULD want that... if you are true to yourself, everything will work out for the best.

On another note, tonight I have a 5:30 yoga class followed by my homemade meal of the day: salad with avocado, pineapple, and my favorite homemade dressing... it's delicious.
Salad dressing recipe (provided by my cousin Alisha):
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup red or white wine vinegar
2 tbs poppyseeds
1-2 tsp dry mustard (sorry... i can't remember if it's 1 or 2! Just do it to taste...)
1 cup olive oil
Put them all together in a bowl and whisk until combined. The original salad recipe called for avocado, olives and strawberries as toppings for the greens, but I just use whatever I have on hand. Enjoy :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

To Creepy Dudes Everywhere

Dear creepy dudes,
From women everywhere - please stop being creepy. I know you think you are paying us a compliment when you yell from the window of you old child-molester-looking car in the parking lot at Rainbow and say "Hey, thank you! Thanks for bringing those legs with you to the store today!" ... but really you are just making us feel violated and like we never want to leave the house in gym shorts again ever.

I'm sure you think that when you see us reading a textbook on the beach, it would be a nice gesture to call out "Wow - beauty AND brains...that's VERY attractive," thinking that we will feel more beautiful and also think that you truly appreciate us as human beings... but you are wrong. Let me outline very clearly for you the huge gaping hole that exists between your expectations and reality:
EXPECTATION: (what we will say) "Oh wow! I am reading a book so I am probably a nerd and also insecure, and therefore am now a melting puddle of goo at your feet because you paid me a compliment. Not only do you think I am beautiful (who me??) but you also appreciate my intelligence and so you obviously have a deep and meaningful understanding of me as a person. You also ride a bike so you must be very cool and athletic. Let's do it under a tree RIGHT NOW."
REALITY: (what we are thinking) "Ummm...seriously? You honestly think anyone with have a shred of self-respect will buy this? Just walk away, stop staring at me and waiting for this conversation to continue (because it isn't going to) and leave me to my gazillion pages of reading I have to do for Monday. Oh and also, the bike and spandex shorts aren't fooling anyone. You obvioulsy want the ladies such as myself to think that you are athletic and outdoorsy; however, your paunch indicates that you either a) don't ride that bike very often or b) eat about 10 donuts after you do. Run along now. And stop being a creeper."

So creepy dudes, with your biker ponytails and cutoff t-shirts - please just do us all a favor and don't talk ever. Thanks!

Love, the women of the world
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