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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

In my kitchen, lately

Today I joined the frequent buyer club for a children's bookstore.  At age 29...for the purpose of buying books for...myself.  Thankfully I have a husband who loves me because I thought it would be a fun idea to re-read Madeline L'engle's Time Quintet, rather than in spite of it.  I am so damn lucky.

My book nerdiness has nothing to do with the rest of this blog.  I should tell you right up front that this entry is basically a bunch of food porn followed by a picture of my cat.  If you hate food and cats you might want to stop reading now.


If you're still here it means you probably like food and cats.  Good for you! 
Despite appearances, I have actually been cooking recently.  There was a good period of um, several weeks after we moved where I pretty much subsited on eggs and toast, yogurt, and baked sweet potatoes with hummus.  Really anything you can cook in less than ten minutes was my bread and butter.

Finally last week I said screw that and broke out the Tagine my mother in law gave me for my birthday to make a spicy chicken tagine with apricots, rosemary and ginger.  The sweet potato and egg rut was officially broken.  Here's a little glimpse into what's been going on in my kitchen lately:
Mine did not look this pretty...

Turkish apricots and tomatoes - an unlikely, but tasty, combination

Eating on the porch...with wine ;)

I found these little siggi's bottles at Whole Foods last week - how cute!

The magic that is collard wraps and watermelon on a hot day

Collard wraps courtesy of Vegetarian Times website

 On Monday morning, I got up early and drove over to Minneapolis for a run around Lake Calhoun.  Sometimes I miss being so close to the lake, but it's really just a short drive and it is one of my favorite places to run.

After my run I checked the yoga schedule just to see what was going on, and saw that a class with one of my favorite teachers at the Uptown was starting in 20 minutes!  The fact that I had just run 3.5 miles was not going to stop me from...taking a 60 minute hot yoga class.  It was delightful. 

Chocloate Hazelnut Oat Bar - inhaled on my way home from yoga
Yes, I finally figured out how to use Instagram.  You may now applaud.

Unsurprisingly, the oat bar did not fill the void of hunger left by running + sweaty yoga.  Once I was showered and presentable, Ben and I zoomed over to Target Field for the Twins game, where I promptly inhaled a cuban sandwich and several forkfuls of Ben's buffalo mac and cheese.
Somehow, I even found time to get my bake on, and threw together a strawberry cake adapted from Eat, Live, Run (I basically just halved the recipe and put it in an 8x8 pan, and used coconut milk instead of regular milk for the cake portion because it was what I had on hand).  The original recipe comes from Back in the Day Bakery, one of my favorite places from my trip to Savannah.  Delicious!

And just because we all know who the real star of this blog is...

That's right.

Also, new car decision has been made... tomorrow I'm picking up my brand spaking new Honda Accord!  So excited...and also sad to say goodbye to my little VW :(  More on that later, hope you're all having a lovely week!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

There is no spoon

In January 2011, I walked into the first weekend of the Anusara Immersion with an open heart and absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.  Until October of that same year I had never even heard of Anusara Yoga, and my decision to sign up for the immersion was pretty much based on "100 hours of yoga, that sounds fun LET'S DO IT UP" rather than any understanding of what I was embarking on.  I was a poor grad student - I didn't really have $1500, but somehow I found it.  There were so many finals and projects - I didn't really have time to spend entire weekends immersed in the Tattvas, inner spiral, and discussions of the Gita but somehow I found it.

I walked out of the immersion a different person. I can't adequately express in words the shifts that took place in me over the course of those six months, so I won't even try.  Above all, the most amazing gift I received from the Anusara Immersion was the community and the amazing people I met.  We laughed together, we cried together, we balanced upside down together, and when we came out the other side we were changed, and we were a family.

This week my teacher resigned her Anusara license.  If you've followed yoga news at all you're probably aware of all the shenanigans that have gone down with John Friend and Anusara Yoga since February.  If not, check out the Elephant Journal archives or any number of blogs, I won't get into the gory details here.

I've been grieving on-and-off for Anusara for the last few months - for the slow falling apart of the community, and for the pain I was sure my teachers were going through.  But at the same time, we still practiced the UPAs, and we still sang the invocation before every class which made it easier to stay in denial.

It's hard not to feel like now, Anusara is really gone.  For some reason, the invocation has been the hardest piece to let go of.  I guess that as a musician, this shouldn't surprise me but after a long stressful day at work, singing those four simple lines I felt like my heart was coming home.

For me, that chant will always be love, possibility, and memories of some of the best six months I can remember.  It's the music that tied us together.  For my teachers, that chant has totally different and complex associations.  It's like this one picture - we're looking at the same thing, but to me it's a rabbit and to you it's a duck.


I know Anusara isn't gone - it exists independently of John Friend, of trademarks and licenses.  One thing that's become clear to me since everything blew up in February is that what Anusara is to me, is totally not what it is to someone else.  To one person, Anusara is John Friend.  To another, Anusara is the last fiftneen years of their lives and it's very complicated.  To another, it's a wiccan cult where everyone wears rose-colored glasses and sings Kumbayah for hours on end.  This doesn't make my experience (or theirs) any less real.

Like many things in life, our experience with Anusara is what makes it real.  I'm sticking with my teachers and my community regardless of what brand or label they practice. I am so grateful for the immersion - for the way it changed me and for the friends I found there.  For me, Anusara will always be this time, and these peeps:

There is no spoon.  There is no Anusara.  There's just yoga.

Om Namah Shivaya Gurave
Satcitananda Murtaye
Nisprapancaya Shantaya
Niralambaya Tejase

I honor the true teacher who resides within me and all things
Who embodies truth, consciousness and bliss
Who is never absent and is full of peace
Illuminating all with divine light

This has been cheesy.  Thanks for reading, goodnight :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ugh - and my favorite car story looks like I am probably getting a new car.  I had grand dreams of driving my VW literally into the ground, but now I am thinking that might not be such a great idea.  I stopped myself one step short of drawing up a cost-benefit spreadsheet, but here is the basic situation:
  • My car is getting old and has quite a few miles on it
  • Over the last few years, this car has been a consistent drain on my bank account.  I feel like every time I think "surely this is all I'll need to do for a while"....nope.  Not so much.
  • Ben's car is also 12 years old, and we've been thinking on and off about replacing one of our cars in the next couple of years.  We like taking road trips and it would be nice to have one car that was a little newer and more reliable.
  • Of the two cars, mine is MUCH more expensive in terms of maintenance and repairs.  
I was pretty torn over whether I should put $3,000 into my car, which led me to make the mistake of soliciting advice on Facebook.  Opinions ranged everywhere from "never buy a new car ever" to "definitely buy a new car you will save so much in mpg!!" and was instructed to buy a Subaru, a Chevy Volt, a Honda, and a Hyundai.  Instead of helping, the quantity and variety of options presented caused my brain to implode on itself.

So, then I called my car guy who has been nothing but honest with me for the last six years and asked him honestly, if I go through with all the repairs, how many more miles he thinks I can expect before something like this comes up again.

He pretty much straight up told me that as much as he would love to have my $3,000, Volkswagens are weird. He can't promise something crazy won't happen next month, and $3,000 is a lot of money.  In his experience, VWs have more and more problems as they get older, and it's always something quirky and usually expensive.  

Case in point - what follows is a Livejournal entry from 2008 written by yours truly, detailing my personal *favorite* story of fixing my car (note extreme sarcasm).  This story is especially amusing because it was written during a time when Ben and I were not yet dating, but were crushing on each other hard and I was completely in denial about the whole thing.  Check it out.

I spent all of Saturday working on grad school essays. Saturday was actually a lovely day. I could have been outside doing any number of things, but instead I was inside writing.

On Saturday night as I was leaving Baker's Square after a great night of Concert and Pie with Ben and the Clark, I noticed something strange about my car - namely, the power locks had stopped working. I continued on my way home thinking, no big deal the battery in my keychain is probably dead. I made the executive decision to just deal with it until I could get to the dealership for a new battery. At this point, I noticed another strange thing - my power windows had also stopped working. Not sure why but I wasn't terribly concerned by this...I guess I thought maybe the same mechanism that was killing the power locks was also killing the power windows.

I still think that's probably the case, but apparently whatever killed my power locks and windows also eventually killed my car's ability to start, as I discovered when I got in my car on Sunday and suddenly had no mobility. This was not ideal since I had to be in downtown Minneapolis to see a play with Ben in 25 minutes. Luckily my roommate is awesome and drove me there.

This morning I got up bright and early to call AAA so they could come give me a jump start. Then I would be able to at least drive my car to the repair shop to figure out what's wrong with it. From my experience, AAA usually takes at LEAST 45 minutes to get there, so I called them at 6:50 thinking they'd get there just about in time to get me to work.


AAA apparently woke up this morning and suddenly decided to be punctual. They were there in 10 minutes. Needless to say I was not prepared for I'm rocking the "I got dressed in the dark and didn't put on makeup" look, which is essentially exactly what happened.

Additionally, they were unable to jump my car, so I had to pay $20 for a tow up to the shop by work, where they are now looking at my car and probably at the end of the day they'll tell me that half of my next paycheck is going to be spent fixing my car. Again. Stupid car.

Even better is what happened next.  It turned out one of the wires connected to the starter had shorted, so they put in a new spark plug and gave me a spare just in case, but assured me that the current plug should last for a while.


The very next day, I had to run a bunch of errands for work.  We had a trade show coming up and our booth needed some touch-ups....being the entry-level marketing bitch (I say that with love in my heart - I LOVED my job and was by no means anybody's bitch) I had the honor of going to the paint store and the hardware store to pick up all of the necessary materials.

I can't remember exactly why, but I needed to get some supplies from my mom...I think maybe she had some extra paint or paint brushes, and I decided to borrow hers rather than buy new ones?  In any case, I called her as I was leaving the office. She said she was going for a walk around the lake with a neighbor and could I pick up the items from her car if she left it unlocked by the lake?

My office was only about 15 minutes from the lake near my parents' place so this wasn't a problem at all.  I zipped over to the lake, hopped out of my car, grabbed the materials from my mom's trunk, went back to my car and hit the power locks...and nothing happened.  Right away I knew this was trouble, and sure enough when I tried to start my car nothing happened.  No worries though because I had an extra plug!  Lucky I had that thing.  I pulled the spare plug from its hiding spot in my glove compartment, plugged it in, and tried to start my car.

The plug shorted immediately.

So, now I was stuck by myself at a lake in the middle of the woods, with no way to get anywhere, in the middle of my workday.  The lake is about six miles around and I had no clue how far my mom was on her walk.  She might be 20 minutes away, or she might be an hour and a half away, I just had no idea.  I decided to call AAA and immediately realized I had left my phone on my desk at work.  Brilliant.

Just as I was about to give up and have a complete meltdown, the water pump maintenance truck drove up!  I can't imagine what this guy thought when a random 25 year-old in business attire knocked politely on his truck window and asked if she could use his cell phone to call AAA.  The random 25 year old was me, obviously.  Luckily the guy was extremely helpful and sympathetic.  Yay random strangers.

This time, AAA was not as punctual.  I waited for them for at least an hour, by which point my mom had finished her walk and offered to drive me to the paint store while AAA towed my car.  I made it safely back to work with all booth supplies in hand by...4pm.

And finally, they figured out what was wrong with  my car.  A wire in the dome light was shorting out, and this same wire was also connected to my power locks and starter.  Bart, the guy who works on my car, literally took the interior apart trying to find where the bad wire was coming from.

I can't say it didn't make sense.  My dome light had been acting up for several months, and would randomly flicker on and off without me even touching the switch.  When this happened I would usually either a) smack my fist into the light with a considerable amount of force, or b) wedge a credit card or paper clip, or other such item, into the dome light which for some reason seemed to temporarily fix the problem.  While extremely effective, these methods probably did not help the wire-shorting situation.

HOWEVER, why on EARTH would you design a car such that a malfunctioning dome light can kill your ENTIRE CAR.  This I still do not understand.

Anyways.  That's my favorite car repair to date.  That one also cost me $3,000 but at least it made my car a legend at the repair shop.  Bart apparently still tells that story.

Here are some favorite (non-repair) memories of my little car:

Tahoe Road Trip

Cali Road Trip with my dad

After my friend Emily decorated the interior with poofy bows at my wedding :)

So, that's all I've got for now!  I also asked my car guy for recommendations in terms of models that run for a long time with minimal maintenance.  I want my next car to last another 12-15 years, so I need to invest wisely.  He said I should look at Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Ford.  I'm leaning towards a Honda Accord or Civic...I'll keep you posted :) fun.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Beer + Banana Bread = Magic

... So this happened:


But first, my day.  Unsurprisingly I came home to a flat tire....  This morning I got up early to email my boss and let him know I was working from home today, and then I took my car down two blocks to our neighborhood repair shop, and then came home and got set up at my home "office" aka the couch.
When I dropped my car off, I asked them to also give me an oil change, and to take a look and see if anything else was amiss.  Well.  That was obviously my first mistake, because they called me back a few hours later and quoted me almost $3,000 worth of work.  Lovely.
Obviously I'm taking it in for a second quote, but still...bleh.  I guess when your car gets to be 12 years old these things happen, but I always told myself that the next time I needed to pay more than $1,000 to fix my car I'd just start looking for another car.  I'm not sure I'm quite ready for that I have some decisions to make I guess :/

To top it all off, I went out over lunch and bought Mini a special treat of CANNED FOOD.  I was so excited to give it to her but apparently she was not as excited, because she totally refused to eat it.  I left her dish there for several hours, because I figured that when she got hungry she'd eat, but it went untouched until after 8pm at which point I threw it out and gave her her normal food.

Jerk.  See if I ever spend $1.29 on dinner for you again.

she eats plastic, but she will not eat cat food...

Anyways, after I finished up with work I ran a quick 2 miles, showered, walked Sid and then drove to Minneapolis for dinner and drinks at St. George and the Dragon!  This place just opened in Minneapolis and I've really been looking forward to checking it out. 

First up was the Banana Bread Beer, Just about awesome.
I really loved just about everything about this place, especially the kids book corner.  I would have LOVED this when I was little...

custom built for nerds

DRAGON BURGER.  Made with 100% real dragon.

After dinner, we kinda wanted cookies.  But, I was too lazy to bake, so Sweet Martha's frozen cookie dough to the rescue!!  I also made several attempts at getting a photo with the cookie dough, all of which were epic fails

...yeeeah... no...

still no


Oh and just thought I'd share...last week I finally got around to decorating the porch!  The furniture and the string lights are from Target, the lantern is from Patina and the trunk I've had for at least 10 years.  It was my tack trunk when I used to ride horses but now I use it to store blankets...and as a table :)

Tomorrow I'm headed into work for what turned out to be my only day in the office!  Ben has a school event tomorrow night so I'll be bacheloretting it up with the pets - maybe some yoga and baking, who knows?  Happy almost Friday!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Complete Exhaustion, and Blueberry Oat Bars

Weeeell I am travelling for work again - this is probably the last time I'll have any work-related travel for a while, but man was I not looking forward to this trip.  Despite our day of doing nothing on Saturday, I managed to remain completely sleep deprived through the weekend and the last thing I wanted to do early on Monday morning was get on a plane.

Monday was basically the worst.  I wanted to fall asleep all, literally all day.  On the plane, in the car on the way to the client site, during back-to-back meetings with said get the idea. Luckily I made it through the day, and had a delicious dinner and some wine with co-workers.

And then...I got 9 hours of sleep.  We didn't have to be anywhere until 10am, so I popped downstairs for a 2.5 mile run on the treadmill, did a 30 minute YogaGlo with Elena Brower (yoga for travelers!), and had a leisurely breakfast of coffee and oatmeal from the FREE breakfast buffet.  I felt like a new woman.

Plus, our client has an amaaaazing cafeteria.  Like, ridiculous amounts of awesome.  I think our cafeteria is pretty slick, but they have FALAFEL WRAPS.  I almost died.  My eyes may or may not have been a bit larger than my stomach and I ended up ordering the falafel wrap (falafel, chili sauce, lettuce, tomato, tatziki and onion in a spinach wrap) and two side salads.  It wasn't 1am Falafel King, but it was delicious... it was also a LOT of food and I only ended up eating about half of it.

Get in my belly.

I also had reinforcements in my purse ;)


Now I'm chilling in bed in my pajamas, writing this blog and watching the How I Met Your Mother season finale.  Excellent use of Cloud Cult, almost made me cry.  Almost.

So that's my thrilling life.  To make up for the lack of action on my end, I give you Blueberry Banana Breakfast Bars!  I saw Sweet Tater's recipe for raw breakfast bars and couldn't resist giving it a shot.  Here is my version!

- 2 bananas
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal/ ground flaxseeds
- 1/2 teaspon vanilla
- 4 tablespoons dried blueberries
- a couple of handfulls of roasted unsalted almonds, chopped into smallish pieces

In the microwave, heat the bananas and almond butter until they are "melted" and easy to smash and mix together.  Then...smash them and mix them together.  Add the oats, flaxseed meal, vanilla and blueberries and stir to combine.

Pour into a loaf pan, sprinkle almonds over the top and smash with all of your might!  Really - smash that sucker down until it is very dense and solid. Cool in the fridge for several hours or overnight, then remove and slice into six bars.  At this point I wrap them individually in saran wrap and put them back into the fridge, so I can easily throw one in my bag as I rush out the door 10 minutes later than planned.  Such is life.

Hope you're having a great week!

Friday, May 11, 2012


Well, I hate to speak too soon as it's only 1pm, but today has just been an awesome day.  This is in contrast to yesterday, which found me texting my friend at 5:30pm that I wasn't going to make happy hour because a) I had more work to do and b) "if I don't get some yoga I might die."  No one ever said I lacked a flair for the dramatic. 

12 hour days...they are so fun though.  Anyway, part of my work-related stress (which you've been hearing a lot about lately...sorry...) is related to my, normal job... but a significant chunk was also coming from an additional project I've been working on (still at work just out of the scope of my daily activities), which has been a huge pain in my ass lately.

Essentially, the assignment was: "This product appears to suck.  You are to please figure out why this is and what we should do about it."  There was also a pretty tight deadline and a fair amount of visibility.

I would not say things started out execptionally well.  I spent several weeks digging through reams of reporting, requesting more data, going levels deeper into the data I already had, and finding nothing.  So basically I was sitting on a looming deadline and no answer. 

THEN...about a week and a half ago I got that one, key piece of information that unlocked the whole issue, everything just fell into place and I knew exactly what I needed to do.  Unfortunately, "exactly what I needed to do" was complex and involved a ton of work, and the looming deadline was still just as looming, so it's pretty much been balls to the wall for the past two weeks to get this thing finished and presentation-ready.  Plus, you know, the rest of my job.

Then on Tuesday, my boss mentioned that hey, this is great but it would be really cool if you built a product value model too.  So last night I did not go to happy hour because I instead was busy messing around in excel to finish the aforementioned value model.

Point being, I presented my work today so that beast is FINALLY done with.  Plus, even more to the point, it went really  really well and both my boss and my boss' boss said it was great.  Phew.

Oh, and we also ran out of time and didn't get to the value model during the meeting.  So...there's that.  Vegas Lounge, I passed you up for naught.  Except not actually, because even though I didn't actually present the model I (or someone else) will probably end up using it in the future.

So yes - good day!  And then I ate a delicious salad for lunch - baby spinach, arugala, grilled tempeh and apple, with homemade maple mustard vinegrette.  Normally I like the apple pieces much smaller, but this is what happens when you have to slice an apple with a janky plastic cafeteria knife - ginormous apple chunks.  I also usually put warm roasted butternut squash on this baby, which is pretty much the best part...but sadly I have not had time to roast a squash :(   Poor me, my life, wah, etc etc.
Anyways it looks like we are FINALLY going to have a nice weekend!  MN has been in an unfortunate pattern of being gorgeous during the week and then raining all weekend, so I'm excited to actually be outside during the day.  Miracle of miracles. 

Tonight Ben and I are attending not one, but two musical events - a performance by a friend of mine from choir (Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire to be exact and anyone who knows what I am talking about will hopefully be as pumped as I am.  This thing never gets performed live!), and then the Mayfly Rooks CD release show at the 331! 

We've also decided that tomorrow we are doing absolutely nothing.  Maybe going to Target and yoga, but other than that we have big plans for the couch, Punch pizza, wine and old movies.  I'm hoping for a marathon of Rear Window, To Catch a Theif and the Apartment, but we shall see.

Happy FRIDAY!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Leap

This past weekend's workshop with Noah Maze was, as expected, awesome.  My shin muscles are sore.  I'm not sure how that is possible exactly, but it means I'm working my shins so that is good I think?  Anywhoo... five hours on Saturday (hand balances, twists and hip openers) and three hours on Sunday (backbends...lots and lots of backbends...).  Eight hours of pure awesome.

It's always hard to recap a workshop.  I cant really put into words the internal and shift that takes place during some of these weekends, and sometimes putting my inner experience with yoga so openly on the internet feels a little to exposed.  It's easier to hone in on one key idea or takeaway and pull it out, like a single golden thread from a complex tapestry.

The weekend was structured around the story of Hanuman, the moneky god who leaped across the ocean to rescue Rama's wife Sita from the demon king Ravana, and who had the power to shapeshift and become as large or as small as he wanted.  

In the Ramayana, Hanuman took two leaps - the first to the sun, and the second to Sri Lanka.  Hanuman took his first leap because he saw the sun, thought it was a juicy ripe mango, and decided hey I would like to eat that.  I can't really blame him...I mean, mango right?  Delicious.  Anyway, this caused some drama and Hanuman ended up being struck down to earth by Indra.

Hanuman's second leap, the leap to Sri Lanka, came during his journey to find Sita.  Hanuman is with a group of buddies looking for Sita, and encounters a slight obstacle in his search - the ocean.  Hanuman feels defeated and believes that his mission to find Sita has failed; but, just when he wants to give up, his friend Jambavantha reminds him who he is.  He sings Hanuman's praises, and Hanuman remembers his own powers and leaps across the ocean.


As children, we aren't afraid to leap for the sun.  We don't yet realize that if we take a huge risk,  we might get burned.  I love watching kids play because they just throw caution to the wind.  They might fall down and scrape their knee but they aren't thinking about that when they try to do a backflip off of the swing set.  All that matters is the joy of being airborne.

As we get older, we lose that sense of infinte possibility.  We forget our own power.  I think this is partly because the stakes get higher, and by the time we reach the ocean we've experienced what it feels like to leap for the sun and be struck back down to earth.  We know from experience that we need to be skillful and cautious in deciding whether we are up to the task of leaping across the ocean.  To overestimate our ability is to fall in the ocean and drown.

But, I think we also need a to be reminded of our own vast capabilities.  Sometimes we see a mango, and we think it's the sun - we only see all the ways in which we might get burned.  But what if this time, it really is a mango and we are too afraid to leap?

Yoga is my constant reminder to play.  It's OK to fall out of handstand, because it means you tried.  And because you tried, it means that some part of you knows you are capable of balancing in handstand.

Through asana, yoga has taught me that things I once thought were impossible are completely within the realm of my ability as long as I keep doing the work.  When I started practicing two and a half years ago I could barely touch my toes and was struggling to master bakasana.  Now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel in hanumanasana, and arm balances are some of my favorite poses.

Yoga is also my constant reminder to bring my best self to the table.  It reminds me to be grateful, even when gratitude is hard to find.  Forgiving, even when I am frustrated or angry.  The ability is always there, I just need to remind myself tand let that part of me rise to the occasion when obstacles and challenges come up.

And sure, occasionally the best version of myself falls out of handstand...but sometimes that's just what happens when you go for the mango.  No big deal.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Weeeelp... that it's this weekend, I should probably get up to speed on what I did last weekend.  Not exactly punctual, but let's face it the weekend is the only part of my life that's interesting, anyways.  My weekdays mostly involve spreadsheets, more spreadsheets, powerpoints, meetings, walking the dog, yoga and/or choir, and sleeping. 

When we last left off, I was chugging coffee in hopes of making it up past 12:30 so I could see my friends' band play a gig at Mayslacks.  Well, I am pleased to report that three cups of coffee more than did the trick.  Coffee may have also been supplemented with tequila.  Oops?


 Anyway, 12:30 ended up being 12:45 but we made it through the whole set, and I'm really glad I we went.  These guys are awesome - I will shamelessly plug them to anyone, anytime.  Did I mention their album comes out THIS FRIDAY May 11?  Also they are having a CD release show on Friday so if you're in the Twin Cities and are looking for something fun to do on Friday I highly recommend checking this out.

The band is basically comprised of three MBA grads and, as my friend Judd describes them, three total hippies.  Somehow this combination = magic. 

Judd and Abby

Keith (the 3rd MBA) and Rocky
Saturday was a bit cloudy, and I basically went to yoga, read books and did laundry all day.  Very exciting.   I even got outside a bit, although the weekends have been kind of cloudy and rainy lately.  Not the weekdays mind you, just the weekends. What's up with that weather?  Get it together.

Saturday night I met my friend Amanda for dinner at Ghandi Mahal in Minneapolis.  We'd been planning on a picnic lunch at Lake Calhoun earlier in the day, but what with the cold/rain that clearly wasn't happening so we decided to satisfy our craving for chai and indian food instead.

Boots and sweaters, still necessary.
...just ignore the makeup on the's fine...
I think Ghandi Mahal may now be my favorite Indian food in the cities.  The atmosphere is really fun, and the food is just perfectly spiced.  I ordered the veg Thali, which came with two small portions of curry (veg curry and saag paneer), rice and pakora.  The pakora was amaaaazing... it had whole fennel seeds.  Yum.

So much delicious
Possibly my favorite thing about Ghandi Mahal was the chai - real, authentic chai poured from...a teapot shaped like an elephant.  I just about died when I saw it, and decided I must own one immediately.  Unfortunately our server informed us that their teapots came from Bangladesh.  Fortunately, I was able to track down a nearly identical teapot at Pier One the very next day for $12.00.  Success!

Just about awesome
AND it only gets better because we now own not only an elephant teapot, but also an elephant teapot COVER that Ben brought home from India.  SO MUCH TEA.  SO MUCH ELEPHANT.

so meta
Sunday we went to church in the AM and sang a concert in the afternoon, and then met my parents and Ben's parents for dinner at the Happy Gnome to celebrate Ben's mom's birthday!

I'm very picky about my burgers so I rarely order them unless I'm fairly confident it's going to be high quality.  The Gnome almost never disappoints, although I think they might have changed their fries recently so...sorry Happy Gnome, your fries are no longer my favorite in St. Paul.  Still a great burger, and a great evening with family :)

parents - drink responsibly


Anyways, this weekend I'm taking a yoga workshop.  I love these weekends because they give me a chance to really just immerse myself in my practice for two straight days, plus I get to hang out with my yoga buddies who are just awesome people.  Every time, I manage to forget how much these workshops shift my energy, and I tend to make grandiose evening plans only to cancel them later in favor of sitting on the couch with a glass of wine, reflecting on life.  Or um, watching Battlestar Galactica.

Sid has been inspired by my yoga moves and is very committed to his own practice.  His favorite pose is flop-on-couchasana.

This is a very hard pose

He's tried to rope Mini into some Yogaglo podcasts but she's just to spazzy.  Sid tells me that he thinks her vata is imbalanced and she needs to drink some warm tea and chill the fuck out.  I think he is probably right.

Ayurvedic expert

Have a great weekend!

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