Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Love is Art

So I found this on facebook and absolutely had to share. I have a couple of artsy friends who no matter what link or article they share, I read it or watch it because it never disappoints. The stuff they share regularly rocks my world. On this link, my friend wrote "Love is Art and Art is Love." It took me a while to really think through that statement.

It is so true when you consider it. Love is a overwhelming form of art. When you are touched by love, whether it be from your mother or child or a lover or in the form of kindness from a stranger, it is moving and powerful. Love is beautiful and complicated. Love is so very many things. And ultimately, it makes for some seriously good art.

Anyway, open the link. Read the story. Watch the video. Prepare to be completely moved. Her face. His eyes. The things unsaid. And the moment when she surrenders to her emotions. Wow.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

I cannot possibly write everything I have to say about yoga in one post. I think that it's just going to have to be a category of blog posts. Yoga is freaking amazing. But for humor's sake, I must relay my first experience with Ashtanga Yoga. It can summed up quite tritely...

Ommmm. My. God.

I can only say that I have sincerely started a yoga "practice" since November. It isn't pretty. It isn't as consistent as I would like. It isn't perfect. But it's growing. And inside of me, there is now this little part of me that craves yoga. If I have missed class for a while, and I feel a tweak in my hamstring or hip, my first thought is "Dang. I have to get to yoga."

For some time now, I have been interested in trying Ashtanga Yoga. Here's what I knew about it before I went. It is a more meditative practice than hot yoga. The instructor who guides this practice learned about teaching Ashtanga yoga last year in India. There is chanting. The basic premise is to perform the same poses in the same order every class. Ashtanga yoga is more about flowing and movement than it is about holding specific poses for a long time. The studio is warm but not hot.

Here is what I did not know about Ashtanga before last night. You sweat more than you have ever sweat in your life. Constant flowing vinyasa with constant Ujjayi breathing is incredibly difficult and makes you hotter than any hot studio can. Sitting in the back (my safe place) does not guarantee you anonymity because the really advanced practicioners are in the back so they don't disrupt the newer kids in the front. You can't drink during Ashtanga (hold up...whaaaa?). You might cry a little during final savasana. You might barely make it through the grocery store afterwards. You might pass out in your bed like you just ran a marathon. You might not be able to lift your baby in his car seat the next morning.

I try not to be intimidated in yoga. I own that I am new to the practice. I own that I am not able to be as "all in" as I would like. I laugh off that I am weak and wobbly and rigid. But I'm not going to lie...ashtanga yoga struck fear in my heart. On many levels. I was scared of how hard it was. And scared of how hard it was even for the really advanced kids (hearing them struggle through the sequence of poses was downright crazy). I was scared of how hot my body got so quickly. I was scared that I was doing it wrong. And then really scared when I knew I did it right because it was just so much work. Mostly I was scared I was going to die, on my yoga mat, in front of all these people. A sweaty, wobbly, inflexible death.

I flowed. And flowed. And flowed. And I breathed and held and breathed deeply again. I could not help but look in awe out of the corner of my eye at the good kids. They moved at a much quicker speed through the sequence, which ironically did not assure me that the class was going in the right direction. Instead, my brain said "I have to do WHAT next???" Sometimes it is better not to know where you are going. Ignorance is bliss.

For only the second time I can remember, at one point I just stopped. I sat on my mat, a bit defeated. As a runner, the one thing I bring to the yoga mat is endurance. So while I may not be all bendy, at least I can last an entire class because in my head a 75 or 90 minute workout is easy peasy. I can run for hours so yoga for 90 minutes? Cake. Except this was so not cake!

During one point in the sequence you sit cross-legged or in lotus (if you have that in your practice---I love how instructors say this like it's something you just pick up at the store as opposed to work towards for months and years) and roll on your back. You roll up and down nine times (exactly) in a full circle. I felt like a giddy and spastic 4 year old.

At one point, while on my back I stretched my hands above my head, only for my hands to land a large pool of the sweat behind me. Uhhh...ewww. I'm not a squeamish person but when I looked, I was not kidding. STANDING POOL OF SWEAT. Oh dude, please put your shirt back on or mop up your mess.

At one point, I made the mistake of looking at my neighboring yogi (another instructor from the studio taking the class). She (an instructor) was struggling mightily to bend further into a pose. The  ashtanga instructor laid her full body on her wherein I heard a loud pop and then groaning. I thought, "oh this cannot be good". Except it was a pleasurable groan and she was smiling? What just happened???? Am I the only one seeing this?

And finally, my crowing glory, when I acknowledged just how remedial I was. The instructor is so kind and supportive. She bounces around the class helping everyone the entire 90 minutes. She straightens their backs, supports their sweaty mess while they work on a transition and pushes the yogis further. She's selfless in her service. Her help for me came about an hour in. She came to my corner, mouth twisted up curiously. And she smiled, "let's get you a block." And she started helping me with a pose. Before I knew it, I had yoga blocks shoved all around me trying to support that which I could not support myself. Honestly, it was pretty hilarious.

But as always, the instructor brings it all around. Jordan, the teacher in this class manages to always leave me with these nuggets of inspiration. After nearly killing people, the instructors guide you through relaxation and share beautiful powerful positive thoughts.

On Monday after all the sweating and pain subsided, Jordan read from David Williams, a premier Ashtanga instructor...you know this guy. The passage she read was all about how there is no measure of whether someone is "good" at yoga. In fact, in his mind, the person who is good at yoga is the person who is giving 100% to their practice. The person who wholly surrenders their body for the time. The person who focuses the hardest in class regardless of their abilities is the "best" in yoga.

For all the grief I was giving myself for not "lasting" through class. For not having the limber joints to bend into poses or the strength to hold a pose. It sort of melted away. Because if there was one thing I could say, I was focused, I was trying, I was absolutely giving it my all. And so I left Ashtanga--sweaty, smelly, exhausted and sore. I woke the next morning feeling tired, sore, and hungry. And the first thing I did when I got to my desk that day was see when the next Ashtanga class was offered.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

QOTD: Hard Work

Went to the Y yesterday at lunch with two of my paralegals and an associate attorney at my office. We did some really calming flowing yoga. (Which my body desperately needed after my "adventure" into Ashtanga Yoga (more on that later) on Monday).

Saw this on a tshirt of a girl in the locker room. I told her I LOVED her quote and she laughed "high school soccer inspirational shirts rock and are totally cheesy". Indeed they are my friend. Indeed they are:

"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."

-Old Beat Up High School Girls Soccer T-Shirt

Totally agree with that and feel like that quote applies to basically every area of my life. I may not be the most gifted lawyer but when I work really hard I excel beyond the good lawyer that sits on their laurels and hopes their brilliance saves the day. Running--ditto. Parenting--ditto.

Monday, March 18, 2013

QOTD: True Story

“There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."

-Madeleine Albright

I am lucky to be surrounded by women who support me and build me up. That has not always been the case and I just wanted to share that one of the greatest minds of our time gets it.

Now that I'm getting older (and by older I mean hip and awesome and hot and 29-no really, I'm super young still, seriously, stop giving me that look) and more in a position to help than be helped...gotta keep this in mind.

Professionally, personally, in whatever capacity suits you. Help the women around you. Make them soup when they have a new baby. Share your secrets to being a good law firm associate. Tell them they are beautiful when their confidence is shaking. Help them see themselves the way you see them. Because some days we all need support.

So today, try to find a way to support your sisters-in-life around you and just do it without being asked. Being fake, acting passive aggressive, speaking unkind words, cutting someone down...it only promotes more of the same. And can we all just agree that more of that stuff is the last thing we need?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Vodka

When Scott and I first started dating, we discovered something that immediately drew us together. We liked to celebrate (anything and everything) and we liked to host parties. We both hosted countless gatherings in our youth and despite being broke students, we loved having friends over to share a meal and a beer and board game or a dance party or anything really. From themed Monday Night Football potlucks to post-parties after law school finals to New Years Eve bashes, we loved playing hosts.
 
We have never outgrown that love. In fact, it has only gotten stronger. And I think the first 12 1/2 years of our relationship were simply training grounds for our planned party throwing this year...2013. Scott's most recent obsession (love the guy but he does nothing halfway...all in, on every hobby) is bar tending. And not light weight "I will make you a yummy gin and tonic" bartending. I mean full on MIXOLOGY. And so he schemed up a series of parties called INTOXICOLOGY. 5 parties; 5 highlighted liquors; 5 drinks lists that will blow your mind; complimentary food; themed dress; music; party favors, etc. Okay, so perhaps the last 4 were my doing...but as usual...we held nothing back. And so now I am going to try to tell you the story of Intoxicology Part 1, VODKA, through photos.
 
Theme: Black and White
Soundtrack: hip hop, old school rap, club, dance, glam 80's
Food: upscale canap├ęs including multiple kinds of caviar
Drinks: Spin offs of some of your favorites. Screwdriver, cosmo, dirty martini--all with a twist.
Favors: black and white chocolate bonbons and a cd soundtrack
 


 
 

 
 
 
















 
 
 










 


 
 
 
Our cohosts, Chris and Savanna. He tended the bar with Scott. She designed all the graphics.
I recommend enlisting every talented friend you have before throwing any party.







Why yes. He did just happen to have the bow tie and suspenders in his closet.



The best part? Having amazing friends who play along. Me, Michele, Nickki,
Stephen (in. his. tux.), Renee, Ashley and Kristen.



You're welcome. ;)

 

QOTD: How to Love

10 Ways to Love

listen without interrupting

speak without accusing

give without sparing

pray without ceasing

answer without arguing

share without pretending

enjoy without complaint

trust without waivering

forgive without punishing

promise without forgetting

-unknown

I consider myself a loving person. A loving wife. A loving mother. A loving daughter. A loving friend. Then I read something like this and dang. I am such a work in progress.

Sigh sigh sigh. You'd think at age 34, I would have figured out a little better how to love. But I guess that's why you just keep at it. When I read this my first thought was, I can love everyone in my life better. And truly, if you think about it, a lot of these concepts are sort of based on principles from someone we are probably fairly familiar with...Jesus. This is the sort of love he describes (Do I forgive my brother 7 times? Jesus: No. You forgive him 70 x 7 times. [another way of saying infinity]). As someone who is pretty obstinate and particularly gifted at holding a grudge...sigh. Work in progress.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

QOTD: Great Running

That's the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is.

-Kara Goucher

I had a great run this morning. It was slow but somehow it was MUCH less ugly. I ran 5 miles, walked a lot, but did not experience the aching, tweaking and flat out loosy-goosey ligament discomfort that has sort of overwhelmed my running of late.

So my quiet happy run was a wonderful celebration of a little gained strength here. A little progress there. So happy with my health and my body's gradual strength. Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

5.15; 57; 50

5.15 miles; 57 minutes; 50 degrees

On Sunday afternoon, KD, Wheels, Ween* and I went out for a quick 5 mile run. And by "quick" I mean, the miles passed quickly because I was with friends. My solid 11:15 pace with walk breaks would not be considered "quick" by any stretch of the imagination.

My legs were so sore on Monday I just laughed at myself. Geesh. I tried not to whine about it at all since my husband had spent the weekend running at Post Oak, a really fun "doubler"/trail event. He ran a 50K on Saturday and a marathon Sunday. He was pretty sore after the fact and dehydrated...I refrained from saying "I totally understand." Even though I did. I mean running 5 miles is tough. Cough cough.

The good news is, I wanted to run 5 miles and went a wee bit further. I did not struggle to complete the distance. The other good news is that while I was tired by the end, my legs actually felt really good and I was not terribly winded. The bad news is that my core is still a big pile of gooey mommy weakness. I continue to have very sore ligaments around the lower pelvic/ upper inner thigh area. But every time I yoga with the slightest bit of consistency...I do see this soreness decrease. Therefore my goal: git my rear to YOGA.

Time to check in on those running goals set out before:

(1) I want to finish the 2013 Wichita Half Marathon. Well I made a training schedule and have half-heartedly started to follow it. PROGRESS.

(2) I want to run the local 4 mile Superbowl run, preferably with no walking. Due to flu and sick baby, did not even attempt the 4 miler, let alone complete it without walking. (that would NOT have happened). GOAL NOT MET. REMOVING FROM THE LIST. BOO--I HATE NOT MEETING A GOAL!!! BLECH

(3) I want to run a marathon in all 50 states. I am (I believe) 14 states in. This should be accomplished by approximately the year 2030. Still on pace for 2030 completion :)

(4) I want to run a sub 1:45 half marathon. (Current PR Is 1:51:30). This should be accomplished by 2018(?). Still on pace for 2018 completion :)

(5) I want to run the Chicago 2013 marathon in 4:30. The greatest registration fiasco in the history of marathon racing was completely upsetting for so many runners. I am thrilled to report that both husband and I got in but DANG, bum deal for a lot of friends and fellow runners.

(6) I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon. [This is the biggest most lofty, most unrealistic and ridiculous goal I've ever actually said out loud. But now it's out there. And maybe, in 10 years or so(?), it will happen. In the meantime, it's cooking in the back of my head at all times and will be a driving force me in my running for a long time to come.] Still on pace for 2030 completion :)

(7) I want to be able to hold the following yoga poses: crow (HAVE SUCCESSFULLY HELD CROW TWO TIMES!!! both for very short periods but hey, I will TAKE it); headstand; firefly; wheel (getting closer!!!) and pigeon (my hips stink but this one doesn't quite hurt like it did in December).

(8) NEW GOAL: Running the Hospital Hill Half Marathon without walk breaks. This should be rich. But I sincerely LOVE this race and am now registered. Kansas City, here I come!!!

*Names protected to protect the innocent :) Okay not really, but amongst my running friends, we seem to all have ridiculous nicknames. It's just worked out that way. I can't explain why nor do I apologize for this.

Mom and Dad watched the kiddos while I went running because Scott was in Tulsa still. I came home to find Dad in the nursery "rocking the baby to sleep". Ahem.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Snow Day(s)

Last year we had an incredibly mild winter. In the midst of it being incredibly dry, it was mostly warm. I remember distinctly having one painfully cold run on a Saturday (I literally thought I was going to die). But other than that run, it was cool, sometimes cold, but never sustained cold and bitter. One day it snowed. I picked Eliot up for school and we rushed home, changed into snow playclothes. We ran outside and scraped together all of the snow we could and we created:



The wimpiest, saddest, tiniest little snowman EVER. Eliot was thrilled because he had low expectations apparently. We threw some snow at each other, went inside and the next day, wee snowman melted into oblivion.

This year mother nature had other plans. After a mostly mild winter to date (it was 65 on a Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago). After the groundhog told us winter was over. After thinking Santa's gift of red rainboots was perhaps a bit foolish, snow came. By the TRUCKLOAD. And holy cow, it was fun.

Wednesday: drove to town about an hour away for court hearing. By the time I drove back at 10:00 a.m., roads were getting a bit nasty. Wednesday, the snow got serious.

Wednesday night: THUNDERSNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and a foot of the white stuff. For the record, thundersnow happened, I heard it, and it blew my ever-loving mind.

Thursday: family wide snow day. Courts closed. Schools closed. We spent the day shoveling the driveway, playing outside, watching movies and changing out wet cold clothes for dry fuzzy ones.

Friday: Roads were passable. Took Nicholas to work with me and spent the day hanging with baby and attempting to be a lawyer. Scott stayed home with Eliot. Schools were still closed.

Saturday: more clearing of driveway as we were hosting big cocktail party. Weather held off perfectly.

Sunday: more snow. Husband went to grocery store where madness had taken hold of my entire town. As residents prepared for THE END OF THE WORLD, grocery stores sold out of milk and bread. And according to one of my buds, Target sold out of...ladies underwear. Because you just never know.

Monday: schools closed. Boys to my parents. Scott and I worked until 1:00 p.m. when blizzard #2 hit.

Tuesday: the final snow day of them all. I stayed home with both boys and tried to soak in playing hooky for just one last day. Eliot had completely lost his mind and was going stir crazy. I solved this problem by a nearly 2 hour play session in the snow. We played "Empire Strikes Back". We tackled each other and shrieked and laughed until our sides hurt. We jumped off piles of snow. We did not make a snowman. Not for my lack of trying. Kiddo refused to allow any of my work to stand. Each time a snow man started to take shape, he was either ninja kicked, tackled or eviscerated by a light saber. I eventually gave up.


King of Snow Mountain

And I'm FREE. Free fallin.
Gratuituous Hunter Boots Photo Op
to show how deep the snow is.
What? I have wanted these for 10+ years
and finally asked for them. I <3 Santa.

I'm so proud of this shot. I'm not good at visual things like photography...but I'm working on it.
Final cuddles with the kids before life resumes:


This little piece of pudgy perfection grabs my shirt while he's nursing as if to say "hey lady, you're the best and I love and all, but don't you dare think about going anywhere." It slays me everytime.


Brother cuddles whilst watching the super
educational...Spongebob.
 
Yea, they basically own me.




Wednesday: Hot yoga and return to work/ preschool/ day care. SIGH.

I needed a return to routine. I do not function well without a schedule. But this was an unplanned and unanticipated vacation from reality that was just a blast. While in the midst of this we hosted a full on fancy schmancy fun party, I think we had a really lovely break. We made cozy food and watched movies. We let Eliot hang out in his jammies all day. We languished. We read books. We spoiled Nicholas and held him far too much and just kissed all over him.

Due to the fact we don't have a winter like this too often, our local government is completely incapable of getting rid of all the snow and ice when it hits so severely. And I kind of dig that. Every 2 or 4 years, we get buried. We pretend we live somewhere that has a "real" winter. And we hole up. There is something sort of glorious about HAVING to be out of commission.