Monday, March 29, 2010

Adventures in Gardening

Three of my blueberry plants arrived!!!

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They arrived like this in their box from Waters Blueberry Farm in Smithville, MO. 

Also, my husband is a genius! He found a great alternative to the overpriced 20-gallon plant containers at Lowe’s (although these may not last as long, they were one-eighth the price)! He drilled holes in the bottom and covered them with screen. Then, we filled them with rocks, more screen, peat moss (blueberries like peat moss) and added water. This is me stirring the peat moss to evenly distribute the water.

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Rob also geniusly made us a worm farm for our yet-to-be-ordered worms – for composting, you see. He attached this faucet to the lower container to drain the liquid fertilizer and he drilled holes in the upper one and glued screen and is making it a very happy place for worms to live. I know he loves me when he puts his genius problem-solving skills to use in things that I want to do – gardening and vermiculture…  *sigh* He’s so awesome!

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I am getting SO excited about the food coming this season! I was thumbing through my recipes and can’t wait to make things with my fresh tomatoes, mountains of zucchini, and lemon blueberry cobbler with a little cardamom in the topping… I can not wait! Gone will be the boring meat dishes, soups, and whatever was trucked up from Mexico! Garden to table, here I come!

Okay, the dishes we had this winter were not all that boring, but the prospect of fresh produce makes everything else seem lame.

Here’s an amazing breakfast we had this weekend!

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It’s venison sausage (yes, hunted is free range), classic french toast (unsweetened – just eggs, milk, flour, salt, and pepper). We topped it with roasted cinnamon/sugar apples, chopped pecans (native to Abilene), and fresh whipped cream (yes, I whipped it – it’s soooo worth the five minutes!)

I love food!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Since I've Been Back

Channel Kelly Clarkson's "Since You've Been Gone" when you read the title of this post. That way, you'll get the full effect. You may also use your pen as an air microphone.... like I was NOT just doing... er... anyway...

As life is just now settling back to normal and I'm lamenting that it takes two whole weeks for life to settle back to normal, here's an update of what I've done since I've been baaaaack... Yea, yea!

Rob is a wonderful husband and he bought me this little greenhouse to start my seeds! And I made cute labels. I know, they're awesome.


And here's the seeds now!!!! The tri-color zucchini are the tall ones. I'm planting them in the ground today.


And since I really really missed cooking in Costa Rica, I made cupcakes, baked bread, and relished the chopping vegetables and prepping dinner. It's like meditation - so peaceful, just me, my cutting board, knife, and food.

I also attended Rebecca's beautiful baby shower! A very classy affair at Messina Hof, the choclate mousse cake was so smooth and rich that I couldn't finish it! And believe me, I tried!

I also got to hang out with the Howard Family clan and visit Martin's new abode. I am in love with his bricked stove! What a fun idea!


When we got back to Abilene, Rob (what a man!) tilled the space we're using for a garden. With a freeze looming, we waited to plant. I'm so excited! I hope everything grows and produces a lot! I'm very excited about great-tasting fresh veggies!


PLUS, my BLUEBERRY plants are arriving this week!!! I can't wait! I'll be keeping them in pots so I can take them with us when and where we move. I'm also getting a fig tree because it seemed cool. The blueberries should be fruiting this year, but the fig won't until next. Fresh blueberries!!! Divine!

I'm also excited because I'll be taking over the yoga class at Dyess AFB (Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:30!). I really like it when people enjoy yoga and hopefully, I'll get them to have a "click" moment where they understand a pose they might have problems with and actually start to enjoy it! Right now, we're starting on enjoying downward facing dog.

So, downdog is one of my very favorite poses. I could hang out there forever and be happy. But, I see lots of people do it wrong and have that look on their face that says, "when are we moving into the next pose??!" And people complain of wrist pain. Well, hopefully I can get them to where they do it right - easing the wrist pain and illiminating it when the wrists get stronger... and making it a happy place, rather than an uncomfortable transition pose. This is my first goal.

I'm also working on some super fun playlists for yoga class and loving Ben Harper's cover of "Steal My Kisses." Plus, I'm determined to throw in "La Grange" and Aerosmith's "Cryin'" for fun in sun salutations.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

En Route

Now, I’m sitting in the San Jose airport, happy American Airlines gives me a boarding pass so I can go through security when I arrive. This is the line for security. Keep in mind, it is long INSIDE the airport. When I followed it and it led outside I was surprised; when I saw it continued outside for 3 blocks, I was astonished!

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Me being astonished.

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Now at the gate, check out my view as I type! Nice, huh? I also purchased some chocolate with my last Costa Rican money. Mmm, chocolate and this view. Love it.

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Bus Adventure

Our ride to San Jose went smoothly at first. The weather was nice – we were a little bitter that the sun came out as we were driving away… oh well.

We were aware that our trip MIGHT be impeded by a bridge that is closed during rainy weather. Well, it was! Instead of 3 hours, our trip suddenly jumped to over 5. Alright, girls, get settled!

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We enjoyed the mountain scenery and the misty mysteriousness that shrouded each turn and view. It was an ear-popping visual delight as it got dark and the smell of brakes became stronger. Eventually, we thought it might be the clutch. Regardless, our bus could only manage 10mph once out of the mountains and just outside of San Jose. I think he was in denial for about 45 minutes as cars passed us at increasing speeds. Finally, he stopped the bus on the side of the road on the outskirts of San Jose.

Haley and Liz embracing the delay.

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The other bus picked up as many as could fit and the rest of us (who didn’t mind a little bus adventure) got out to get something to eat. We were SO hungry and decided to stop at the first place we saw… which turned out to be this go kart sports bar place! (no, no one go-karted, but we watched and cheered). We all agreed it was a little ironic that the first place we saw served American food. They accommodated us nicely and everyone was happy being full.

We brought the bus driver back a sandwich and were really glad we all ate, because the other bus was longer to return than planned and then, since ours wasn’t fixed, they had to unload our bags from the roof and transfer them to the other bus! They were smart about it, though and pulled up close, simply passing the bags to the next bus. After another hour just hanging out on our broken bus, we were loaded and ready to continue!

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About 10:15, we rolled up to the hotel weary from our bus adventure!

Last Days

Our lat few days were filled with fun, friends, rain, and the most mosquitoes I’ve ever seen! I actually inhaled one a few times. When I moved, I saw at least four alight from me. We ate while fanning our faces, not because we were hot, but so that mosquitoes wouldn’t land on our faces! It was bad.

On a lighter note, here’s picture of me with the amazing breakfast that I LIVED for every day! Of course, I lived for more than that, but it was a tough call. I LOVE breakfast! The fresh bread, spread with buttery cream cheese and topped with cinnamon banana jam was heavenly! Wow, my whole mouth just filled with saliva! :-)

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On Friday, the place we stayed threw us a party! There was a band, dancing, great food, CAKE and ICE CREAM, and even pina coladas! So fun! It was a great celebration for all our hard work.

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The beach walk into town.

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A few of us walked into Cahuita again, mainly for the ATM (the nearest ATM is a 45 minutes walk away!) Yes, we could call a taxi, but why? when we have perfectly good legs and time. While there, we partook in an evil vice… not only a horrible thing to put in one’s body, but an evil corporation that must be stopped! We’re such rebels…

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This is the flower that smells so good outside our window.

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This is the walk from our room to the yoga room.

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The yoga room is open air on the second floor. We also had some classes or watched some yoga movies downstairs where there’s a chair and projector.

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Our last breakfast was pancakes!! Pancake day. mmmmm. And this was our last meal at Goddess Garden – the best refried beans EVER, guacamole, barley, and gazpacho! Delicioso!

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We said goodbye to Goddess Garden amid a barrage of mosquito bites. I brought just a travel-sized thing of bug spray and a full tube of sunscreen. I used the sunscreen once, finished my travel-sized bug spray, bought another bottle of bug spray, and USED the ENTIRE bottle before we left! We were all kind of amazed with the little buggers. And none of want to think of all the toxins we absorbed between spraying ourselves down multiple times a day and breathing in mosquito coils during yoga practice. Oh well.

Our trip from Cahuita to San Jose is a whole different post – stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Attack of the Mold!

So, we’ve been battling the mold a little every day now. It was sunny yesterday, but only for a few hours. It rains a LOT here, in case you couldn’t tell. I’m living in the most humidity I ever even imagined! It’s like it’s about to rain ALL THE TIME!

So, here’s the latest bout.

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Don’t worry, it brushes right off, but it’s still gross. And don’t worry, I’m not a ridiculous packer – I have to look nice (business casual-ish) in order to fly standby and (hopefully) sit in first class. But because I certainly don’t need these shoes, they’ve sat in one place and sprouted.

Another casualty was my pair of jeans.

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I sent these to the laundry and they came back renewed. But now I’m checking everything daily because there’s a few things that just sit on the shelf (like jeans) or hang (like my black coat – it is winter after all!) that are at risk.

We all wish it would just be sunny! I’m a little surprised mold isn’t growing in my hair because it’s always damp. Oh well. Just a byproduct of getting to live in this BEAUTIFUL forest!

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Teaching

I taught! Well, I guess I’ve already taught 5 yoga classes in Abilene for subbing (one entirely on the fly). But now that I know more, I am teaching better!  I just finished my second teaching class today! So now, I can sit back and coast, learning from others! Ahhhh.

As part of our training, we teach two hour-fifteen-minute classes and get critiqued by our students and by our two teachers. It’s really wonderful for helping one improve because there’s a lot of things you do without even realizing it. Plus, it’s much better feedback than someone simply not coming back to your class!

Our teachers here want to work on our language and keep yoga more refined. Therefore, we are not to say “butt,” “those,” or sound in any way like an aerobics instructor. Additionally, speaking in commands, rather than “and now we are going to lift our heads…” brings more authority to one’s teaching (and eliminates pronoun confusion – whose head? our head? do we share a head? …you see what I mean.)

Anyway, I got some great feedback and I know that my instruction will only get better with practice. It’s still a little nerve-racking, but I talk myself down by saying, “hey, this is your job! do you get nervous when you go to work? no… so go to work!” It helped today. Everyone says I don’t seem nervous at all – but I know my teaching is FAR better with less nerves.

I’ve got some great stock phrases for you! Some of these I’m totally adding to my bag of tricks and some are just fun!

Imagine your sternum is the spine of a book and your ribs the pages. Use your shoulder blades to push the pages back opening the spine of the book.

Soften and melt between the shoulder blades.

Float back to chaturanga (push up position).

Windmill the arms.

Rainbow the arms.

Inhale like you’re breathing in the smell of chocolate.

Support the muscles with the breath.

Breathe into your neck, hips, arms, etc.

Bring your awareness to your hamstrings, IT band, latissimus dorsi, etc.

Spiral the back foot to the floor, squaring the hips, inhale and lift into virabhadrasana I.

Sweep through to cobra, opening the heart.

Exhale, hollow the belly and swan dive to forward fold.

Microbend your knees.

Take it to your edge, but don’t jump over.