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Matters of the Heart in Story Format – Tales of a Vancouver Girl

Category: Vancouver

My Newest Fitness Finds

It is HOT in Vancouver. I went out for a run today and nearly melted. I was very good though and slathered myself up in sunscreen. I’m sure if anyone tried to hug me, I’d shoot up in the air ten feet from being so greased up.

SUNSCREEN!

Speaking of which! I found the most awesome sunscreen today: Coppertone Oil-free Mousse in SPF 60.

spf 60

 

YES. MOUSSE! It was so easy to spread around on my skin and the greatest part is that it will protect your skin for 80 minutes of sweaty activity. Just thought I’d share in case anyone was looking for sunscreen.

JUMP ROPING

In other news, I’ve taken up jump roping. I was sucking the first time I tried it with 30 repetitions at most. But now I’m doing sets of 100, which sounds more impressive than it really is.  Essentially, my upper body is very still, and I jump very low to the ground.

jumprope

This guy explains it well: http://www.builtlean.com/2010/08/06/learn-how-to-jump-rope-like-a-pro-7-tips/

The jumping has tighten up my calves, hip, and inner thighs. It made me absolutely crazy in yoga, but it has given me so much power in my running. Tradeoff.

FITNESS APP

After eating my way through San Francisco, I returned home and started counting calories. I’m doing this to reset and remind my body what it’s like to eat like a healthy person. I don’t go about it in a way where I think, “I need to consume less calories!” In fact, my approach with it is, “I hope I’m getting enough of everything I need.” With this mindset, I’ve been making really good choices and have been eating a LOT of vegetables. I also make sure I eat my fats… the good kind like avocado’s and nuts. It’s been two weeks of this, and I feel AWESOME.

I’m using the My Fitness Pal app on my iPhone, however, they also have a website where you can track your activity. Best of all, it’s FREE! I like free stuff!

myfitnesspal

 

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Take a chance: Put that toilet paper roll in backwards

I was in a three-day managerial course this past week and one of the bigger lessons was that every person has a threshold of what they consider to be an acceptable level of risk. My instructor recommends increasing our risk tolerance via baby steps. If we make a intentional choice to take a chance on something in life, it’ll make us a little more bold and vulnerable (in a good way). Don’t be afraid to fail. Clearly, don’t do anything that would harm yourself.

Change it up. Change my route home.

Change it up. Changed my route home and snapped this lovely pic.

Well, I can identify with this lesson. I am the type of person that will rip apart inches and inches of knitting just because I’ve twisted a stitch. Nathan has left the house with me quietly knitting on the couch, only to return to me with unravelled work in my laps and an explosion of ramen-like yarn all over the living room.

When I was knitting Nathan a sweater a few years back, he and I decided that I should put in an intentional mistake in the sweater. It made me crazy knowing that an intentional mistake was there, but you know what? I have no idea where it is now.

So go out there and increase your risk tolerance. Put your toilet paper roll in backwards, change your route home, buy a coffee for the next person in line…who knows what it may bring. Meditate on that.

Core: As challenging as walking and eating a burrito

I was sweating all over the place in my Flow yoga class this morning. I woke up at at 20 minutes before class was supposed to start, and almost gave up on going. Nathan said he would drive me though. So NICE! I was still groggy  when I rolled into class with my bed head. My meditation felt good though since I was rushing and anxious. I do not recommend rushing to a yoga class. It made me feel uneasy and almost neurotic.

I think my body was pretty tired this class as I threw in running, swimming, and another yoga class earlier this week. Both yoga classes were focused on core, but I don’t mean core-specific poses. It was more like, Warrior 1? Where’s your core? Warrior 2? Where’s your core? Handstand? Where’s your core? You get the picture.

I don’t think I really knew what someone meant when they said, “Engage your core!” I do now though. It’s like your core is in Angry Cat in all your poses, but you have to keep your shoulders open and relaxed. I find it’s as challenging as walking and eating a burrito at the same time. Salsa ALL over the place.

This is angry cat pose

This is angry cat pose

What’s funny is that I feel like my body is curving in like a C…but it’s not actually the case, I’m just so used to having my body curve the other way where open shoulders is my priority, and core is secondary.

My hamstrings are tight, I think from the running + swimming. When we did our shoulder stand and moved into plow pose, I could feel my hammies pulling more than I’m used to.

This is plow pose. Does it look like a plow to you?

This is plow pose. Does it look like a plow to you?

When I left the studio, I walked by this quaint little courtyard that looks like it needs some Summer or something.

Quaint little courtyard

Quaint little courtyard…but it looks like it needs some Summer or something.

Soon enough, little courtyard! Stay in the moment. Namaste!

Like a hen revolting

I finished knitting my Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater during the last Stitch ‘n Bitch! My sweater held my fellow stitchers hostage until I seamed up the sleeves (I crocheted the seam) and weaved in the ends. Basically, the stitchers starved with me (living off vending machine food) or fended off a husband until I was 100% finished. We were on the brink of madness.

If you don’t know who Elizabeth Zimmerman was, she was essentially a knitting guru who always had an awesome tips about sweater proportions, construction, and more. This particular sweater is called the Hand-to-Hand sweater.

Wearing it proud!

Wearing it proud! This is the back of the sweater…if you can’t tell.

If you’ve never knitted from an Elizabeth Zimmerman “pattern”, what you should know is that it isn’t your typical pattern. She speaks more of general construction of sweaters, and she might give you stitch patterns, but she basically lets you figure out specific techniques. It’s akin to someone telling you how a bridge is constructed but it’d be your job as an engineer to figure out the appropriate materials, techniques for creation, etc.

fisherman's front

Front of the sweater!

I actually have the “pattern” to this sweater in one of my Elizabeth Zimmerman books. It is only two or three pages in large font. I think I read those paragraphs for 4 hours over the span of a few days before even starting because I am paranoid about failure.

I was like a proud little hen walking around in my sweater. I was like a hen that has somehow taken over reign of the yard by wrestling the rooster to the ground and revolting. I basically feel as though I stuck it to the man in some way.

It was a wet spring day in Vancouver today and this sweater was all I wore. I mean, I wore pants and all, but I didn’t wear a jacket. I’m really glad it’s made of Fisherman’s Wool. It’s slightly water repellant, and I know it to be wet-dry-warm.

I am clucking over here.

That duck’s gonna pop some tags

I took Easter Monday off from work and decided to hang with Mother Nature. She’s been complaining that we do not spend quality time together. She’s been waking me up by putting the sun in my eyes, flaunting her fantastic weather and not caring if I notice (but really hoping I notice)…actually, I think Mother Nature might be a cat.

I headed out for a morning run. It was HOT out and I nearly melted because I was running hills. When I say “running”, I mean, “sluggishly putting one lead leg in front of the other and knowing that an ant is probably beating me.”

I spotted plenty of cherry blossoms on my “run” and the trees are starting to look like they have been frosted with pink icing.

Frosting on tree-shaped cupcakes

Frosting on tree-shaped cupcakes

Are you sick of hearing about these cherry blossoms? Well, gotta warn you, they will likely last for 2 more weeks. So hold your breath until then, and then make a wish.

I also ran by this house which I think is amazing.

EASTER!

EASTER!

During the last leg of my run, I ran into some squirrels playing. They were chasing each other across the street and back again. I actually laughed aloud. Probably looked like a crazy person since I was sweaty, dishevelled and laughing to myself. I ran into the house to get walnuts, but they were gone when I got back outside. I kept the nuts in my pants (ha ha – I’m immature) but I never did run into them again.

Come back! I have nuts to give. No, not that kind.

Come back! I have nuts to give. No, not that kind.

After lunch, Nathan and I loaded up the car with our lawn chairs and headed to a park by the river. He took a nap in the sun while I knitted. The ducks were floating by. One of them was quacking loudly and yelling at its posse. I could be wrong, and it could just be floating by and singing Mackelmore’s Thrift Shop. It’s gonna pop some tags. I am having a heck of a time getting that song out of my head.

knitting by the river

Take me to the river, drop me in the water…well, actually, don’t. Wet clothes are not comfortable.

Also stopped by my father-in-law’s house. Look at the size of the flowers on this plant.

Amazing blossoms

Amazing blossoms

The man has a green thumb.

The Glory of Spring with Taco’s and Woodward’s

At lunch on Thursday, Mofia and I went for a walk in lovely Gastown and passed by the old Woodward’s building. This old building holds many memories for me. Three generations of my family had been going to Woodward’s until it closed its door in 1993.

IMG_0634

Snapped a shot of Woodward’s in the glory of Spring

Christmas at Woodward’s was a big deal. Its windows were decorated with automated bears, reindeer, elves, Santa and more. On the floor with the toys and children’s wear is where you could visit Santa and tell him what you wanted for Christmas. I don’t remember what I’ve asked for, but I do remember getting my grape-flavored lollipop.

There are still bits and pieces of Woodward’s floating around. My mom has yarn in her stash that she’s bought from Woodward’s. Those are some old skeins. Maybe when I see her next, I’ll give those skeins a big whiff and take a trip down memory lane.

After our little walk, Mofia and I sat ourselves down underneath a cherry blossom tree, basked in the glory of Spring, and ate taco’s.

Basking in the sun underneath cherry blossoms

Basking in the sun underneath cherry blossom

Hell hath no fury like a man who’s had his burrito stolen

Ronaldo and I ventured out for food during the work day, and we happened upon a place called Padre Tacos in Bentall Centre. This little hole in the wall serves Korean-inspired Mexican food. Ronaldo got a Seaweed Taco (which is really a burrito), and it was made with a tortilla, seaweed, spanish rice, cheese, bulgogi beef, lettuce, tomato’s, and cucumbers.

Image

I’mma eat you!

We thought it’d taste bizarre, but I snuck two bites when Ronaldo was looking at his monitor and it was amazing. If he does CSI on my teeth marks, I’m in trouble. Hell hath no fury like a man who’s had his burrito stolen.

I was chatting with my iBff, 6pence2life, (that’s Internet Best friend forever. Everybody needs ones), and told her of this amazing concoction. The following conversation ensued…

6pence2life: Dammit. Now I want a burrito!

Me: It’s all Ronaldo’s fault.

6pence2life: Yeah, tell him he sucks. Hahaha!

Me: Ok, I did. When I told him, he picked up his burrito and started petting it.

6pence2life: If I worked there, he would be petting a ransom photo of the burrito.

This made me bust my gut, which gave me more room for that oddly delicious little donkey (aka burrito).

Two KMs is far when you know Teegan is at her desk eating a burger

After work, Jake, Tegan, Jon and I went out for our run by the seawall. The cherry blossoms are just starting to bloom, and it was a warm 12 degrees celsius. This all equates to hurdling over some tourists who are practically lying on the ground on the wall. Yeah, I’m not sure why they choose to live so dangerously. Being trampled by runners, rollerbladers, and cyclists is not a glorious way to go.

Cherry blossoms almost in full bloom. Can you spot the moon in the first pic?

Cherry blossoms almost in full bloom. Can you spot the moon in the first pic?

We ran further than we did before. Teegan, Jake and Jon are training for the Vancouver Sun Run, an upcoming 10k race (April 21st). I’m not training for anything, I log these miles for fun. We ran a little over 8km today, so I think they are ready for the race. We basically made it to the other side of the wall and looked back at our starting point.

On the other side of the wall.

On the other side of the wall.

For awhile, Teegan and Jake were running behind Jon and me. When it was time to turn around and head back, Teegan, with the bum knee, whooped our butts, and we lost sight of her. She was booking it back to the starting point. I’d like to think that she is chasing the burger that she’s been craving since … all the time, actually.

Jake was keeping his pace, and each time Jon and I looked back, good ol’ trusty Jake was right behind us. We joked that he was becoming hardcore, enjoying himself, and smoking a cigarette as he ran.

Partway back to the office, I started to get tired. I let out a sigh to loosen up, and Jon turns to me and says, “We’re almost there!” I think he wanted me to strangle him (kidding). There was two more kilometres to go, which is VERY far, when your legs are like lead and you know that Teegan is probably already sitting at her desk eating a burger.

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I am currently wondering why our runs always end with 3 small hills. Also, why is it that I think this is fun again? (Haha)

Stop and hear the birds sing, and smell the soap!

I tore down the stairs to leave this house to get to work. I was hurrying. When I got outside, I stopped dead in my tracks. The sound! The birds are back. It is Spring! I recorded them singing. This is a must-hear. It’s like white-noise. Perhaps, that’s what the license plates in British Columbia should say, “The place where white noise is made!”

[audio http://yourlisten.com/channel/content/16964453/birds_in_spring]

(if the player doesn’t show, it’s just a link to the site of where I’ve uploaded the sound clip)

I stood very still by the front door and watched them sing and flutter about in my Japanese Maple tree. They looked and sounded so joyous that my heart began to soar. They sang, I called to them, they called back. I looked up in the tree and one of them looked at me curiously and continue to sing its little song. He was the most adorable black-capped chickadee.

maple in fall

This is my Japanese Maple tree in the Fall. So for this blog entry, imagine it completely naked. Keep it PG, people.

Didn’t take very  much for me to stop and smell the roses…or in my case, stop and listen to the birds sing.

When I got into work, I saw a little package on my keyboard from Teegan. So lovely! At first I thought it was a cookie, which excited me. Then, I found out it was lavender soap, which actually excited me more. If you know me, you know I have a lavender and soap obsession.

Lavender Soap from Teegan

Lavender Soap from Teegan. I love surprises…the good kind and not the bad kind like “Surprise, your goldfish died”

Teegan had stopped by Whole Foods on the way to work and somehow ended up in the soap aisle talking to a guy who uses the lemongrass-scented version. He works at the liquor store and often overhears, “That dude? Yeah, he smells good!” Teegan apparently started to lose track of time. She was getting sucked into the allure of Whole Foods until she snapped out it, “What am I doing? I have to go to work!” I’m glad she got to stop and smell the soap this morning though.

It was sunny in Vancouver, although, still a bit cold. I took a shot of the mountains from the office. You can see that it’s snowing up there. I was lucky enough to capture the birds flying across the water. They seem so happy to be back.

Snowing on the mountains. Cloudless evening sky.

Snowing on the mountains. Cloudless evening sky.

The weather remained clear into the evening, and I snapped a shot of the moon against the cloudless sky near Harbour Centre.

Daffodils: “Winter ain’t no thang!”

Beautiful day in Vancouver. Daffodils greeted me on my way to the skytrain station. Did you know that daffodils return each spring? They survive through winter, and then bloom into their bright happy selves as if winter ain’t no thang. There’s a spiritual lesson in that, I’m sure.

Image

Good morning, daffodils!

Nathan and I headed off to the yoga studio after work and my favourite teacher, Sveena, was teaching. Sveena is VERY technical. She’ll get as nitty gritty as down to the position of your fingers. You could be in down dog, and she’ll say, “You’re over-stretching your pinky.” Although, that may sound completely ridiculous to someone who does not do yoga, it makes a world of difference in releasing strain from one’s hands.

I’ve been under her tutelage for 4 years now. She rarely adjusts me anymore. She’ll tell me, “Your left elbow needs to..” and before she even gets to finish her sentence, I’ve already adjusted: unlocked and hugged in my arms. There are a lot of half-finished sentences for me in Sveena’s classes. If I could collect them all and make them into fridge magnets, I’m pretty sure I could arrange them in a way that would make a funny Mad-Libs type story.

I did have some troubles finding my core in plank today. Sveena came over, gently touched my back (where my core is), and I corrected myself.

Image

A time when my plank felt right and not so weird. This was taken during a hike a few years ago. I’m using it to drink out of a stream.

Funny thing is, I thought it was lower than where it really was. Even more odd, I went into a wall-less headstand and knew exactly where my core was and remained in this position for 10 long breaths. I typically have a hard time finding my core upside down, and no problems finding it right side up. Which in hindsight is interesting, since the core has to be engaged in the same way in whatever pose you’re in. Only difference is perspective. There has got to be a spiritual lesson in that that I can take off the mat.

So, two main spiritual lessons today…but I’m beginning to think that they’re the same lesson in different forms.

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