Nov 29, 2011

om (and all that other stuff)

Posted by Mary |

One of these days, I will finish posting all the tales from India. Since it’s been almost a year, those stories are long overdue. Instead of glorious stories of vomit both real and fake, I’m checking in with an update.

Beau and I decided to spend Thanksgiving with family. The nearest family we could find was 10 hours away, but that didn’t deter us. We took a quick overnight rest break in Anchorage, and arrived in Homer around 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. His father and stepmother built a house there and finally moved into it in the fall. One of his sisters was there with her family when we arrived, and we had the traditional holiday meal.

On a side note: I’m not sure if I just try too hard to be an iconoclast, but the trappings and finery of holiday traditions bore me. Given the chance, I try to ignore them. I tried to avoid Christmas by going to New Zealand one year, though we ended up at a strange hostel party regardless. That same year, I also hosted Bollywood Thanksgiving, as a way to honor the other Indians. We made a Ganesh in our Lite Brite coffeetable. And last year, India proved an excellent way to dodge Christmas, as no one even blinked an eye on December 25.

While in Homer, I did my best to support the local economy by visiting a winery, brewery and meadery. It was a trifecta of alcoholism. Beau and I also met up with an old friend from Fairbanks for a drink, and watched far too much television. There’s a reason why I don’t want cable. On the drive back to Anchorage, I picked out the spot for our dream retirement house and we discussed architectural features and long-range timelines for making retirement happen.

On Sunday, I had a hot, sweaty date with a yoga studio. I spent 90 minutes in a dimly lit room, contorting my body and sweating more that I thought possible. There’s a reason why that studio has showers for its students. The class was the culmination of a personal 30-day yoga challenge I had set for myself. For a solid month, I did some form of yoga every day. I had my regular hot yoga class through UAF. I attended the Saturday community yoga group. I dropped in on yogalates, Kundalini and restorative classes at a local studio. I practiced at home. I stayed consistent.

One doesn’t just enter into 30 days of yoga lightly, and I had a goal in mind. I was testing out the waters, and I decided to take the plunge. This spring, I will be getting my yoga teacher certification. It’s not going to be easy: The nearest training is in Anchorage, so I will be driving down there for 9 weekends spread out over 4 months. So on top of the cost of certification, there will be gas and hotel expenses. Still, I’m confident this is a good move for me.

Nov 9, 2011

weekends and winnings

Posted by Mary |

I got an extra hour over the weekend. It's not that I'm a time-traveler or that the universe likes me best. Everyone who observes daylight savings also got an extra hour, but I'm pretty sure most people I know used it to sleep. Or play Minecraft. Not naming any names. (Beau)

After popping out of bed all bright and chipper at 8 a.m. (technically, 7 a.m.) on Sunday, I had to figure out what to do with myself. When you're a morning person living with a night person, you spend a lot of time figuring out what to do with yourself. I'm certain that our relationship will improve once we buy a bigger house so that I can move around in it without making too much noise in the mornings. But on Sunday morning, I decided to mosey down to the fabric store and buy myself some supplies. Once I was suitably equipped, I returned home and set myself to learning to knit.

I sew. There's no secret there. I made my own wedding dress (technically, I made two of them). I sew my own clothes frequently. But knitting is not a skill I ever acquired as a youngster. And while it's true that we'll be able to steal lots of sweaters after the apocalypse, eventually the never-ending supply of haute couture will, in fact, end. And then what will we wear? So I was going to learn how to knit.

It couldn't be too hard. I mean, I had bought a book. And yarn. And needles. Easy-peasy. Sort of. But line drawings in books don't accurately convey the complexities of the knit or the purl stitches, so I turned to the Internet. A few YouTube videos, and I was good to go. I seemed to have picked up some pretty advanced techniques, because after just a few rows, my 20 stitches had become 23. I'm now working on what is sure to be the world's ugliest scarf. Every time I decide to try a new pattern, I just hop right in. It's like I have yarn-induced ADD. On the bright side, my husband is contractually obliged to wear anything I make him.

The "winning" in the title has nothing to do with knitting, however. Yesterday I got a suspicious e-mail telling me I was a winner. Instead of being from a Nigerian widow, it was actually from the writer of a finance blog I read. A few weeks ago, the blog hosted a contest, and I idly posted a comment to enter. Ka-ching. $50 Amazon gift card. They already sent me the code, so now I'm carefully assessing my multiple wishlists, trying to figure out how to best spend this windfall. (Where was this two weeks ago when I ordered a bunch of books?)

I'm pretty sure one of the things I order will be this book. I've been half-heartedly meaning to give canning a try, and surely buying a book will propel me into action. (See above, re: knitting) Plus, canning is just another way to build that post-apocalyptic survival skill set. As I told a friend,

"Lavender plum compote" will be worth a lot of bullets
when the only food we have left is pilot bread.