Monday, April 14, 2014

Let's Play Catch-up...

Gah - seems like forever!! But a lot has been going on. 


AliveCor device
Well. Second "major episode" or "breakthrough" - whatever you want to call it - of a-fib within a month and I now sport a new piece of equipment. This is it. It's a cell phone, yes, but that dohickey on the back? It's a portable ECG. I have an app (free) and this device (not free) and the cell phone will let me take an ECG in real time and e-mail it to the doc. I just have to get that part set up. It's apparently "just like" the ECG I take in the office, per my doc. So the phone was $50 and the device was a little over $200 - but still - at that point, it's easier to do that than run to the ER. The phone had to be either an Apple or Android, so I chose Android -- there's (a) my extreme dislike of all things Apple; and (b) the price. I mean really - the Samsung Galaxy has a lovely camera, and it runs this stuff, and it's $50.... I don't need a pricey status-phone to take a reading and send an e-mail.

The doc says I'm "most likely" to have the atrial ablation procedure done "sooner rather than later" and he's given me an additional Rx. The most pleasant of the side effects of this med is a week-long headache... But that seems to have resolved itself. Now, if the swelling of feet/hands and the tummy upsets would resolve? I'd be a happy bunny. 

So if this is a repeat, I'm sorry. Chalk it up to "yoga brain" and the nagging headache. Actually, the yoga helped...


Tias explains shoulder girdle
This was my last "intensive" for my 200 hour certification; a weekend with Tias Little, and the subject was The Fluid Body. Lest you think that's all yoga-y - it recognizes the fact that we are actually mostly water... We learned about dream states, meditation, learned chant, and of course practiced. And practiced. And practiced.

Since I was still adjusting to the new Rx, I had to do "chair yoga." But let me tell you, it's not your granny's chair yoga. All that meant was that (a) I did not do full inversions [going upside down] and (b) in folds, I only went half-way. I am prohibited by virtue of the heart thing and migraines from actually DOING headstand, shoulder stand and a few of the other inversions. I can do some modified ones, but since dizziness is also a side effect of this Rx, they and I chose safety over ego. 

Quite honestly, I was prepared to be a little reserved. I wasn't jazzed at the cost of the training. I wasn't jazzed that I had heard he was "a rock star." And I wasn't jazzed that the thing was 4 days long. 

But I am now apologizing. Yes, he was treated like "a rock star" complete with an assistant who gazed at him like his every word hung the moon. And some of my classmates were just agog. But... Honestly, he knows his stuff. He is more down-to-earth than I thought he was. And he clued me in to the greatest hand massage I have ever had! He was concerned (I felt, actually concerned, not just for looks) that I was safe in the class, and thanked me for the times I was able to assist students. 

The training was at the Morton Arboretum, and except for the last day, the weather was lovely. They did warn us, however, that we needed to stay on the paved paths -- ticks are nasty. 

Shoulder stand
This batch of shoulder stands was done in the main room we had. We did have to go to another room, because somehow a wedding got booked in the midst of our training. But as the studio owner said, "We're Yogis - we go with the flow." I got some good tips on shoulder stand for my own students, and maybe at some point, when everything settles down with me in regard to my health, I'll give that a shot. 

As far as headstand? No. Not gonna happen. I know. Mr. Iyengar does headstand and he's 97 years old or something like that. Fine. 

I just agree with my neurologist who thinks that nobody over age 35 needs to do headstand -- unless (my part) they've been practicing it. 

New perspectives...
Headstand isn't really all on your head - it requires tremendous control of your core and significant shoulder strength. And I don't have either. It's considered "The King of Poses" and can be very relaxing, I'm told. My own teacher here in town loves this inversion. I already know I would need an awful long time to even attempt it. Shoulder stand, possibly. Headstand? Not likely. 

Anyway, the training was good, all in all. I'm beat. My brain is tired. I have a bunch of new stuff for my students (and myself) and as I was doing my sequence for teaching tonight, I had to tell myself several times, "You can't teach it all to them in one night!" 

As it is, we're learning 2 new poses: Gate pose and Moon Salute. That will be enough. It's BASIC for a reason. I don't think they're physically ready for some of it anyway. Lots of shoulder opening stuff this past weekend, and I can tell you that the students I have - probably most of them aren't there yet. Heck, I'm still working on easing my own shoulders. 

Adjustment of Dog
As you can see here, there's a different adjustment for Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog). We learned one in training that could be very dicey to do in a class. I like this with the shoulders better. This is my friend D (another D - not knitting D) being adjusted by my new friend V. Look at D's line - isn't it lovely? She's worked very hard to get her shoulders open, and really, she's an inspiration to me to get my own butt moving. Or shoulders. 

Now, all I have to do is finish the script and line up my "models" for the DVD I'm doing on "Yoga for Hands." Then I can submit everything for the final check and I'm in line to get my certification this year. 


So of course, I brought knitting. The Pink Sock, because I knew I had about 1 or 2 inches more on the leg, and it can take a long time. I knitted during lunch breaks. I usually like to eat lightly when I'm in training. I broke that rule once during the training and I'd paid for it by that afternoon's practice!

This is Pink Sock in one of staircases (it was chilly one day)... in the little project bag. I got quite a bit done, and I really think I'm about 1/2" or less to turning the heel. 
On the steps

Nobody much blinked at my knitting. So from Thursday - Sunday, I had Pink Sock with me. I know - I didn't adhere to the proscribed list, but you know what? 

I'm a Yogi - I go with the flow. Ha... There's no way I'd take the afghan to this training. As it is, I finally wised up and brought a huge roll-y suitcase because we had to haul the following: Mat, 2 blankets, strap, 2 blocks - and I'm telling you that takes up a load of room. 

Others, more experienced than I, had roll-y cases or in one or two instances, those things you see in old movies where they're hauling their groceries back to their flat - the collapsible metal framed baskets on wheels. 

A couple had bags they hauled - like me. And I still don't know how that one woman did it - the bag was almost as big as she was, and I didn't see wheels on it. 

Anyway, in terms of knitting, Pink Sock is here with me now, but it's late in the day; I'll probably put in a few rows when I get home or after class tonight. It's coming along - I can see progress, even though it's like 100 million billion stitches (with all respect to Carl Sagan). 


Smoothie time!!
Finally, it's spring and it's now Smoothie season again. It's just too cold in the winter to drink those! But also - I have a hint that I gleaned from training. Many Yogis are vegan or at least vegetarian. I'm more a "flexitarian." I like meat. I try to be a conscious shopper and I like to at least know where my food lived. But be that as it may, one of the gals was talking about the smoothies and an ayurvedic philosophy of food. 

Basically, it's something I have also figured out. I need to chew. Humans are hard-wired to chew food. Unless there's something drastically wrong, our brain knows "chew = food" and that enables it to start sending the "I'm hungry" or "I'm full" signals. Drinking your lunch really doesn't do it. 

That being said, what I've tried to do when I'm eating smoothies is to also have a cheese stick and nuts around. Though today I'm still having a "training hangover" and I just ate a candy bar... Anyway, if I chew those things (the nuts and cheese, not the chocolate), I feel as if I've eaten and the smoothie seems to keep me more full. 

Call it a mind trick - this is a LOT of smoothie, but it doesn't necessarily keep hunger away some days. 

My fave
And speaking of candy... I have found the MOST YUMMY of peanut butter cups. I'm not usually a fan. Sorry, but they're too cloying most of the time. Except for these, which are available in milk chocolate and dark chocolate. And they are divine. I have to try to not buy them when I go to the health food store, because the other thing I find is that I really REALLY need to watch sugar. It really is addictive, and on top of that, it just doesn't sit well with my system anymore. 

That being said, if the Easter Bunny stuck this in my basket, I'd be happy. Which SHE won't because she's ME and I've gotten all that done already. I did buy Cadbury eggs (not the big icky ones; those small hard-shell ones) to put around the lamb cake I'm making. But otherwise, the kids and Hubby have candy - I'm abstaining. 


We're all set, I think. We got through Palm Sunday. The Lacrimosa went ok. I think the other alto was too slow in one part -- she thinks I was too fast. And we did miss a bit on one section, but we were good. I left after that to zip up to the last day of Tias training. 

We're having our Easter dinner on Holy Saturday. I have to work, first off, which isn't making me happy. So the Lamb Cake and deviled eggs will be done Friday night. Hubby will do the ham. Kid #2 is bringing Hawaiian rolls, and I have to pull a potica out of the freezer. My sister, I think, is making salad - or my mom is. Anyway, we're having dinner at 5:30 when I get done with work. My mom has parceled out that most people are bringing something. 

And thennnnnnnnnnn --- somehow it didn't hit me right off. Easter Vigil. The choir doesn't do a lot for Holy Week, which seems odd to me. I mean, I'm used to Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Vigil and Easter morning - right on through. But 2 of the sopranos are doing Pie Jesu for Good Friday and I'm doing the Exultet for the Vigil. Which is 10:30 p.m. on Holy Saturday. Then we all as a choir come together to do Easter morning at 10:30 a.m. the next day. 

In my old church, the Vigil was at 7:30 p.m. because the priest was old. In this one - young priest, traditional times. Yikes. I could just sleep in the sacristy, I suppose!! I have to get cracking on that. I've got it about 85% memorized. It's a capella so we shall see how this goes. It's close enough to the Catholic version that I can mostly feel comfortable doing it. 


Everyone's getting along - Huzzah!!! Raisa wants to play and for the most part, they do - not all 3 at once, but in pairs. No heat yet, but it's getting close because Tippi and Quinn are very "sniffy" around her. 

Siberian Husk-cat
She's the star in obedience training and we can't barely get into the door where someone's not stopping us and asking to pet her. Telling her she's gorgeous. Of course, now she's living up to "Raisa" - which is Russian for "Princess." 

Check out the picture. She's getting big and she finally nearly got on the canary's table. She's so quiet that you don't realize she's in trouble till she's already there! 

I think she'll be a good therapy dog. She's already more calm than the normal husky puppy, and if all goes well, I'll have "one in reserve" for the day that Tippi decides it's time to retire her bandana. I don't figure that'll be for a long time yet, but we'll at least have an alternative if I go to places where Tippi doesn't like to go (like hospitals or the like). 

Quinn has settled down in the "big sister" role and Tippi is "mom" again. Raisa likes to greet each of them with sloppy Husky kisses and then she likes to play. They tolerate it well, though we're still leery of the two of them, given the last Big Battle they had. I think it'll be better once Raisa's fixed and as long as we're watching. 

Random Picture...

So you can't be at the Arboretum and not take pictures. It's still early days, but the crocus and the daffodils were up. 

This is a beautiful place. Sadly, no dogs allowed. I mean, I can see that. But for us, it's a hike to get there, and while a bike ride would be awesome, we have parks and trails much closer. 

That being said, just enjoy these two snapshots. The crocus was along the Joy Path, named for the founder of the Arboretum.

The daffodils were naturalized along the way to the education center where we had our training. Their bright faces certainly added to that last day, what with the rain that was falling most of the time we were in the training. I had to pull over on the way in to get a shot of them. I've seen them when they're in their full glory and it's almost beyond words. 

So I'll let the pictures do the talking for now. 

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