Saturday, June 30, 2012

For My Dear Friend

      It was brought to my attention last night, that there may be some cloudiness regarding certain posts I've made on this blog. I shall attempt to clarify.

      First thing I wish to address is my recent trip to my grandparents house in West Virginia. I had a wonderful time up there. I always do, but I want to be closer to them than I am. I haven't been able to move closer due to funding and lack of a job, therefore, I stay where I am for now. Eventually, my husband and I will move closer. We both want out of the south and we both want to be some place where we can see snow, or at least have the opportunity. The destination is still in debate, but we're still contemplating where we'll go after he finishes nursing school.
      I am mainly upset every time I leave my grandparents. I have always cried and been depressed before leaving. That place has been an important aspect of my life since I was 6 years old. It has been a place I have considered "home" since my family started moving around. Moving caused me to have an unstable Idea of home, so I latched onto the idea of that picture above being home. As I get older, it gets harder and harder to leave and return to the real world. I'd move there if I wasn't married. Heck, I almost did move there. I wouldn't have met my husband if I had moved though, due to the fact that it was before my decision to volunteer to go overseas. So, while there are depressed feelings about leaving my northern home, I will always be happy about going there.
      In regards to my pregnancy, that is a little more difficult haha. Of course it is though, it is a pregnancy. Hormones are raging and causing different feelings to course through my body going ten million miles an hour, which results in mood swings that will have anyone spinning. In the beginning, I was shocked and even scared. Mostly, it was due to the fact that neither Zachary, nor I had jobs that were worth a poop. School is to blame for that. Neither of us wanted to go to school part-time because of the fact that it would take longer to complete and prolong getting a job that will ascertain a steady income.
      The blog I wrote about my pregnancy being hard on me, or causing a bit of depression, that was short lived. I think it was more due to the idea of not knowing how to raise a baby in an environment that isn't quite stable. Any pregnant mother would begin to question things in these circumstances. In light of my situation, I used what I was feeling to fuel research for a class paper that I will attempt to actually have published (if I can muster the courage at least). My freelancing class gave me the opportunity to write an article and I just used everyday life to fuel my paper. If I actually submit the article it will be based on my own experience and fueled by research and doctors statements.
      Nevertheless, to clear up any confusion, I am happy about my pregnancy. Granted, I wanted a little girl, but that was mostly due to the fact that my mom kept saying I was bound to have all girls like she did. I guess when you grow up hearing something you tend to want what you hear haha. Having a boy hasn't made me any less excited though. Although, I am hoping he doesn't take after his father and love frogs. Zachary is crazy about them. Either way, "Connor Campbell" will be spoiled. P.S. his name isn't set in stone but we all like the name :).
      Let's see.. what else can I cover to clear things up in this thing. Well, I am going to be a graduate of American Military University with a Bachelors in English as of August 15th but won't be going further into my career training until after I have my baby. I will most likely stay as a substitute teacher for now, unless they offer me a full time job, but I'm not holding my breath. During the spring semester I will be attempting to get my certificate for teaching. I'm not sure how that will go but I feel it will go well. On the other hand, I don't feel that I want to teach for the rest of my life. So this is more of a means to an end than an actual career choice.
       Um, I'm running out of words. Ah, my lacking desire to cook... That has been revamped. Richard, my father-in-law who is the picky eater, has eaten what I've cooked lately and if I make something that he doesn't like... well there is food in the refrigerator. I'm going to start cooking what I want to eat, and like my mom, say if you don't want to eat that then make your own food. I am going to eat what I want. I'm going to cook what I want. Point blank. I love to cook but I want to cook what I want. :) Hooray food.
      Just in case there is any confusion about my husband and my relationship.... fear not. There is no strain or anything. If it weren't for him I probably would have lost it by now haha. He's kept me sane and in good spirits. His parents are in the process of planning a house to be built. If I'm not mistaken, we'll get to stay here in this house and have two rooms for ourselves rather than one tiny one. :) Needless to say, we have plans already for ways to make it our own... even if it is a temporary fix.

  I think that covers it all.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday no yoga

      Today is definitely Friday and it is not a moon day, yet I skipped practice and said I would get to it later. Further throughout the day I felt like poop and not really wanting to do anything. I think the heat is starting to take a toll on me. It was some where around 105 today!! Ugh. It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the humidity outside.
      I've been thinking about my practice, actually today. I want to do further studies about what Ashtanga Yoga is and how it was created. But right now I don't seem to have time to read. I plan on taking some books with me to my two week training in Louisiana for the military since I won't be doing any field training due to pregnancy, but I'll also be writing a fifteen page research paper. I'd say that the reading would be a filler for my down time, but most likely, my down time will be filled with my husbands presence. I'll have to dedicate at least twenty minutes before bedtime to read some books.
       After homework today, I concentrated on a DVD I have by Melanie Fawer. She recorded two DVDs of her giving instructions on Ashtanga Yoga and it really made me think, or at least reconsider some things. I've said before that Ashtanga, the Mysore way, is taught to an individual in steps. Progressing when the teacher feels the student is ready. Fawer's breakdown on her "Practice DVD" was simple and very easy to understand. So I believe that I'm going to step back my practice and really delve into the inner workings of the practice along with a bit of reading each night.
       I may not step back all the way to merely the Sun Salutations but I may step it back to further than Utthita Hasta Padangushtasana (Standing Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose). I haven't fully decided where I will stop yet but I know it will be before this series of poses. I will be keeping document of my progress, or lack thereof, daily for self-documentation and for any who wish to see me progress.
      Also, I plan, starting this Sunday, to begin waking up earlier than I have been. Waking at 7:30 is nice and all but I eat breakfast later and tend to eat lunch later. I don't like this so I'm changing it. Hopefully, I'll be successful.


"40 Alternatives to College" and an Odd Day

      Yesterday was a rather odd day. It was at least 102 degrees by mid-afternoon, I was outside most of the day, and I didn't get to sleep until after 11 pm. Something is quite wrong with me. I used to be in bed by 9 pm sharp and nodding off quickly, and then again I'd be up at 6 o'clock as well. Nowadays, I'm up by 8 and in bed at 10 or later attempting to sleep. I'm not sure what happened really. I blame my husbands knack for sleeping late and staying up later. Well, that and the fact that it appears everyone in this house enjoys sleeping well past 7 am. I just hate having to tip toe around the house to keep from waking anyone.
      Yesterday could also be due to the fact that I had a cup of coffee for the first time in about a week. Nevertheless, I woke up at 7:30 am and started my less-than-half-Primary practice. The flies were BRUTAL out and it was ridiculous. Made for a hard time concentrating inward and paying attention to my breath. The beginning of the practice was spectacular. I finished my Surya Namaskara A & B without much deviation. When I began the rest of the practice, my concentration wavered and I just wanted it to be over. Especially, once I arrived at "Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose" because I just couldn't keep my balance. Ugh. I felt like the woman in the photo.

      After doing working outside though, I decided I would read a book that I wanted to read for just the sake of reading. My choice..... 40 Alternatives to College By James Altucher. Now, I know what you all are going to say, I can hear it now. "College is necessary to having a good job and a fulfilling life," and James takes 36 pages of writing to explain his reasonings for not going to college right out of high school. Very convincing argument I might say. Definitely made me wish I could go back to being 18 and do things differently. Then I remembered, I didn't go to college right out of high school!! I went in to the military and THEN went to college. His choices for alternatives would have been much more fun and less stressful I believe, but then again I am who I am because of my choices.
      James starts his book off answering questions in the chapter "Why Don't Send Your Kids To College?" He gives his speech to both kids and parents as an attempt to explain his reasoning. James went to college and has the ability to give his explanation. He's been in debt from colleges, experienced what he "didn't learn" in college, and therefore, is pretty much the best person to hear this from. It may seem scary, because everyone believes that without college people won't have a fulfilling life or even money to live.
      Honestly, even though researchers say that college graduates make more money than their non-college graduate counterparts I have to say something. They may make more but they also have to pay for more. Colleges are jacking up their prices (as noted by James in his book) and the availability for grants or scholarships is going down tremendously. You have to make a certain amount of money in order to apply for grants and if you surpass this amount (no matter what) then your chances of being awarded are slim to none.
      Moving on, James dictates his reasoning for writing the book. He wants to inform others of their options for a happy life OUTSIDE of college. People sit in classrooms at college that usually have nothing to do with their major or specialty, and basically, is just a waste of time and money. After classes, if you choose to study then that's you, most students tend to party, drink, and have sex. That is life. Deal with it. Your precious little papoose is going to college and will no longer be under your watchful eye. They will do many things you don't approve of. James makes all of this quite clear in his book as well.
       He also goes over the true costs of college. The numbers are astronomical. "The average tuition cost is approximately $16,000 per year. Plus assume another $10,000 in living costs, books, etc. $26,000 in total for a complete cost of $130,000 in a 5 year period (remember, across the country the average amount of years spent in college is five years)." This just seems down right ridiculous but it is so true. Luckily for me, most of my education is paid for by the military. Lucky me, not so lucky for everyone else. Sadly though, even though I've had tremendous help from the military I am still $30K in debt so far. You might ask how, and honestly I'm still trying to figure it out but I have acquired it.
       The reasons that James lists for why people say kids should go to college are laughable. Not in the sense that they are wrong, but on the contrary, for the fact that they are so true. 1) Socialization, 2) Learn to think, 3) College grads make more, 4) The point to life is not making money, 5) Experiences, 6) Parents are scammed, and there you have it. The title said 10 reasons but he only wrote 6 but those 6 are quite enough. If you need to send your kid to college for socialization, they are probably past hope, but feel free to spend your money on that "education".
      Next list he posts deals with things he didn't learn in college. The first and foremost is the fact that he didn't learn to program computers, which is horrifying since his major was computer programming!!! But really, think about it. How often do graduates need on-the-job training AFTER graduating from college? It's pretty often. Think about it. Nurses... they have to do a YEAR or two of residency before being released on their own. Why do you think that is??? They might give them the understanding of how a human body looks and potentially what to look for but you can't teach how to work in a hospital from a classroom. Go ahead and say it, "they have clinicals" and that is true, but how often do they get to work by themselves rather than being watched keenly by an overseer? They don't, their moves are scrutinized and even graded. The real world has no grades. You won't get a B- for forgetting something. In the real world the grading system is Pass/Fail, and if you mess up it is a definite Fail.
      Off my soap box and onto another part, the alternatives! This list is pretty long but I was quite surprised by it actually. I expected it to be a list of career options for those candidates who choose not to attend college, but what it is instead is a list of things to do before making decisions regarding college. Of the 40 on the list, I found 10 that I would actually be interested in. James said that all of these aren't for everyone and that ultimately you should make your own list of alternatives.
    My 10, though are these, 1) Start a Business, 2) Travel the World, 3) Create Art, 4) Write a Book, 5) Master a Game, 6) Master a Sport, 7) Take up Yoga, 8) Learn and Master a Foreign Language, 9) Become a Model, 10) Hike the Appalachian Trail. All of these have been thoughts in my mind at some point. Some I have done and some I've attempted. I'd love to start a business but the idea of what to start hasn't come to my mind yet. Traveling the world takes money, and right now I have a baby to think about so that has put a damper on that one but I will revive it soon. Creating art... I need to learn to use my camera and I will get right on this one. Writing a book—I will start this one as soon as my senior seminar is over in July. Number 5 & 6 are lower on the priority list right now. I've begun to take up yoga so I'm on my way to mastering that one (at least attempting to). Learning a foreign language.... I need to finish Spanish first and then I'll move on to maybe Italian. Number 9 & 10 are far fetched, but nice thoughts. :) Maybe I'll find a good photographer to help me put a portfolio together to send in to places that need models or hire them. Who knows. As far as the AT goes.. that is a six month trip I will have to wait to complete.

James Altucher, everyone, has many books out there besides this one. I'm working on I Was Blind But Now I See, but am getting to it slowly because I'm cracking down on my senior paper right now. You guys can find his books on Amazon or on the his blog site that is linked to his name above. He is very interesting and his lived quite a life, take the time to explore his site.

Bon voyagé!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Practice, Heat and Cooking

      Day 1 of attempting to focus inward on my practice turned out to be a bit more challenging than I imagined. First off, I stopped where I said I would, Utthita Hasta Padangushtasana, or standing Hand-to-Big-Toe Posture. It looks like this...
 And then this....
Back to this....
Then this....

      At least that is the sequence of the variations of the pose. This would normally not be so problematic but I'm finding myself in a bit of a bind. Balance is becoming an issue and I'm trying to find my balance since apparently my center of balance is shifting. This probably doesn't sound hard but it is. 
      Nevertheless, I finished my practice in Savasana, or for those who don't know it is basically a laying down position. I was trying to bring awareness to my right hip/glute area. I say right because it is on my right side as I am holding my right leg that I find I'm having the most trouble, and therefore, I feel as if I'm spending more time on that side. I'm not. It is just taking more effort on that side. I hate to be lopsided. After I laid there for about two minutes, I decided to get up. Sure I know, you're supposed to lay longer and bring attention back to the body and the breath and to relax but there was this big ball of heat baking into my black capris. 
      It was only 9 am and it was already beginning to heat up. Again, I know. If I'd get up earlier it wouldn't be so hot out. Sad thing is, when I walked outside this morning to begin my practice it was a bit chilly. From 8 to 9 it transformed from chilly to hot....... Enough said about that. The temperature rose drastically over the course of the day. My husband and I put up chicken wire around our tomatoes due to the chickens attempting to feast on out lovely little green tomatoes. They already ate all the blueberries, you'd think that they'd leave us some yummy tidbits. Apparently I was wrong. They like tomatoes just as much as the next person or animal.

      After that it was canning time and then preparation for supper. I like to prepare early. I started at 5 this afternoon but still felt frantic in the kitchen. Biscuits, bacon, sausage gravy, eggs, and tomatillo salsa!!! So healthy... or not. Oh and cake for desert. It turned out fabulous nonetheless. The sausage gravy was AMAZING, if I do say so myself :). The two most noteworthy appearances for tonight were the salsa and the cake. Tomatillo salsa and Better Than Sex Cake. Yummmyy. Not together of course. 
      The tomatillo salsa was made with tomatillos, of course, garlic, cilantro, roma tomatoes, lime juice, a bit of onion, and serrano peppers. Whip it up in a food processor and voila! Salsa. :)

Oh yes! It looks AND tastes amazing, refreshing, and has a bit of a kick!

This wonderful beauty on the other hand is the scrumptious and mouthwatering Better Than Sex Cake!
      This was a simply made dish as well. Devil Food cake, sweetened condensed milk, caramel, whipped cream, candy topping. Pretty much all in that order. You bake your cake, once it's cooled a bit you poke holes all over it. This is to allow the sweetened condensed milk and caramel to seep into the cake. So obviously you realize you must pour the sweetened condensed milk and caramel over the top of the cake (with holes punched, or maybe poked is a better word, into it). Once this is complete you smooth on the whipped cream and then top with your choice of candy. It's best to freeze said candy so that you can do some anger busting by smashing up your candy. You can either make it chunks or smash it more and make it crumbs. Either is perfectly fine and definitely delicious.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Been doing some thinking

      I haven't really had any chance yet to read any books for fun, or personal preference for that matter, for quite some time. I believe the last one I read was 21 Things to Know Before Starting an Ashtanga Yoga Practice by Claudia Altucher.
      I started reading the Women's Book of Health and Yoga but hit a point where school took over my reading time. Not to mention the first part is mainly going over three sequences and I want to really go over those for understanding before I give any sort of information about the book. After I received my shipment of books from amazon to fuel my Ashtanga practice (I know it's pointless to have ordered books I can't read yet, but I was too anxious since I graduate in two months), I began browsing two of the books. One by David Swenson and the other by Gregor Maehle.
      Recently, I have only been practicing the first half of the Primary series for simple reasons really. One, the latter half of the sequence becomes progressively harder than the beginning, and two, there are tons more twists in the latter half. Pregnancy doesn't really allow much twisting due to the growth of another human inside your body. Nevertheless, I was determined to at least practice half of the sequence, that is until I couldn't perform some of the poses in the beginning half of the series due to twisting and bending, or really the act of my heel being pushed into where my now growing belly is.
       So! I broke out both of the Ashtanga books that I bought and flipped through them a little bit. By a little bit, I mean I really only flipped through one and read some. The other one is more of a picture book that breaks down the sequence and shows substitutes for poses that may be more challenging, which is actually quite appropriate for my predicament right now. However, after going over them both and hearing the repeated mysore statement, "beginners start their practice by having one pose given at a time until they have mastered that particular pose and can have another pose added to the series," I have given thought to stepping back my practice to a particular set of poses that seems to be giving me fits at the moment. Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand Big Toe Posture) A-B-C and D use to be not quite so difficult for me. I think my balance is becoming off kilter due to my growing belly or just my lack of balance/coordination at the moment.
       I can get my foot up in the air in front of me, but when I transition my leg to the outside I inevitably wobble and then have to release my leg. It drives me insane that I cannot hold these positions now. I know that I will be able to get back into these poses once my pregnancy ends and I keep up a steady practice but it still infuriates me a little right now. I would modify the whole series for pregnancy but somehow I feel like that would be cheating the system. I think that rather than cheat the system or skip poses, I'm going to stop at the ones giving me fits at the moment until I either gain my balance or remain steady in my practice up until these poses. Wobbling is not fun but I am determined, belly or no belly, to gain some semblance of balance in at least ONE of these poses.

Tomorrow is a NEW day and I will sleep tonight and put the worries of today behind me.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Promised Pizza Recipe

Ok, I know this is late but I'm going to put it down on paper. The dough recipe I'm going to give is actually from Everyday with Rachel Ray magazine. I changed mine up a little bit though.

Dough ingredients:
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp hone
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
3 cups (or more) all-purpose or bread flour––––– I used wheat flour for mine
1 3/4 tsp coarse salt
2 tbsp. EVOO

You can also add herbs to the mix as well to give the crust a hint of flavor. I would recommend basil, oregano, and some thyme. Not to heavy or you may over power the toppings.

Step 1: Mix the water and honey until the honey dissolves Once dissolved, sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and let stand until foamy (or five minutes). While that sits, mix your flour and salt together in a bowl.

Step 2: Pour the yeast mix and EVOO into the flour mixture and begin mixing together. Once the dough is mixed sufficiently begin to knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.

Step 3: Oil a large bowl and then add the dough, turning to coat it. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about an hour.

Step 4: Punch the dough down and put on a floured surface. Cut the dough in quarters and round into a smooth ball shape.

Step 5: Place dough sections in a resealable plastic bag or container and refrigerate for 10 to 48 hours. Before using to make a pizza, let dough sit at room temperature for about an hour before shaping. You can also freeze the dough for about two weeks (let the dough sit at room temperature for two hours once frozen though).

Step 6: Place one ball onto floured surface and flatten out with hands or a rolling pin to desired thickness. If you want to make mini pizzas simply cut the dough ball in half or in thirds and then flatten.

Toppings are quite easy. Basically this is a preference thing for most people. For my pizzas, I topped three of them completely different. Two had a tomato paste base and the other had an olive oil/pesto base. My favorite toppings include: pepperoni, chicken, red bell pepper, jalapeño, onion, spinach, mozzarella, feta cheese, black olives/green olives, bacon or pretty much whatever I have on hand that sounds good.

Last night my pizza was layered as follows. It came out even more delicious than I anticipated it would. I was quite surprised with myself :).

Sauce (mixture of parmesan, olive oil, garlic, pesto, and onion that was pureed together)
Diced Chicken
Red Pepper

Happy cooking everyone!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Rest Day and Work

      Saturdays are rest days from practice but I found other more interesting things to do today. I decided that besides helping with the canning (even though I didn't really do anything) I was going to do laundry. Then after doing laundry it was lunch time and then resting. Sort of at least. I ended up going out to the garden and looked around at some of the veggies that I was interested. Particularly, the spaghetti squash. I want to try some of that stuff and this is my first time growing the stuff so I'm not really sure how it's supposed to look. 
             Forums I've read say that the squash needs to be a pale yellow, or the vine that it's growing from should be brown. Then again I've read others where it said that, picked anytime it would taste good. If any of you have any advice about spaghetti squash I would be glad to hear it. :)
      Nevertheless, after checking on the items in the garden it was supper time. I don't have a photo for that but it was some yummmmmyyyyy pizzas :). I'll post the recipes tomorrow for those lovely things. Healthy (unless you're on a no wheat kick) and delicious. After we ate dinner and rested for a second it was time to walk the dogs and then I decided it was time to plant or transplant my herbs to my garden box. My wonderful husband, Zachary, built it for me :). Ain't he sweet. So far I have Rosemary, Lavendar, French Thyme, Mexican (I think) Oregano, Parsley and Sage in my box. Just need a few more and I'll be complete. I need to have them grow so I can dry them and store them. 

So this has been my glorious little Saturday of no practice but mindful awareness. Feeling the ground beneath my feet as I work and dig in the garden soil was lovely. At least, until it was time to clean off. Then it was a pain in the butt. It was a relaxing day though. Tomorrow shall be similar only I'll have completed my practice by 9 am. I may concentrate on certain poses tomorrow as well. It will only be a half Primary practice though. I hope it will be a good one. Yesterday's practice was kind of lazy.

Anyways, Pizza recipes tomorrow and maybe some other juicy tidbits to make as well :).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dragging a bit today- need food ideas

      Well, this mornings practice was about (let me clarify "about") the best part of my day. It was invigorating and smooth from beginning to end. Granted I am only doing half of the Primary sequence each morning. I'll eventually step back up my game but I'm holding back right now. Nevertheless, the DirecTV guy came this morning to fix our cable. He arrived BEFORE my practice (I got up at 7:30, I know I skimped on time) and was still here until after I was done. Needless to say, I didn't shower immediately after my practice so I decided to make a chai latte and eat some cereal. This went well.
      DirecTV guy left not long after I had my breakfast eaten and my husband reminded me we had to go pick up Nakota. She was dropped off yesterday to get a cyst/tumor/growth thing cut off the front and back of her legs. One was protruding and the other was beneath the skin. Poor thing has been groggy alll day. I keep waiting for her to become rambunctious, but I think that will come tomorrow.
      After we came back from picking her up my energy started to lag. This was such a downer because I wanted to do things with my husband today since he was off. And by do things I mean more than lay around all day. Too bad that's pretty much what we did. Well, after we went to AT&T to talk to them about lowering our payments each month some how. That alone was a drag. After that we drove to a boutique called Puddle Ducks to look for baby clothes. Why is it that boutiques find it necessary to have a plethora amount of girl clothes and a puny amount of boy clothes. I've seen many boutiques like this. I am saying that is wrong. My unborn baby boy is just as special as a little girl. Poop. That was a disappointment and I think this is actually where most of my energy went now that I think about it. I was so frustrated that I wasn't able to find anything cute that wasn't outrageously priced.
      We ended up watching an episode of Centennial and laying around while also simultaneously looking into raising chickens for food. We were debating and contemplating eventually raising organic/free range chickens to sell for meat. They seem to bring a decent amount of money in... at least they sell for a butt load at the store. Maybe we could sell ours and put a damper on Wal-Mart's sales. That'd make my day haha.

      Other than this I am also down in the dumps over the fact that my drive for cooking is dampening. I blame it on my place of residence at the moment but I'm not sure of the real answer. I just can't seem to find inspiration to try new things. Not to mention I have a picky eater to deal with in the house that enjoys fried and fatty foods, while despising things that are healthy (besides a salad). I made lettuce wraps once, which by the way are so amazing, and he didn't even TRY them. Just looked at it and said, "I don't think I'll like that. It looks healthy." ............... >8O. Yep that is pretty much how I felt. I think that is actually when my drive for cooking dipped. I just sort of threw my hands up, in my mind at least, and decided he can cook for himself.
      I need inspiration for cooking. I want good healthy food!! I may make lettuce wraps soon because thinking about them sounds wonderful. I need to browse some sites for some new recipes. If you all have any you'd like to shoot my way I would greatly appreciate it.

Signing off now.. it's late and I want to get up at a relatively early hour... Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Goat Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato Profiteroles...yummm

      These little beauties caught my eye this afternoon while I was eating lunch. Giada, from the Cooking Channel, was making these and of course, being the food fanatic that I am, my ears perked up. It sounded simple enough and I wanted to make this. Therefore, I made notes in my iPhone so that I wouldn't forget it. It really is a pretty easy concoction.
       The ingredients you need for the Profiteroles is simply 1/2 cup of water, 1/4 cup of butter, salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 3 eggs, and 3 tablespoons grated parmesan. First, you heat the water and the butter together until the butter is melted and then you stir in the flour. Once the flour is combined with the butter and water, remove it from the heat and, one by one, fold in each egg. With the eggs successfully stirred into the "dough," stir in the parmesan, salt and pepper to finish it off. Next, we bake. Mm. Drop 18 scoops of dough onto a lined cookie pan and bake in an oven at 350 for 45 minutes.
      While the Profiteroles are baking, it is time to whip up the delicious filling. Five simple ingredients, 8 ounces of goat cheese, 1/4 cup cream, 1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes, salt and pepper. First take the goat cheese, at room temperature, and mash it to break it up and then fold in the cream. Once the cream and cheese are combined, fold in the sun dried tomatoes, salt and pepper and then set aside until needed.
      Next, it's time to whip up the herb oil that will be used as a toping for the Profiteroles. Mint, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper, voila! Okay, so there is a bit more to it than that but really, all you need is a food processor to mix the ingredients together in. 3/4 cups of both the mint and basil and one cup olive oil mixed in the food processor and finish with salt and pepper.
      Basically to finish this bad little combination, you simply slice the top off the Profiteroles and stuff it with the goat cheese combination, put the top back on and then drizzle the herb oil over top of the prepared dish. :)


Oh, on a completely different note. Yayyyyyyy! New books.

Just in case it isn't visible to the eye, the first is Ashtanga Yoga: Practice & Philosophy by Gregor Maehle, Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual by David Swenson, The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga by Srivatsa Ramaswami, Guruji by Guy Donahaye and Eddie Stern, and Yoga Mala by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.

Newbies and Moons

I had a random urge to go to Oxford the other day and couldn't quite place why.

I still don't know why I wanted to go.

Nevertheless, my husband and I traveled up to Oxford and we walked around the square looking in different shops. As much as I LOVE the country... I miss being able to walk around cities. Is that odd? I think it is. I've never really been one to be big on cities but I like being able to be close to things for those "just in case" moments.

Well, yesterday came in handy. Pictured here is my new lovely yoga mat by Jade Yoga, some moccasin shoes (from a random store we walked in called Lulu's), and also the wonderful Neti Pot. The neti pot and yoga mat I was able to buy from Southern Star Yoga.

I was rather excited to have a new yoga mat. This one feels so great. It's not exactly sticky but it's definitely slip resistant, SUCH a must. The neti pot, on the other hand, is for my husband and his sinus cavities. Poor thing has such sinus problems.

But that was yesterday. This morning my alarm went off and I was SO excited because it would be the first time I would get to use my new mat...... Next alarm went off and said "Today is a moon day". Crap. That is so right. I am not going to be put off by the moon though!! I'm just gonna go unroll that beautiful mat and get creative. Maybe lay on it and do homework or take some pictures. Call it a moving meditation, if you will. Either way I'm gonna bust it out and have some fun. It's sort of like resting but getting my creativity flowing.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Necessities or Not? It's your choice.

      I started reading the book The Women's Book of Yoga and Health and read over a list of items that were outlined as "what you'll need" to practice yoga and I found it a bit long and drawn out. On this list were the following items:

1) yoga mat (preferably sticky)
2) blankets (wool or cotton are great)
3) bolsters (various shapes for multiple uses)
4) straps (reclining, seated or restorative poses)
5) blocks (helps in many ways to create balance)
6) chair (metal folding chair, but kitchen chairs work too)
7) eye pillows & weighted sandbags (eye bags block light to relax and the sandbags apply pressure to specific areas)

      First and foremost, I don't own half of these items. I have a mat that I have bought for practice, blankets that I use everyday for lying around, table chair, and I use a belt if I think I need a strap. I've never used a bolster, although I can see how it may be beneficial, and I certainly don't have blocks, eye pillows, or weighted sandbags. These items may enhance a yoga practice for some people but I find that I'm too busy searching for where to put them or if I've placed them right and get distracted from my practice.
      A really good sticky (or non-slip) mat is a great tool to have, as well as blankets. Slip-resistant mats help us sweaty palm folks from busting up our faces during down dog, or other positions where hands seem to always slip, and blankets can help enhance a shoulder or headstand tremendously. Extra padding is always nice to have for headstand.
      However, I'm not sure I've ever seen someone use blocks, straps, or chairs in an Ashtanga yoga practice. I'm not saying they can't be used, because they most certainly could be, but the practice is geared towards the body finding that happy medium through practice not adjustments made by other objects.

      The objects listed above are mostly a person to person desire and by no means a definite answer of what you'll need to practice yoga. Some people will only have a mat to practice with and others will go out and buy a full supply of different items to help boost their practice. No one's cup of tea is the same and if you ask five different people, you may well get five different answers. In the end, you should base your answer on your own decisions. Maybe start with just a mat in the beginning and see if maybe you enjoy a practice in that simple way and if not, then by all means go out and buy the things that will help improve your practice for you.
      Yoga is deeply personal and therefore no one can tell you how to formulate your own practice (unless you follow Ashtanga or Bikram Yoga, those are set sequences for the most part). For information on the different types of yoga that is out there for practice, Claudia Altucher has put together a wonderful and informative blog on the different styles. You can read more in-depth about the styles here on her blog.

      I hope you find the style you're looking for and create a practice that is both enjoyable and rewarding to practice.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Saturdays and Moon Days

Saturdays and moon days.... I hadn't the foggiest idea what the meaning behind these specific days were until I read over some blogs.

Saturdays are reserved as days to relax and recuperate from the weeks practice. Traditionally, a castor oil bath is completed on this day to remove the heat that builds up over the week inside of the body and after the bath the body is extremely relaxed and it is advised to take the day very easy. Not only is it advised to take Saturday easy but it is also advised to take Sunday's practice easy as well because the body will be still affected by the oil and it is easy to over stretch during this time. There are quite a few blogs out there that dictate how to use castor oil for a bath much like Claudia's from Ashtanga Yoga Mother Earth, she put this together, and it explains her process of the Saturday practice castor oil bath.

In regards to the moon days, the practice is 6 days a week, therefore not many days off from practice. Since our bodies are composed of primarily water, we are affected by the moon just like the ocean is affected by it. Our bodies feel the ebb and flow from the pull of the moon and days that the mood is either a new moon or full moon, our bodies feel it the most. Therefore, we rest on those days when the moon has the most effect on our bodies. Tim Miller gives a great explanation of why yogis don't practice on Moon Days in Ashtanga Yoga here.

While I'm not completely knowledgeable in either of these categories (especially the castor oil bath) I find them equally interesting. I intend to find out as much as possible about the history of both of these practices. When I come to an understanding I'll be sure to post an update.

Did I mention?

We're having a boy!!!! Tentative name... Connor Campbell. :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A little heads up...

      I am in the slow and steady process of reading The Women's Book of Yoga and Health by Linda Sparrowe with Yoga Sequence by Patricia Walden and will be making a few reviews as I go along in the book for my blog. I say a few because there are five parts to this book and I feel that breaking it down into parts for examination and review would be better than reviewing the whole book.
      I will also be reviewing other books as I buy them and read them. One thing at a time though. Bear with me and we'll get these balls started and on a roll.


I feel kind of lost at the moment

      Today is Saturday. Of course, everyone knows this already. Nevertheless, no Saturday practice in Ashtanga so I skipped practice (even though I wanted to do something so I may just do a bit of a sequence later on). Now I'm sitting here drinking Chai tea and I feel like I don't know what to do. Outside of homework, there isn't much for me to do really. I'd clean up this room and junk it out, but I don't think my husband would appreciate that really. I mean we have junked this room a lot. How does one open the space of a room that is already quite small?
      We're stuck living with his parents at the moment because I'm a big ninny and didn't want to live in my old house which was broken into. He gets home late and I don't feel like walking around with a shotgun on my shoulder and a Glock on my hip to feel safe. So, here we are. In this tiny room. I'd take a picture but I don't think it would do any justice. Just picture the room being about 8 feet wide and 13 feet deep. There is a queen size bed, a 8 drawer chest, desk, two night stands, an xbox/DVR stand, and a floor a/c. Needless to say, we are CRAMPED. I hope we find a place before it's time for the baby to come... I have no idea how I'd live sanely cramped in this room.

Okay. I'm done ranting now. Back to homework so I can have an easy day before the big revealing party.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What A Wonderful Day

      After a much better morning practice, my husband and I went to the OBGYN for a 20 week ultrasound of our baby and to find out the sex. After waiting from 9:30 to 11:30 we were finally sent back to the room with the ultrasound woman (Her father was having issues so she was late to work, we forgave her). I can tell you one thing though, once we started with the ultrasound things got pretty interesting. That baby did NOT want to cooperate at all! The thing was balled up so tight we barely made anything out at first. Well, besides the head. That is pretty much obvious in any way shape or form. After much rolling and and flopping the baby began to relax and show off the much needed parts for examination. We find out tomorrow, as a family, the sex of the baby. Excited? Yes. Not to mention I get to eat cake :P.
      My husband had to rush to work after that so we didn't get to have lunch together. That was saddening. I was hoping to sit down to lunch and have a nice talk with him but that didn't happen. Nevertheless, I brought him lunch at work so that he didn't starve. I thought that was nice of me :) but then again I love him so it wasn't like I minded bringing him food. That and I was quite hungry myself too. I brought home my food and stuffed my face. It definitely was not on the healthy side at all. Open-Faced Roast Beef with fries. Yep, I ate it. Stuffed my big ole' face with it and felt horrible after because of all the carb loading it did. I felt extremely sluggish too but you know what? I was full and my hunger was sedated for the moment. This baby sure is taking a toll on my metabolism.

      Other than that, I have an interview on Monday at 10 AM. :D Yayyyy! Tiny Devotions, a company that sells mala beads and necklaces, was looking for sales representatives and I applied on a whim. I thought it would be wonderful to work for the company but never thought I'd get chosen for an interview and yet... I HAVE ONE! Yay. I'm quite excited. I'm by far not bohemian but I am a yogi so hey maybe I'll get lucky and actually get hired. I'm not getting too excited because I don't want to jinx myself but I can't help it.

Wish me luck!! :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dreading the Oncoming of July

      Down here in Mississippi the heat gets to be so unbearable that I would prefer returning to Iraq for a summer than stay here through the humidity that is to come. Lately, we've been lucky and the weather has been relatively nice, at least for June. I want to be outside so much but my pregnancy seems to make me intolerable in the heat thus far. I went so far as buying a pool, although I'll admit that I've been in it once since my husband put it together.
      I have been forcing myself to get back into a regular routine of getting up and following through with my yoga rather than piddling around on my mat and finding excuses to make a short practice. Therefore, practice has been pretty intense for me lately, or at least it seems that way. My muscles are begging for an off day but I don't want to relinquish the feeling of actually getting up and doing something. It's not a ouch pain but a good pain that lets me know my muscles are still in need of work. After I'm on the mat for a few minutes the soreness dissolves and my practice flows. Building up my stamina to complete, or attempt to complete, the Primary Series of Ashtanga has been hard. I find myself getting more easily out of breath these days and can't find any other reason than my pregnancy to blame.
      I've had to resort to using extremely stretchy pants in order to practice because my yoga pants are a bit tight around the middle now that my hips and belly are expanding. I still use t-shirts for practice but am beginning to be annoyed by their coming forward and exposing my back and belly. I may need to find a top that will stay down and cover my belly. Books to read is more important to me than a stretchy top. At least for now, that may change in a month or so.
      I'll actually have time to read for pleasure rather than the multitudes of stories and novels I've been required to read for my degree. While Hemingway has his highlights, reading his biography in a week is impossible and I just don't want to do it. I guess it's the required part that makes it so daunting. 500 pages use to be a breeze for me to read in like three days. Of course, this was interesting material and I had NO life at that time either. Now, I'm tending animals and cleaning house along with keeping my husband happy by being near him before he leaves for work.
      Alas, I trudge on. Two days of yoga complete (I skipped Monday and Tuesday O_O) and Saturday is a rest day. I bid you all a good night and will try to be back on again tomorrow.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Back Home and In Much Need of Rest

      Yesterday was a travel day, hence no blog. I technically could have written a blog on my iPhone but I felt that it would be to much of a pain in the butt and so I decided to read instead. Nevertheless, 14 hours in a car from West Virginia to Mississippi really is a long drive. To think that I wanted to move to Montana is a ludicrous thought right now. Not even knowing where we'd live I just took a guess and guestimated from Billings, MT to my grandparents place and it would be something like one day and 7 hours... Yeah, how about no? A closer destination will need to be implemented. I can't live that far from there unless I had my own private jet or plane.
      Anyways, we pulled in the drive at the house around 9:40 last night. I was sore, tired, full of junk food from riding, water neglected (but it was bed time and I didn't feel like peeing every hour), and just plum wore out. I didn't get anything out of the car except the dogs and my pillows. The rest was pulled out a little bit ago. After that me and Zachary went to Wal-Mart for space saver bags. Time for room clean up and re-organizing. I can't stand clutter and this room is BEYOND cluttered. I swear I can have it cleaned out every week and things would amass from somewhere.
      I'm siting in bed now about to get some homework done.. at least I hope. I really don't feel like reading the entire Hemingway Biography, but apparently that is what is necessary for this class. Too bad I can't drop the damn thing. I'm passed that now and can't drop it. Alas, I must push forward. Over 500 pages to read by sunday and I haven't even started. I need to get reading and not playing, but playing seems like so much more fun at the moment. Or resting does for that matter.

Oh and I recently felt my baby kicking ;). Neat-o huh?


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Last Vacation Day.... So Sad

      It never ceases to amaze me how attached I get to this little plot of ground when I am here. My grandparents place is so beautiful.
It is only a small plot of land but it is peaceful (minus the large trucks zooming by). There is a small creek in front of their place that I could sit by for hours and hours just watching the water run over the rocks. It almost feels like a sanctuary really. There is wildlife galore here and plenty of plants to add to the beauty of the surrounding area. 
      Sadly, this trip was a short one. Normally, I would stay for at least a month with my grandparents, but that was when I was younger. My trips have been shortened lately to about two weeks time and it is a wonderful and amazing two weeks time. This time, however, my stay was dragged down to a week. Arrive on a Monday night and leave a Monday morning. 
      I wish that I could stay here forever. The tranquility of the place is so awesome that it almost feels like it isn't real. Like I have traveled down a rabbit hole into a wonderland or possibly found that little piece of never-never land. Alas, my stay is ending and I'm trying not to cry. Emotions are running high right now due to my pregnancy. Damn hormones. I hate to cry and more than that I hate to cry here because it upsets the beauty of things.
      I never want to leave while I'm here. I can just picture staying here and doing yoga in the middle of the road halting traffic from their incessant zipping. Speed bumps are definitely needed on the road in front of this house. Nevertheless, I could stay here easily and work while my husband goes to school. Of course I don't think my husband would easily leave the south. He says he wants to but we shall see. 
      Yoga would have been great this morning. I don't think I could have easily completed any though since I don't have a mat and the road is a bit rough. Not to mention, the ground is quite slick and on quite a hill. Maybe a few standing poses are warranted in that case. I feel the need for a standing forward bend to release the tension building in my lower back. Yay pregnancy.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Is this really a vacation?

      My husband and I drove up to my grandparents in West Virginia this past Monday. This was supposed to be a vacation for the both of us but sadly it hasn't been quite a vacation really. I have been too busy reading for school and doing homework rather than relaxing and just hanging out. Makes me want to go back and start over again. I don't think that is a possibility though.
      I had considered bringing my yoga mat up here but I am glad that I didn't. It'd be doing the same thing it's doing now at home, just sitting there looking lonely. Only it'd be staring me in the eyes here. I'm still trying to figure out what is ok and what isn't ok to do as far as being pregnant goes. I can definitely say that I don't think Ashtanga yoga would be wise during my second trimester. I'm actually curious about how quickly I can get back into Ashtanga after my pregnancy is over. I feel like I've been so lazy and need a big wake up call.
      I think a break from homework is definitely needed for today though. I want to go sit on a rock by the river in front of my grandparents house and watch my husband and dogs play in the water. By Jove, I think that is exactly what I'll do too. Therefore, I'm signing off and saying see ya later.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Back up and running finally

      I know it's been a while since I've written on this thing but school work dragged me down deep. I've pretty much completed two years of school in one. While this may be easy for some genius to do, I definitely have been on severe crunch time between school and work. Not only that, but I have also gotten married in that timeframe as well.
      So much has actually happened. Not only did I move away from Starkville, Ms but I also got married and have found out I'm pregnant. So far I'm 19 weeks pregnant and trying to become excited about the pregnancy. That has actually been harder than I have imagined, which is awkward. I want kids so bad and I can even see myself WITH kids but I'm not as happy as I could be.
      Needless to say, I wrote an article on finding ways to overcome this hormonal period and so far I have been feeling a lot better. Talk about "travels of life," I have definitely been on one long journey in this short amount of time. Hopefully, I won't slack off on my blog this time.