Tag Archives: yoga

How I became a hippie mom without trying

Baby contemplating life in the wrap.

Baby contemplating life in the wrap.

One of the things I’ve struggled with since becoming a mom is the changing face of my identity and what it is that makes me who I am. I went from an introverted, flexitarian, yoga novice with a penchant for novels and blogging to a frazzled mom who rarely wears makeup, wonders why she used to knock socks with sandals, and has to plan shaving her legs around when the baby is sleeping (which is never). I’m lucky now if I find time to get online once or twice a week to blog. My socializing has been curtailed to friends with babies because nothing is worse than being out with a single, non-mommy friend when your antsy four-month-old decides she’s going full-on Chernobyl in a coffee shop just because the other patrons looked too relaxed.

The first couple of months, I fought to maintain those parts of me, refusing to admit that things had to change and it stressed me out. I had thought I would have all this time when she magically napped, but I learned quickly that that wouldn’t be the case. Nap? What nap? Nap is a four letter word!

Instead, I’ve been learning to embrace my new identity, which has increasing become that of a hippie stay at home mom. Allow me to explain:

1. I babywear. Squeaker has to be held constantly and when she’s not being held, she must be tricked into believing that she is being held, hence the babywearing. Many times strangers come up to me in the street not to say ‘hi’ to her, but to ask me how I’m wearing her. I’m a fan of the Moby Wrap and the ErgoBaby and those are not very common sights on the streets of Santiago. When I took her to get her four-month vaccinations in the Ergo, an elderly gentleman waiting for his flu shot asked me how much she weighed and where I had purchased my baby carrier because he wanted to buy the same one.

Now, instead of daily yoga, we do our daily walk in the wrap or the carrier and she snoozes against my chest, or she tries to eat my headphones–one or the other.

2. I breastfeed. So my relationship with breastfeeding was one of apprehension and misunderstanding in the beginning, but now that she’s not so colicky and I see how much she enjoys it, I’ve learned to cherish our time together–especially when she stares up at me, smiling and dribbling milk down her cheeks. A few days ago someone mentioned to me that it will be hard to wean her in a few months. In a few months! We started giving her boiled pears this week as per the doctor’s instructions to improve her regularity. (Yes, I did type that. Parents think more about their offsprings’ poop than just about any other indicator of health. Quantity? Texture? Color? Smell? We have entire phone calls with the relatives back home about this.) But, that doesn’t mean I’m ready to give it up. It’s still a great multi-vitamin and the best, most-digestible protein she can eat. In the beginning, my goal was at least six months. Now, who knows?

3. We co-sleep. I fully admit that this is controversial,  but weeks of struggling to get her to sleep in her crib and the screams of agony that sounded like we were leaving her on a mountaintop in an Incan ritual, not giving her a safe night’s rest, wore us out and made us mad–at each other and those lucky liars who say they babies who sleep through the night. Finally, one day, my husband asked, “And if she just sleeps with us?” WHAT? Don’t they have Geneva Conventions about that? I balked. Eventually sleep deprivation won and now the three of us sleep almost peacefully. When she gets her own room at our new place, we might have to try again.

4.  This happened:

I dress like a homeless yoga instructor most days of the week.

I dress like a homeless yoga instructor most days of the week.

Black yoga pants are formal wear at this point.

5. Coming to the realization that nothing is permanent and soon she won’t want to be held constantly and I need to enjoy every minute while I can.

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The New Routine

The last time I wrote I was venting new-mom frustrations and since that was six days ago, you may have thought that Squeaker won and I am now tied up in the bathroom while she blares The Sounds that the Animals Make on YouTube and terrorizes Babysitting Cow, but not so!

Actually, he survived the baby-pocalypse, too.

They are still friends, too!

They are still friends! And he (it?) still takes his (its?) babysitting duties seriously.

And we’d like the thank him for being her punching bag until she can walk and throw things.

It’s weird when I look back at how my life has changed in the past year, you know, pre-Squeaker. I used to complain then that I had no time! Ha. Hahaha. Ha. Ha.

My new daily routine looks something like this:

  • Wake up to a wiggly baby who would rather squirm and smile than get her diaper changed.
  • Watch the smiles turn into frowns as she realizes the diaper change is taking longer than a nano-second and it’s suddenly dawned on her that she’s famished.
  • Feed baby.
  • Try to remove sleeping baby lump from lap and get things done around the apartment before she wakes up (anywhere from .1 seconds to one hour).
  • This is the short nap of the day…
  • Change baby. Watch her face light up as she has a diaper blowout.
  • Get the bath water ready.
  • Wash baby. Watch her poop in the bath water.
  • Dry and feed baby bath monster.
  • Try to go for a walk. This step must be executed with care because it can either be extremely relaxing or agitating if baby decides she is in any way uncomfortable.
  • Walk.
  • Baby falls asleep. Thank the baby gods.
  • Bring sleeping baby back and try to be productive (work, blog, housework, cooking, whatever) until she wakes up, praying that this will be the long nap of the day.
  • Baby wakes up after ten minutes.
  • Baby is not hungry. Baby is not wet. Baby wants to be held.
  • Read to her. Laugh as she slaps the chunky books.
  • Calm suddenly screaming baby.
  • Baby falls asleep inexplicably.
  • Get sh*t done.
  • Try to do a yoga video. Remember when you used to go to 90 minute classes in the studio? Now, feel relieved when you can finish a 25-minute video.
  • Baby wakes up and slaps Babysitting Cow until he falls over. Poor Cow.
  • Decide you’ve been about as productive as possible. Tomorrow will be your day.
  • Realize you never got out of your workout clothes.
  • Lose track of time.
  • Forget to make dinner.
  • Convince Daddy to go to the park because the walls of the tiny apartment are closing in on you.
  • Take pictures of baby.

    End of a long day.

    End of a long day.

  • Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Harder than it looks

Suffice to say I was one of those people who thought that taking care of a baby wouldn’t be difficult. Oh sure, you’re sleep deprived, but how hard can it be? You feed the baby, change the baby, put the baby down for a nap and enjoy all your delicious me time…right? Maybe some people have those rare babies, but Squeaker requires a lot of maintenance.

For starters, she likes to fall asleep being held and must be tricked to then stay asleep alone. Yes, we are already mini-experts in how to fool a nine-week-old into thinking she is being held when, in fact, her bed has moved on to cook with hot oil or go to the bathroom.

Yesterday, a car alarm went off right as I had put her down to do some work and she woke up screaming. She wouldn’t doze off for the rest of the day, lest it happen again. Between tantrums, she glared out through slit eyes that refused to close.

That led to some frantic hand-wringing on my part until my husband walked the door. (May I express my desire to wring the neck of that driver whose car was likely NOT being stolen because this is Latin America and everyone has an über sensitive car alarm?) There was a mudslide in the mountains and many sectors of the city were without water–something I did not know because I was trying to soothe tears to the sounds of “This little piggy”. His building was one of those, so they sent everyone home. Cut to me singing, “Yippee! Reinforcements!” Sorry, to those who needed the water, but I thought it was quite fortuitous.

This morning, she thankfully slept, allowing me to work for a bit and woke in a good mood, smiling her toothless grin, obliging me to forget the demonic tantrums of yesterday. We even went for a walk and she sat demurely in her stroller–observing, not crying. THANK GOD.

We saw several of these Andean Parrots who are striking during the day, not when they are chirping throughout the night.

We saw several of these Andean Parrots who are striking during the day, not when they are chirping throughout the night.

And things were good, we chatted about the meaning of life and other important things. Then, we got back and she started crying with no apparent cause. Not hungry. Not bored. She was most definitely tired and defiantly avoiding it.

I’m not proud, but had a little meltdown. I got on chat with my husband saying I needed a break. It’s not fair! I said that I was stuck at home with her all day, trying to work, eat, take care of her, clean up the apartment (and I’m a deplorable housekeeper!). It was too much. I said I wanted help. I put her in her stroller next to me and rocked it back and forth slowly while I articulated my meltdown into the chat window. Suddenly, she was asleep.

Quietly, I rolled out my yoga mat (for the first time in four months) and did a short twenty-minute yoga video. It wasn’t much. It reminded me that I’m out of shape, but I felt better, more invigorated. Maybe it was the extra oxygen to my brain, but I didn’t feel like I needed a nap anymore. I felt ready to take on her cries. And, surprisingly, I didn’t freak out the next time which was not far behind.

I’ve been running around trying to do everything (well, many things), but maybe the best response has been just to take twenty minutes for me. I just need to figure out how to do it more often. Parents with broods of two or more, I stand in awe of your superpowers.

A dash of good news

I saw a real turtle on my morning walk. He was cute and I may have tried to keep him if I could have bent over fast enough, because we know turtles love that…

I went to the doctor yesterday a little nervous. I didn’t blog about it, but before I left Santiago we had an ultrasound to see if it was safe for me to fly. It was a different doctor. I walked in and explained to him what they had told us the last time about my low-lying placenta.

“Let’s take a look,” was his neutral reply. I waddled up to the table, hoisted myself on it, exposed my belly and braced for the icy gel.

After five minutes, he mumbled, “How odd…I don’t see it.”

“Don’t see what exactly!?”

“A low placenta. It’s high and normal. Everything looks fine.”

When we left the test, both of us were excited, but trying not to show it. We knew that one of the doctors was grievously mistaken and we hoped it was the first. I also knew that if I talked about my sudden change in fortune, I would risk jinxing myself, so we kept it to ourselves. Regardless, I felt much safer flying after I got that news.

Cut to yesterday, I entered my new clinic with a tiny slip of paper with the doctor’s name and a green binder overflowing with my medical records from Chile.

My new doctor, it turns out, is Peruvian. I didn’t have to explain any of the Spanish to her. At one point she asked me, “How much of this do you understand?”

“I’m fluent in Spanish, just not in medical terminology.”

She scheduled me for an ultrasound where the tech, who chatted the whole time about first babies, told me that my placenta looked completely normal. I almost cried.

I asked her how someone could have made such a mistake, because I suffered over it for two weeks. She sighed, “Well, it would be hard to do, but if the baby was feet down, pressing on your cervix and you happened to have a contraction at that moment, she maybe could have seen that it was low.”

In other words, three things would have had to happen at once. The  other doctor was a quack.

I immediately felt like I had overreacted in changing my ticket to the U.S., but that feeling quickly subsided into pure relief. Finally, I felt like I was getting thorough prenatal care. And I didn’t feel like I was being annoying for asking questions. On the contrary, they welcomed my questions and made sure I understood everything before I left. It was a nice change of pace.

Now, I feel like making up for lost time. I went on a walk this morning and saw a turtle. I want to take up yoga again. I’ve purchased mountains of baby clothes.

And now I really want to be selected for jury duty. Yes, after shirking my responsibility as a U.S. citizen for two years, I would like to be chosen. Although, God knows why? Lack of drama, perhaps? I had planned on walking in and stating, “I cannot be fair and unbiased. Oh, and I have a blog! And I’m, like, so bad at keeping secrets. Is that a problem?”

Instead, I want to brush up on my Law and Order reruns.

Thanks for all your good vibes! Baby Girl and I are doing great!

Root Beer and Beige Foods

Yay. For once a post that’s not all about puking. You’re welcome. I’ve felt great – okay, great is a stretch – since I had that one bad day/night. Part of the transformation I equate to this: 

Root beer is not impossible to find in Chile, but it is difficult. They usually only sell it in the bigger supermarkets and even then only occasionally, mostly because Chileans hate it. In fact, my in-laws reactions when they tried it ranged from full body shakes, choking, to “It’s okay, but there is a medicinal aftertaste.” Yes, but it’s an AMAZING medicinal aftertaste.

I mentioned two months ago that I wanted to make a root beer float. Since then we’ve scoured super markets in various cities, but to no avail. Then a few days ago my husband went to the store with a list of my usual beige foods in hand and called me, “You are not going to believe what I just found!” If someone had knocked on the door from the Chilean version of The Publishers’ Clearinghouse, I could not have been more ecstatic. I was literally, inexplicably, starving for this soda.

Nothing ever tasted so delicious. Thank God vanilla ice-cream is a beige food. Root beer floats, anyone?? If this trend continues, I may go back to yoga next week. But, just in case, I got some new knitting needles and yarn. I fully plan to…er…relearn and make a square of something.

Wherein Yoga/Spanish Hilarity Ensues

Hey men, I’m sorry about the past two posts about women’s issues. Does it make you cringe internally a little to read? It’s okay to admit that. No judgement. Okay, okay…not too much judgement. And continuing… I’m going to shake things up with a post about, well, you saw the title, people.

In my yoga class, we sing a song (chant a chant?) before starting practice. It’s really the only time in Iyengar that we meditate or sit in prayer and worry about our breathing, which is fine with me because I’ve decided I’m allergic to meditation. But it’s in Sanskrit – a language that I do not currently count in my linguistic repertoire…maybe because it’s a dead language used mostly to describe yoga poses and Ayurvedic medicine.

Last week, the yoga teacher (the maestra who I kinda dislike) graciously offered to send us the song/chant and it arrived two days ago in my inbox.

Today, I got to class early and there were only two people in the room, the maestra and the substitute instructor, who I adored. The substitute immediately started chatting with me, asking me how I was, how I was coming in my practice. I mentioned, “Great, oh, I got the song (canción) in my email.” (Note: the conversation was in Spanish. I’ll try to help you along.)

“What did you get in your email?”

“The canción

They looked perplexed, but said, “Good for you, Sara! Good for you!”

Then, in hushed tones they said, “She should probably do gentle poses, less ab work, yeh, yeh, relaxing twists…”

The maestra peered up at me, “Can I ask what day you are on?”

“Uh…day? I haven’t learned it yet…”

“No, what day…day one, two, three…”

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”

“You said you started menstruating (menstruación), your period, what day are you on?”

“No! Oh no! No, no, no! I got the canción! You know the one that we sing in the beginning of class?” I did my best, extremely awkward imitation, like playing charades, but with music and a tone deaf yodeler.

“Oh! The invocación! The one that we chant. I was confused when you said your period came in an email.”

*sigh* I would be, too. I would be, too.

And WHY did they congratulate me? GOOD FOR YOU, SARA!

I suppose if I had to announce my presence in a room by shouting, “Listen up, everyone! I started menstruating!” it would be in a yoga class filled with other women. However, I usually try not to do that. Usually.

Sorry, men. If you weren’t cringing before, you probably are now. Looks like I’m batting three for three on the girly issues this week. But I just made a sports reference! GOOD FOR YOU, SARA! GOOD FOR YOU! *Claps*

On yoga teachers, bendiness, and favorites

Since arriving in Chile, I’ve been on a hunt for the perfect yoga studio and the perfect class. In yogaspeak, I’m looking for a power yoga or ashtanga vinyasa class because I like the flow and athletic challenge. If my writing style is any indication, I can’t meditate for sh*t because my mind is too dang active. It never quiets down. Ever. Seriously. Internally, I’m like that kid you meet and wonder if their parents spike their applesauce with speed: random, awkward, anxious, and, at times, innocently putting my fingers in electrical outlets. Hence, the Kundalini classes I tried weren’t what I was looking for.

In any case, I settled on a studio not far from my apartment that offers Iyengar and an, er,  interesting walk home. And I liked it. I really liked it. In February. With the substitute teacher. She was so friendly and encouraging. But everyone kept murmuring “Just wait until the maestra returns from vacation…” It was obvious this maestra was quite revered.

After the first class I understood why. I became convinced that in a previous life she was either a:

Pretzel

or a malleable glob of this:

Playdoh

The implication (if you are having a hard time following my clip art) is that she is the most limber instructor I’ve ever had.Hands down. Like if you imagine your favorite yoga instructor had a baby with a  circus freak, and that baby turned out to have a genetic mutation that allowed them to bend waaaay beyond what is earthly possible – like a human spiral – then you might be imagining this instructor. She’s crazy talented in a way that implies that it’s not even talent – it’s effortless. More power to her, right?  Or something like that. I’ll admit, I’m envious. I mean, how cool would it be to be all “Yeh, I see that teacup on the HIGHEST shelf, let me grab it with my foot!” Pretty freaking awesome, huh?

And she’s nice, too. To her favorites. You know, the people who have been going to the studio for five years and could almost teach it. And I’m new, something she makes plainly visible every time she corrects my poses or makes me use a prop, so that in the end (pardon the yoga jargon again) I feel like I’m doing a restorative class which is not what I’m paying for.

And you should hear her praise her favorites! Oh she goes on and on about their precision and alignment and how beautiful and wonderful it is. “Sara, please try to be more like Maria. Can you tighten your pelvis like she is and lock out your knees?” In the meantime, Maria’s foot has found its way off her mat and is so precise and aligned that it’s dangling only an inch above my nose.

Yes, it may be time to go studio hunting again. If you know of a good one, let me know.

Like yoga cat, I haz skillz. I think.

Remember that time a guy tried to solicit me?

I should preface this story by saying that I am a magnet for freaks, a lightning rod for the weird, and a beacon for the depraved.  And lest I forget it, occasionally that side of me likes to come out, dust itself off, and spit in my face.

Take last night for example. Last night, I was walking home from yoga. It was dark and I was the only woman on the sidewalk and the only person without a canine companion.  I did, however, have my large green yoga mat swung around my back, and a blue Nalgene bottle hanging from my hip. Several times on past walks back from class, I’ve made the mistake of missing my street because I’m already practically blind and at night it’s even worse, so I had to switch sides of the street. I glanced behind me to see how close the headlights were and gauge if I could make it.

Since I have no peripheral vision on that side, I had to turn a substantial part of my body to see how close the car was. That was probably my first mistake. I unknowingly sent the signal. I made brief eye contact with the driver, a paunchy, graying, middle-aged man, and he slammed on his brakes. He proceeded to honk twice, not loudly, but softly, as if only I was meant to hear.

I ignored him and kept walking. He didn’t like that and drove so that he was once again in front of me and slammed on his brakes a second time. This time he began honking again, flashing his lights, and gesticulating that I should enter the car. Once again, I ignored him. Then, he propped the passenger-side door open and looked at me expectantly. You know the look of a dog hanging his drooly head out of a car window? Replace anything cute about that image with depraved and decrepit and you have this freak.

At that point, I started getting nervous. Obviously, the socially retarded moron was not getting the fairly LARGE hint that I was not a sex worker. I threw my hands up and motioned that he should keep driving.  He made final eye contact with me and shook his head sadly. I wondered if he was sad that I didn’t put out for money, or sad that I wouldn’t do it for him.

As a stand-alone case, this would hardly make a blip on the freak magnet radar, except that it’s the second time in as many weeks that it has happened. In the same place at around the same time. It’s a nice residential neighborhood, about two blocks from Apoquindo (one of the main arteries of Santiago) where there actually are sometimes prostitutes of the transvestite variety hanging out by the bus stops.

I’m sorry, but what about the yoga mat on my back tags me as a hooker? Is yoga a normal extra-curricular for prostitutes these days? The flexible ones charge a premium? And, yes, paunchy perverted cuico, even if I could add “sells body for money” under skills on my resume, I still would have rejected you because you repulse me on a molecular level.  You, and all of your kind who troll the streets commodifying women, disgust me.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. The first time was about three years ago as I was waiting for a taxi. On a street corner. In Parque Bustamante, which turns into a veritable red  light district at night. There I EXPECTED it. There it was a right of passage! Have you been solicited, yet? Yes? Well, then welcome to the neighborhood!

So when the truck stopped, honked, and the guy whispered, “Oye, oye, oye, te llevo. Te llevo,”  I wasn’t surprised.  (That translates to: hey, hey, hey, I’ll take you. I’ll take you. Right, bucko, I’m sure you will.) The second time a sex-crazed loner confused me for a prostitute was about two minutes after the first time and a minute before a taxi, thankfully, appeared.

I was complaining to my husband (it feels so weird to write that!) “What about me screams I have sex for money? Most of the prostitutes around here are Peruvian, Bolivian, or trannies. Do I look like that?”

“I work with some Peruvians and Bolivians and they are not fat, short, and ugly.”

“I didn’t say that. I just said that I don’t look like o- Wait, so are you implying that I look like a man? A man in stilettos?”

I tweeted about this and received several responses. Some are from women who have experienced something similar, and some from people with helpful suggestions like changing my route home or considering carrying a flamethrower for personal protection.

While it makes me sad that I’m still the same freak magnet who attracts unwanted attention and can’t leave my apartment without a wig, face-sized sunglasses, and a potato sack, it makes me sadder that this exchange of sex for money even occurs. It makes me sad that women (and to be fair, some men) are put in that position, and that there is a steady supply of men who will seek out and pay for their services.

Just in case my sweet, Minnesotan grandparents are reading: I was never in any real danger as it was unlikely the pervert would have left his car, and I will be changing my route after this. And just in case the d-bag from last night somehow finds this: I am armed and have punched a man for less. Be warned.

First Iyengar Yoga Class in Santiago

I went to my first class of Iyengar yoga last night. I’ve read so many good things about Iyengar lately (namely that it has been proven in studies to help relieve chronic pain and migraines) that I had to try it out. I’ve been sticking steadily to my self-prescribed regimen of Kundalini and one or two yoga DVDs a week, but I wanted a different challenge.

Fingers crossed that someday I'll be able to do this. How useful would that be if I could scratch my head with my feet!?

The problem I have found with yoga in Santiago is that there are few studios within walking distance of my apartment. It’s a good sector of the city. You see as many Audis and BMWs here as other makes. Usually, in my head, yuppiness + disposable income = plethora of yoga studios. Not so. The studios are spread out across the city and some of my only choices are a 40-minute commute by metro and bus THAT way or a 40-minute commute by bus and llama THIS way.

Fortunately, there is one studio/complementary health center close that is just a ten-minute walk. Their website left a lot of be desired. Many of the links that promised a price or a schedule were broken. The format of the pages looked like a five-year old had made it with crayons and a glue stick. Eventually, I landed on a page with what appeared to be a rudimentary schedule. I called to confirm.

Me: Hi, I’m calling to verify that the Iyengar class is at 3:30 this afternoon.
Receptionist: 3:30? No, 3:30 No! Where did you get that?
Me: On your website it says…
Receptionist: It’s at 7:30.
Me: That’s quite a difference.
Receptionist: Pffff…

Fortunately, she was friendlier in person. As soon as I walked in the door she smiled as at me as if she had been expecting the girl with the strange accent, you know, the one who expected the website to be an accurate portrayal of the business. I paid for the trial class and she led me into the room. The class was small and intimate. Everyone already knew each other and greeted each other with kisses on the cheek. They stared at me uncertainly.

The instructor asked me to introduce myself. She wrote my name on a clipboard she kept at her waist. “Is there an H in it? I know that some of you Saras do that with the H.” A collective head nod went around the room.

The thing about Iyengar is that you get to use a lot of props: belts, blocks, bolsters, blankets, you name it, to make the poses more accessible for your body and help you get the most precise alignment. For someone who has struggled through more than one Vinyasa class with just a mat, it felt like cheating, but I quickly got into it.

We did an extended hand-to-big-toe pose against the wall and with the assistance of a belt. The instructor corrected everything about my pose: my bended knees, my flexed wrist, the curve in my spine, everything. You wouldn’t think it would be particularly challenging to stand with your foot against a wall, but if you’ve ever tried to defy gravity with just 50% of your body, you know it is. It was no small miracle that we managed to stay upright. Soon, our feet began to slide. It was a chain reaction. As soon as your neighbor’s foot slipped an inch, yours slipped. The woman next to me, obviously also a beginner, shot me a fervent glance. I could feel her pleading with me to keep my foot in place.

Another pose we did with partners against the wall. It was a half-moon pose. The idea was to plant your partner’s hips firmly against the wall as they stretched as close to the ground as they could. Maybe this is cultural, but I get uncomfortable touching strangers – and undoubtedly more uncomfortable if they touch me. Like really, visibly uncomfortable. I went first and my partner held my hips (pelvis more like) against the wall as I quickly twisted, “Okay, I’m good. Thanks.”

You know how they say there is a first time for everything? Nowhere was that more true than yesterday. On her turn, I tried to find an appropriate place to grab her. She was much shorter than me, so I dropped to my knees. She started to stretch and pant. Her hips slid, “Harder!” She barked at me. I tightened my grip. Again. She fought to control her breath, “Stronger!” She told me. “Harder! Stronger!” Really?

The highlight of the class was my much-assisted, much-anticipated, headstand. The instructor helped me get my feet into the air and then crouched down next to my head and asked me how I felt. “You mean beside the roar of blood rushing to my head?” I wanted to ask.

Instead, I replied, “It feels…weird, but a good weird.” I sounded high.

It seems that a side effect of a blood/brain imbalance is euphoria because as soon as I was down, my first reaction was to high-five someone, anyone – maybe even myself. Then I remembered that if it hadn’t been for the instructor, I would have face planted and the euphoria subsided – or the blood returned to my feet. You decide.

After class, my fellow yogis seemed to have warmed to me a bit and some of them shared their tips for improving their practice. The only man told me his trick to getting the most from the studio was to pay on a class-to-class basis, “Otherwise, if you miss a class, you lose your money.” Then, he looked over his shoulder conspiratorially, as if the studio hadn’t yet caught on.

Iyengar was different from other disciplines I’ve tried. The instructor corrected every single detail of my poses, except my extended side angle (that’s right, people, I have a lovely extended side angle). However, since the only stimulus I’m exposed to all day is the rattle of my keyboard, I think I’m up for the challenge.

Happy New Year to Me {Happy Birthday to Me}

It’s my birthday soon. On Monday to be exact. It’s one of those birthdays that is insignificant in all respects except that now I really do round up to 30 and I have definitely tipped the quarter-of-a-century scale. It makes me feel wise – almost wise beyond my nearly 26 years. Don’t worry. The effect is probably temporary. I do something stupid/put my foot in my mouth/walk into a wall just about every day, so you won’t have to suffer through many of these “The Wisdom of my 26 Years on Earth” posts. And you might not even have to now, because you already know everything about me.Really. You do.

You know that I am a wanderer at heart and that I am once again making a go at it in Santiago.

And all will be fine as long as the soccer fans don't get me...

You know that a year and a half ago today I had surgery for this guy and that the news shook me to the core.

I’m sure you also know that I subsequently went through a long funk and ran away to Costa Rica.

One of the many beaches at Manuel Antonio

And then picked up and moved to Texas.

Then I got really into yoga. Like reallllly into it.

Am I missing anything? It’s been a crazy ride! See!?! You know almost everything about me except my favorite brand of toothpaste (Crest) and how I take my coffee (milk, no sugar). And now you even know that! So who are you dear blog readers/fans/lurkers? Also, what brings you here? Is it my winning personality? My offbeat wit and charm? *gulp* Voyeurism? Let me know and maybe I can bring more of what keeps you coming back here in the next year.

In the meantime, I’d like to wish myself a Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!