last post for the month

30 posts in 30 days and i did it.

Not so sure I’ll do this challenge again anytime soon.

Here’s what I learned:

  • I talk a lot about yoga, because right now I’m really into it
  • I need to sharpen my photography skills (ooohhh I’ll add that to my list of things to try out next year)
  • I find it hard to strike the right balance of ‘my voice’.  I don’t want to be preachy, I don’t want to be inauthentic, I don’t want to over-share
  • I never remember to take pictures of recipes as I’m making them and as a result I am not sharing as many recipes as i would like
  • I like posting, but not daily.  At this stage that is too demanding
  • I need to learn more about blogging and wordpress ( I never did figure out how to put the NaBloPoMo widget on the side of my blog)
  • That you can have a shitty month and a good month back to back and you have to want to change from one to the other, it won’t happen on its own
  • It’s really nice to keep a record of what is happening, because it’s easy to forget and it’s easy to take your own time/life for granted.

na

home

I haven’t been home to Canada since May 2011, however my parents, my sister, her husband and my nephew along with a number of my international friends all came to NZ in Feb 2012.  So it didn’t feel like a big deal at the time.

I had every intention of coming home again in August 2013, but life being what it is had other plans, and my husband’s brother got married in August, inevitably delaying my flight home (best reason ever though, both my brother-in-law and his wife are wonderful people and I’m so pleased to have shared their special day with them).

So it’s no surprise that since August, I’ve been itching to get home to Canada, but when? I could have booked flights for November, after my husband’s final university exams, but winter in Toronto is a little bit harsh, so that takes out all the winter months, and the earliest to go is March, which is pretty iffy in terms of weather. To add another element of life in the mix, my husband turns 30 at the end of March, and I’m pretty sure we discussed Las Vegas birthday plans at some point.

We recently booked our flights home, and I was so happy, excited, that I could’ve cried. I can’t wait, we leave just in time for the husband’s birthday, and we’ll celebrate in Las Vegas as planned, then we head to Vancouver for a few days, before we’re lucky enough to get to home, Toronto.

I miss my family so much and I do make the most of all the modern ways to stay in touch, but sometimes when my husband asks what I’d like to do this weekend, my answer is simple but impossible.  I want to hang out at my sister’s house on a Friday night having chats with her and her husband and playing with my niece (who I have yet to meet) and my nephew. On the Saturday I want to tag along with my parents and all the chores they’re doing and just help out and make them dinner.

Those are two things I’m looking forward to the most, when we visit home.

small decisions

om-shanti

Normally on Thursdays I go to spin class and I go to a hot power yoga class. I went to bed early last night, because I was exhausted and my joints were and still are not feeling so good.  I didn’t feel like going to my classes today. I woke up this morning, feeling rested and ready to take on the new day. I’ve packed my gym bag and lunchtime yoga looks like it’s on the horizon still, however, I’m still feeling rather spent.

It’s days like this that I find difficult. I don’t know if I’m talking myself out of attending classes or if I’m trying to listen to what my body needs, which may be some rest.

I had a good friend tell me a couple of years ago, that if I’m feeling tired or starting to feel like I’m under the weather I should go to yoga.  It may seem counterintuitive, but this piece of advice usually works. So I made the decision to attend the yoga class.

It worked, by the time we were going through our flow, I was feeling far more energized than I had since the day before and I was appreciating where I was today, not yesterday and not where I want to be in my practice tomorrow or in a month, but appreciating that I was having a day where I was tired and my joints were reminding me they’re arthritic, but I can still practice yoga.

I made the decision after class to give spin a miss today.  Normally I have a lot of joint swelling in my knees directly after class for about 10-15 minutes and I was concerned that it could have been longer, considering how my body was feeling.

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga

Here we are in St. Mary's Bay, enjoying SUP yoga. The photo is from Flux Westhaven

Here we are in St. Mary’s Bay, enjoying SUP yoga. The photo is from Flux Westhaven

Last week I tried Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga for the first time and I loved it!

I wanted to try something new on my birthday, because I think its important to spend your birthday that way.

I woke up early on Saturday morning and drove across the Auckland Harbour bridge to get to the class and I was looking forward to it, and was apprehensive too.

I had been wanting to try SUP yoga for a little while and had not had the opportunity, but to be fair, I wouldn’t have taken the opportunity earlier.  I had it in my head that I wasn’t good enough to do it.

I’m not sure what gave me the impression. It wasn’t a sense of self worth that I was missing, but it was the actual physical strength that I thought I lacked.  I had put it into my head I had to be either good at yoga or at paddle boarding or both. I didn’t realize that had gotten in my own way, until I was presented with the opportunity to SUP yoga for my birthday.  I immediately said yes, and then all the excuses came bubbling up to the surface to make me doubt my decision. However, I had already made the decision to commit and I really wanted to do something new and challenging for my birthday.

So I went and I did it and if you forgot what I wrote above, I loved it.

Getting out the anchor point was a bit of a challenge, because I had only paddled boarded once, in March, and didn’t really remember any of the technique and tips. I had already made the decision that while I didn’t want to fall in, that I would be OK if I did and it would contribute to a memorable experience. Sidebar: I definitely prescribe to the idea that if you’re not falling you’re not having fun or pushing yourself; although sometimes I forget that when I take a particularly nasty fall.

Our instructor, Katrina,  had gotten a gauge of how comfortable on paddle boards we were, and also how comfortable we were doing yoga. She lead the session according to our abilities and offered modifications to poses to make them easier or harder, as suited for each individual.

It didn’t take long for me to realize the best way for me to enjoy myself on the board, stay with my breath, focus, listen to my body and find my stability, and stay with it.

The best part of doing it was the fact that I got out of my own way. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have realized just how much I enjoyed it.

If you are in Auckland, I would highly recommend coming out for a SUP yoga session. Katrina teaches every Wednesday at 6pm and every Saturday at 8am. Contact Flux to book your spot

Battle of the joints

In September I participated in a 30 day yoga challenge. I loved it, but about half way through it, instead of feeling more amazing, I started to feel more uncomfortable. My joints had started to flare up.

I had been on a new Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) drug since February 2013, and it all seemed to be going really well, up until mid-September when the joints started to flare up, unfortunately they didn’t settle down. I struggled with an uncomfortable amount of pain and fatigue for approximately a month and a half. I didn’t realise just how bad it had gotten, until the relief came in November. 

The scariest part about my RA flare up, was how I adapted, and accepted the pain. I didn’t initally link my sudden exhaustion to my RA, I tried to attribute it to any thing else in my life. I thought my joints were sore, because of the 30 day challenge, not because my RA was paying me a visit.  And I just put up with it. It took me a few weeks to realise that it was my RA that was affecting me, and a few more still to have my appointment with my specialist.

At my appointment I spoke to my specialist, and he advised me it was normal for some patients to feel good whilst on their medication, and for some reason its was normal that it medications stopped being as effective.  We discussed other options, which unfortunately for me means, i need to consider the fact that I need to try new medications again. I left with more information about the new medication and another script to help manage my RA.

I decided on November 1st that I wanted to be happier than I was in October. I reframed my situation and was attempting to make the most of everything for the month. My appointment with my specialist occurred on November 5th and that appointment, along with the adjustment of my medication allowed me to physically make the most of what I actually wanted to do. 

Check out the images of joints and whats happening to them care of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Check out the images of joints and whats happening to them care of Rheumatoid Arthritis

IMG_2997

If you wanted to read what it said, I thought I would share.

I feel conflicted as to what to do about my medication. On the one hand I want to go on the new medication because I could get really good results from it.  On the other hand, I’m scared of the side effects list and it’s mentally draining to continue to try new medications.  I have to make a decision by Dec 17th if I’m going to start a new treatment or not. However, I really don’t know what other choice I have.

how do you eat?

check out the zig zag

check out the zig zag

My call is to eat well most of the time and treat myself sometimes and enjoy it all. Pretty much that means try to make the right choice most of the time, and on occassion where I eat the cupcake, I don’t suffer the guilt from it.

Apparently the way I eat can be described as a zig zag. I didn’t know it was what I was doing, but then I read about it from Dr. Libby Weaver, and I’ll let her explain it. Here’s what Dr. Libby has to say about it:

“The concept of ‘zig vs zag’ is a helpful one as the weekend approaches.

A ‘zig’ meal is made up of nutrient-dense foods, real foods and no alcohol. While for a ‘zag’ meal, little if any consideration is given to the nutrient value of what you are eating. It is more about the company you are in, being playful and relaxing. Zags are part of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Usually I would guide someone to zag once a week, or 3 to 5 out of their 35 eating occasions in a week.

If you know you are going to your office party, that doesn’t mean the whole day is a right off, yet so many people approach their life or health in this way! Having the office party in the evening is even more reason to eat a nutritious breakfast and lunch, following up with nutrient-dense food choices the next day. You enjoy the zag but when you live mostly as a zig, the zag takes very little toll on your overall level of well-being.”

3 to 5 out of 35 eating occasions in a week. I had never really thought about how many times I would eat in a week. But this really helped break it down for me and made it so much more realistic to eat well and made me feel better, because it confirmed to me that I was eating well.

When I’m in charge of my own meals, I do my best to eat right. However, when I’m out with friends, visiting family or even when I’m at work, I’m more flexible and indulge (my favourite indulgence while I’m at work, is a cookie from moustache. These cookies are seriously addictive, but at the same time I can only eat like 1 every a month, it’s just too rich in flavor for me)

this blogging thing.

kook
My first foray into blogging and I decided to do 30 blogs in 30 days and the first notification I saw from wordpress was to participate in NaBloPoMo, so I did. I signed up through BlogHer.
 
Best part about NaBloPoMo has been my favourite mistake. I didn’t know anything about tagging posts, but I did know about hashtagging tweets (you can see where I’m going with this). So I hashtagged my first tag, #NaBloPoMo, and quickly realized that was not the way to do it.  Well it has taken me until today, to figure out how to fix my awesome faux-pas. 
 
I was incredibly frustrated with myself when I first realized what I had done, and started giving myself hard a time about it. But as the days went on, I told myself, keep tagging as it is, and when you have a minute try and figure out how to fix it, after that. It was good to remind myself to be patient, since then every time I tagged it incorrectly, it just made me smile and this is why I started the blog, to make mistakes and to learn.
 
I’ve updated all my posts with the correct tag now, and I’m extremely satisfied that I finally figured it out. Now to tackle the next pressing issue, how to add the badge to my blog. It looked simple enough, but I just don’t know how to do it. I’m still trying to figure my way around wordpress, if anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears.
 

Keep perspective, do a stocktake

Last year in December, my husband and I moved up to Auckland, this was a big deal for a number of different reasons. We moved to the North Island, after living in the South Island for six years. We left our family, friends, our jobs, and everything that was familiar to us, but we needed the change.

We were both positive about the move, because we were ready for it and being positive about change makes change feel better. I believe that once you make a decision that you know to be good for you, embrace it.  Sometimes change can feel difficult or scary, or make you feel out of your depth. When I feel like that, I do my best to remember that it was our choice to move, so we should have fun and try to enjoy.

Having the right perspective helped us with our move, because we did feel some of those things, and at times, when things were difficult, as we were trying to establish our routines, flat hunting, navigating our way to the grocery store, dealing with drunk drivers who hit our car (ya that actually happened the first night were in the big city), it was our perspective that kept us from thinking it was a bad decision.

However, it’s been 11 months since we arrived, and last month I was feeling a bit bummed about city living.  I started focusing on the crowds, the traffic, the commute, blah, blah, blah, and I then one day, I heard myself being such a downer and it made me stop and roll my eyes, because I thought it was so lame that I was complaining

So I decided to do a quick stock take of all the awesome since arriving in Auckland, and when I did, I realised that I was even more lame than I thought initially, because I really did have a lot to be grateful for.  I had opportunities to enjoy things living in Auckland, and I was allowing the little things get in the way.

Here’s my stocktake:

  • We live right on the water
  • The summer we had was exceptional
  • I got to go swimming after work at the beach all summer
  • I am lucky enough to take the ferry to work everyday, and it’s so reliable. And once I’m in the city, all I have to do is take a 15 minute walk up the street to get to work
  • I am able to visit any number of cafes across the city and try out any number of awesome dishes
  • We have re-connected with old friends that have moved to Auckland and we have made new friends to share experiences with
  • I have seen so many awesome shows: Circolombia, Group F, Beyonce, Cirque du Soleil, Wicked, Wayne Brady, Russell Peters and we’ve already got tickets to see Jack Johnson and Eminem this summer
  • I’ve attended the Auckland Arts Festival, the Fringe Festival, the Readers & Writers Festival, New Zealand Film Festival, the Lantern Festival
  • My husband met one of his favourite authors, Raymond E. Fiest, and I got to see one of my favourite authors speak, Dr. Libby Weaver
  • Even in the city I have the opportunity to go stand up paddle boarding
  • My yoga studio is only five minutes away from my work
  • My rheumatology specialist is only 15 minutes away from home (previously I had to drive 3 hours to see my specialist)
  • Just an hour drive away from the city and I tried surfing for the first time in seven years
  • We were lucky enough to go on holiday to Queenstown and the Waiarapa
Shredder in Backyard

This picture always cracks me up. It’s our cat, Shredder, in our backyard. Totally looks like he posed for a picture while on holiday. Yet another thing that’s awesome about our move, we live in a nice neighbourhood that is safe for our cat too.

So there you have it, off the top of my head, I could do a stock take and it was better than complaining about the four or five really lame things that were getting me down.

Doing the stock take was a real eye opener for me. I realised that I was letting myself get bummed about something that wasn’t worth feeling bummed about.  It gave me an opportunity to reflect on all that was awesome and it helped reset my frame of mind, so I could appreciate what I had around me.

I do miss the South Island and all the wonderful things to do, the people, our friends and family, but the North Island has been good to both of us too and it’s nice to miss the South Island and look back at our time there with fondness.