Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training in Montréal

At the end of October I went to Montréal for an intensive 4-day Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training with Janice Clarfield. It was a truly inspiring weekend of yoga with a wonderful group of women, and I am newly amazed at the incredible power of women, and the innate wisdom of the body to undergo such a profound transformation.

I am so inspired to work with pregnant women, to help them find empowerment through mindful movements and breathwork; discover their immense strength and body wisdom; connect with themselves and their babies during this incredibly transformative time, and most importantly, to help them discover their own way, as there is no one way to birth a baby.

And of course, it was wonderful to be in Montréal again. The apartment I rented was literally a few doors away from the yoga studio in a lively area between Mile End and Le Plateau-Mont-Royal. I fall in love with Montreal every time. It happens every time I'm there. The beautiful boulevards, vibrant murals, alleyways with spiral staircases, gorgeous mansions with the imposing Mont rising up behind them, and those exterior stairs so unique to Montreal, and of course, incredible food. Mark came up and stayed with me for part of the weekend, and we went out for Tibetan one night, and Cambodian the next, with bagels for lunches, and the best vegan food (no wonder there's a line-up all the time) at Aux Vivres and The Green Panther. Mmmm.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A year ago today: we set off on an adventure

Aw, look, we were just pups!

I remember barely sleeping the night before (or really, the night of) our flight. Waking up with my heart in my throat: excited, anxious, nervous, jittery... Eyes wide as we took one last look around the house, so quiet and empty without the cats and most of our stuff packed away... Hoisted our stiff, pristine packs, full of our carefully thought-out things we thought we would need... Locked the door, to be opened in a few days by our tenant who would be moving in... Leaving the known, and setting off into the unknown in the pre-dawn darkness... Tears of excitement and disbelief pouring down my cheeks on the cab ride to the airport... The day had finally arrived! Mind racing through all the possible scenarios that awaited us... Flying west-ward and passing the edge of Canada, the farthest west I'd ever been in my life.

And then being thrust into the intensity of Bangkok. Eyes wide at everything... trying to navigate our way around... Getting suckered at every turn (and oh, we were suckers...). Our first tuk-tuk ride... Our first dish that was too spicy to eat, and we didn't know how to ask for it any other way... Seeing more Buddhas in one day than possibly my entire life up until that point... So many colours, and sights, and sounds, and scents! And oh, the heat! I remember being so overwhelmed... everything was so new and unexpected and in-your-face... It was incredible, and I would do it all again, but I'm still happy to be home, and excited for the first good snowfall to arrive.

I haven't had a good snow for over a year and a half...

Leaving O'Hare after appropriately dosing up on Gravol as I failed to do for the first leg. (Lesson learned.)

The only way to get around! Ottawa could use some tuk-tuks.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Quilt update: a sea of colour

While visiting with a good friend recently for a few days, I took advantage of her cat-free, king-sized bed, and her incredible colour sense, to lay out the hexagons for the second half of The Quilt. I laid out the first half when we were in Massachussetts last May, back when I only had two rows finished. And now I have twelve! (Plus, I had a bit of a break in there, so really, I'm making good progress!)

It was actually quite an exciting process to lay out all the rows, trying to distribute each fabric evenly to avoid ending up with only one pattern in the end. As it was, I did, but after some eye-squinting and re-jigging, we managed to get everything looking balanced without too many attention-heavy "holes." And now that all the rows are planned out, I can just work row at a time, and I'll be finished all thirty before I know it, right? ...Right?

Monday, November 18, 2013

The carless have caved

I pass this epically awesome antique barn so often, and finally stopped to grab a pic of it.

Turns out I'm a fair weather carless person... As long as I can bike, not having a car is not a problem. But now that the cold November rains and early snows are upon us, bringing bitter winds and slippery roads, it is entirely unpleasant, uncomfortable, and inconvenient to not have a set of wheels in the driveway.

My parents have very kindly offered to rent/lend their car to us for the next few months, mostly to help us, but also to see how they fare with just one car. It might be basic, without power windows, power locks, power mirrors, a CD player, iPod hookup or all the new-fangled gadgetry, but it is 4-wheeled freedom, and we are very grateful and appreciative to have a car once again. Plus, it's standard, which I love driving, and the very best part of all, is the tape (yes, tape) of vintage Janet, circa 1989, in the cassette player. Turns out I still remember all the words.

Another view along the drive to my parents that I've been meaning to photograph.

I am quite ashamed to say how glad I am to have a car again. It feels like a certain sense of freedom and opportunity has returned, because let's face it, for the months we didn't have a car, we hiked less, ran out of groceries more frequently, didn't bother going to movies as much, and so on. But we did end up doing a lot more things nearby, and we saved money, and saved the earth a little bit too. I don't regret the decision in the slightest, and I would do it again... during the fair weather months from April to October.

Here is a run-down with commentary, of the car-alternatives we used: