Sunday, December 31, 2006


King Charles Strawberry - Mulberry Jam
April 2006 - December 2006

Made from berries picked at the homestead,
enjoyed by lucky enthusiasts around the country.

Eat Your Yoga

If you were to plot my yoga life, it would look like a bell curve. Currently, I am on the tail end working my way backwards towards a more regular practice. Yesterday morning I went to a yoga class at Yoga Shala in Five Points. The schedule said it was a Level 1 and 2 class so I assumed it would be a combination of the gentle to moderate stretching I was craving to ease my muscles and my mind.

I walked into the class and the teacher was in a headstand, which should have been my first warning. I hadn't brought my own mat because I couldn't find it as I raced out the door at 8:00 am on a Saturday morning. So I stood around feeling awkward--the same feeling as when you are waiting for someone to finish a private conversation. I did not want to disturb her pose, but I also needed to know where the mats were, whether I needed to fill out any paperwork as a first-timer to the studio, and how to pay. I found the mats, the sign-in sheet, and the offering bowl on my own and settled into a corner, measuring an arm's length distance to the wall.

As the class start grew nearer, people were packing in. Before I knew it, I was six inches from the wall and from my closest neighbor. Thirteen sardine yogis, with the teacher promising a gentle class to close out the year.

After a few brief moments of sitting quietly, we started right in with standing forward bend into downward dog and plank. The teacher kept instructing us to find the "yummy" and "delicious" place in our hips while in downward dog. We made our way through alot of poses, many of which I would consider advanced: cobra, camel, pigeon, one legged king pigeon, dolphin, sideways plank, multiple versions of warrior, triangle, and other sideways twists. And eventually, some folks in the class were doing headstands!

I was angry, and there is no place in yoga for anger. This was not a level 1 and 2 class. This was a level 2 and 3 class. I was not feeling yummy, I was feeling gipped. Standing behind the class, the teacher told us we looked beautiful but all I could see from wide angle standing forward bend was my neighbors crotch six inches from my face. I did not feel beautiful. I went to yoga class to feel good and to feel good about my body, but all I was feeling was frustration, the tremble in my legs, and my sweaty t-shirt.

To be fair, 10 of the 13 people in the class were regulars and I know that often times yoga classes evolve to meet the needs of the regular students. However, I think it would have been nice had the class been correctly advertised. When I woke up this morning, my hamstrings and my neck and shoulders were not delicious, they were painful.

Tonight we are going to a gentle yoga class, which will hopefully unwind yesterday's efforts.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Haiku #1

Frozen grass crunches
Like glassy shards underfoot
Until the sun rises

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's coming

Christmas is coming, we are prepared. See...

Our little tree makes the room shine!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Good News

Exam results are posted! I am a happy camper, I held an A in every class through exams. Jan 4th we start over again, after that I'm off to college with a big "C".


Monday, December 18, 2006

Weekend Update

No, not the Dennis Miller kind of update. It is our project update. Kate and I got back on our “housework horse” this weekend. Kate did a great job painting the guest bathroom trim while I struggled with the master bath trim. My finish work needs help, probably even lessons…

Remember this? The back of our house never did look very nice, I think you could've called it ugly. Perhaps it was the vent pipe, the old window, or the dilapidated door. I decided it was in the best interest of the house to lay down my brush before I inflicted damage that couldn’t be undone. I decided to do something more suited to my abilities. You guessed it, DEMO! Yep, I made a covered patio yesterday.

Check out the new digs. It really made a change in the appearance and feel of our backyard. Once the shed is moved closer to the property line near the back of our yard we’ll be able to enjoy an unobstructed view of our entire yard, even in the rain!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Yearly Dilemma

As the mail goes, this isn’t any different than other time of the year. Or is it? Christmas will be upon us very soon and before you know it Santa will be on the run delivering gifts. Today we received two packages on our doorstep, probably not from Santa. Any other time of year I would have ripped into them, but not this time of year. They don’t feel or sound like food. I think one package contains a pair of socks, not sure about the other. I generally follow the rules but it is so hard to leave new packages unopened. Should I open them or not… We’ll wait for Kate to help with this decision. I think I know what she’ll say.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Exams... Don't you love them?

Many of you know from a previous post that luck wasn't with me for my exam scheduling. The three exams last week were rough, but I spent many hours preparing in order to do well. The Biology Lab exam was tough, harder than usual, but I did well. Sociology was cake, easy A. Religion was crazy because we had covered Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. All three on the same test, I'm confident I'll hold my A there too.
Today I had a 5 minute oral presentation in Sociology and the first English exam. The English exam was a breeze for me because I took the time to study. From the grunts and groans my classmates were making I doubt they enjoyed it. Two exams left, English on Thursday and Biology lecture exam on Friday.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Is That Seat Taken?

Last night Jon and I went to the Carolina Performing Arts Center on the UNC Chapel Hill campus to see Ray La Montagne. The performance was absolutely phenomenal. The acoustics in the theater were amazing, with even the artists themselves commenting on it. By far it was the best show I have been to in at least five years.

The show started at 8pm with up and coming artist and opener Tristan Prettyman, who is definitely worth following.

While the performances were great, I was disappointed with the venue and the audience on a few points. First of all,
alot of people were late. In a more casual venue such as the Cat's Cradle, that would have been fine, and in fact, at such venues it is common for folks to skip the opening band. This was a beautiful old theater with assigned seating. If you are late, that means that ushers have to escort you to your seat. Up to 45 minutes into Tristan Prettyman's performance, people were still trickling in and it was difficult not to be distracted by all of the commotion--flashlights, discussion, having to stand up to let the late people reach their seats, trying to see around other people standing. Not only did I think it was disrespectful of the performers, it was rude and disrespectful of those folks that arrived on time to enjoy the entire show. I wish the theater had implemented a cutoff time at say, ten minutes into the opening act, after which latecomers would be unable to be seated until the break between artists.

People must have been really tiny when this theater was built in 1883, because the theater boasts that the renovation in 2002 - 2005 created "comfortable new seats with more legroom". Hmmmpph. The seats are quite small, close together, and don't have much legroom. I was grateful that there was a one-seat buffer between myself and the (late) couple at the end of the row. That is until halfway through when the couple's friend, who was seated elsewhere, asked if she could sit in the seat that was holding my purse. I couldn't say no, but I wanted to.

To the girl that sat down next to me, there are a few things I would have liked to discuss.

I could tell from your snortling that you had some sort of allergy, seasonal bug, or a deviated septum. Given the confined space, I really wish that you could have breathed
with your mouth shut. The smell of your hot breath did nothing to enhance my experience.

When I leaned forward in my seat to get in front of your hot smelly breath, that was not an invitation for you to sprawl into the temporarily vacated space in my seat. Yes, I know that the arm rest is fair game, but there is indeed an imaginary boundary and you are not allowed to lean your body into my seat area.

The last, a question for you: who sings these songs--you or Ray La Montagne? I did not pay 25 bucks a ticket to hear you do a karaoke version of the entire Trouble album. Put a cork in it.

All of that aside, it really was a great performance. If Ray La Montagne finds his way to your hometown, do go and see him. He is personal, dark, uplifting, and lyrical all at the same time. It was all I could do not to wiggle out of my seat.

You can listen to some singles at Ray's myspace page.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


How do you define warmth?

Some people describe warmth in those terms you would read on the familiar thermometer hanging on the barn. Tonight those people would tell you it is bitter cold. So cold, in fact, that Raleigh may set a record low temperature tonight. Today our high peaked around 37 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a pretty nippy 18 degrees out there right now. There is a sharp "crunch" with every step in the yard.

Personally, I find a little bit of warmth in the cold, I thought while walking with Tucker in our backyard tonight. I guess I miss the cold weather, and I am reminded of the cold winters growing up in Montana. I think school was even canceled a few times due to the cold weather, but school cancelations in Montana didn’t happen until the windchill pushed the temperature near 45 degrees below zero. That was Bridger cold. The cold in Montana might seem significantly more punishing than it is here in Raleigh, but it is very manageable with the proper clothing.

Idaho is cold too, but I can’t wait to play in Idaho's cold weather when we move. Snowboarding, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing will probably be in constant competition to be at the top of our list of favorite winter activities.

While the move to Boise is sweet, there is a bit of sour lingering about it. Living in Boise will allow us to be closer to some family but it will also remove us from close friends here in Raleigh, like these characters.

Tonight's cold reminded me alot of this trip to Linville Gorge.

It was pretty cold at night during this trip--around 30 degrees I think--but the days were awesome. We all had a great hike as you can see in our smiles. Add hiking to the long list of things that I can’t wait to do with our old friends from Raleigh when they visit us in Idaho. I think we’ll be able to get together and hike just like we have in the past and hopefully for years and years to come. I have faith that all of my friendships will survive our move and I'm positive the friendships will continue to grow as time passes.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Not in the moment

Today I found myself longing for spring already.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Rocking and Shopping

On Saturday, I met up with my friend Caroline at the Rock and Shop Market in downtown Raleigh. This is a venue for mostly local or nearby artists to showcase their work. I was hoping to find a few Christmas gifts. I didn't find a whole lot of Christmas gifts, but I found alot of stuff I wanted to buy for myself. Precisely not the point, so I didn't buy much.

I noticed that textiles seem to have replaced pottery as the hot craft medium. There were a number of artists selling handmade purses, bags, and clothing out of beautiful fabrics. One in particular I liked was
Pear Threads. Mary Kruger is the artist, and she makes lovely hand-sewn bags. Pear Threads also makes adorable headbands in colorful vintage-looking fabrics. I agonized for about 10 minutes over which pattern to buy, and then I discoverd that they are reversible. This only made the decision more difficult. When I walked out of the bathroom wearing my "Dottie" headband, Caroline laughed and said all I needed to complete my 1940s look was a matching apron and she was right! Unfortunately, aprons aren't available.

Another artist I struggled not to buy from was alena hennessy. Alena's work is of 'flora' and 'fauna' and her pieces are on hefty wood frames with thick resin coatings which make them look luscious. She also makes giclee prints of her originals. I liked the subject matter, particularly the horse, bird, and deer images, as well as the simplicity of her work and the deep colors she uses. Her images remind me a bit of cave paintings. I feel certain I will be adding her work to our home at some point.

I am a fool for jewelry and I was totally enamored (no pun intended--I didn't buy anything) by KL jewelry designs. There are loads of jewelry metalsmiths and so many of them are incredibly talented, however, Kristin Linton's use of polished wood and highly textured fabric in her pieces was novel to me. That is an innovation I have never seen.

Other artists of note were Laura Drewry of Ant Farm Studios and Duy Huynh (pronounced Yee Wun). Laura's leaf and plant prints and her choice of colors in representing them are especially beautiful to me. Just another perspective of the usual, which reminds us to pay attention. Duy Huynh's paintings were lonely but evocative. Some of the subjects moved me in a personal "I identify with that" sort of way, such as "Rebirth". Others had a playful humor about a familiar feeling, such as the piece "Grace Under Pressure", which depicts two opposing jockeys stuck in an endless race on a two-sided rocking horse.

Friday, December 01, 2006


It has been a tough week. Thursday was the worst because I found out what next Thursday will look like for me. I think it is just bad luck to have 3 final exams on the same day, don’t you? My Biology lab final is at 8am, Sociology final set for 11am, and to cap those two off for a truly fine day I will be sitting down to my World Religion final exam at 6:30pm. The start and end of my day will be far more difficult than the portion sandwiched in the middle. Yikes, it’s going to be a long weekend in the books for me. That being said, I decided to knock out the house cleaning and laundry today. My luck took a turn as I pulled 2 bucks out of a pair of jeans.

Kate, thank you! You just donated two bucks to my luck fund!

(btw you had some good luck too, your new Cottage Living is here)