Hot Mess Yoga (309th new thing).

April 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Before Day Three Hundred Nine I had never really done yoga before. I had mimicked the simple exercises on the Wii Fit, but not taken a class or learned proper positioning under the guidance of a professional. A twenty-nine year old white suburban girl who doesn’t yoga? With the fitness’s popularity, it’s pretty difficult to comprehend. To make up for stereotypes, I jumped straight in, head-first, by taking a Bikram (hot) Yoga class.

My friend Jenny had been to Marietta Bikram Yoga studio before and volunteered to go along with me. She said it felt really good and was quite relaxing. I tensed at the thought of embarrassing myself. I can barely touch my toes, let alone twist my body into some crazy pretzel shape. But I was committed. If anything, the oxygen therapy the day before had at least opened up my blood cells or something.

I arrived early for the 4:30 class and headed in to change and sign the requisite waiver. You know, the “Not responsible for injury or death” one I have become quite used to over the course of this blog. The employees seemed nice and I disclosed this was my first ever yoga class. The bald burly instructor came up and introduced himself (his name which I cannot remember) and seemed intrigued when I told him about my doing-something-new-everyday thing. He assumed it was something healthy, but I quickly dispelled that idea by mentioning that I had infused vodka with skittles. He wasn’t expecting that.

Once Jenny arrived we headed into the sweltering studio (Bikram Yoga is performed in a 105 degree room), laid our mats down at the back with our towels on top, and us on top of that, similar to the other two people in the studio. After a few minutes and about fifteen more people copying the procedure, and just before I started to doze in the heat, the overhead lights came on and Yogi Man bounded in.

He explained the starting position (feet together, arms at our sides) and we all commenced with this strange breathing exercise that involved holding a fist, fingers entwined, under the chin and exhaling while opening up the arms and lifting the elbows, head tilting back. The inhale was the reverse. I performed this warm up easily enough, although my weak upper body strength started to show with the ache in my shoulders.

This was followed by a series of standing exercises. I can’t really remember most of them, with their difficult-to-pronounce names. I know I participated in about three positions before the room started to swirl. I had been warned about the likelihood of light-headedness and possible nausea, so when the corners of my vision began to blur and darken I lay down on my mat as instructed and rested. I probably opted out of second sets of the standing positions more times than I actually completed them. I was up and down like a bunny rabbit, but much more slowly. I saw the need for the waiver in the beginning. Why was I doing this voluntarily?

The seated positions were slightly better, although there were few I opted out of again. There were rests between each one, which I enjoyed immensely. Could I just lie on my back for the rest of the class and call it yoga?

At the end of the class we did some ending breathing exercise where you puff air out of your “O” shaped mouth in short succession. Yogi Man said we were removing the “toxins.” I will never understand these crazy health people. He thanked everyone, gave me a brief applause for staying the whole class, and offered me and Jenny an “electrolyte drink” when we got out “on the house.” It turned out to be Emergen-C. Then the lights were dimmed again and everyone lay down on their mats, slowly getting up one by one. Jenny popped up right away but I stayed for a few minutes, gaining my breath.

At first I thought hot yoga was just a weird and uncomfortable form of exercise (I’ve never heard a fitness expert tell me that it was normal for my elbows and wrists to feel strained while exercising), but it turned out it was just that class. Apparently most instructors don’t bark out orders and talk incessantly like a drill sargaent or call out people who are performing the positions wrong. And they certainly don’t mention vodka infused with skittles to everyone and then chuckle, explaining it was an “in joke.” Jenny also told me that yoga was about flow and any other class she attended did not involve rotating staccato-like from one pose to the next AND in her other classes, the instructor did the poses too. Yogi Man attempted a few for demonstration, but then explained away his inflexibility as “not being warmed up.” Jenny, who took just as many rests as I did to avoid fainting (at one point I watched fearfully as she stumbled a little in slow motion) said that she had never felt that way in the hot yoga class before. And I believed her. Because that was difficult and yoga was supposed to be kind of peaceful.

I think I will try Bikram Yoga again, but definitely not with that instructor. I like the idea of the poses and the flow and the heat, but I don’t want to faint in front of twenty other sweaty people.


Taste the (Vodka) Rainbow (297th new thing).

February 23, 2012 § 1 Comment

My friend Jenny told me about infusing vodka with skittles for a sweetened boozefest. It sounded interesting enough that I stole her idea and made my own rainbow of liquor on Day Two Hundred Ninety-Seven.

I googled the process and found a simple recipe: 10 skittles for every ounce of vodka. So I bought a giant bag of the multicolored sugar balls and a liter of vodka. I added sixty little candies to four empty water bottles (leaving out the green of course, because the green ones are gross), and added six ounces of vodka to each bottle. I shook the containers like they were polaroid pictures and then let them sit for four or five hours.

Then I poured the chalky mixture through a coffee filter (not all that successfully) into some jam jars I had purchased for my canning trials. Into the freezer they went.

I tasted the yellow flavor (lemon, is it?) mixed with a little water to lessen the effect of the sugar and alcohol. It wasn’t half bad. Tasted kind of like a lemon drop. It reminded me of something I would have loved when I was new to the world of alcohol (you know, over twenty-one). It really did taste just like a skittle. I’m not sure if that is good or bad, though. I know with all that sweetness, drinking enough would surely lead to a massive hangover, so I suppose I’ll save my candy colored booze for a special occasion.

Playing Dress Up at Work (237th new thing).

January 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

People at my job really enjoy Halloween. Until this year, there was even a costume contest, with a giftcard reward for the winner. Since I had a costume this year, and Patrick wouldn’t wear it with me on Halloween, work was really the only place to show off my crafting skills by parading around in the home made “Fork & Spoon” ensemble. But of course, the year I end up bringing a piece of Halloween fun to work, no one else does. Hello, Day Two Hundred Thirty-Seven.

I had never before dressed up for a work Halloween. I haven’t properly dressed up for Halloween at all since I was about eleven. I think I went as Dorothy and brought my dog Prissy along to be Toto. While a Fork and Spoon is a long way from the Wizard of Oz, at least both costumes were home made (the Dorothy outfit by my much more technically skilled mom).

We look like the American Gothic painting, but friendlier.

Even when I left the house I was a little apprehensive about working as a spoon (or a fork), so I dressed in mostly black and carried the shiny pieces in with me. I roped Jenny into being my other half, so every so often, when people would come into the booth, we’d don our fork and spoon headgear and take a picture. Without the costume contest though, we were two of only about five people who actually dressed up, and for the most part of the day, we just wore our normal clothing, sans the shiny silver.

Doing my best forking impression.

I got a few, “That’s…interesting!” comments, and about a third of my coworkers questioned what we were actually supposed to be (not a “castle turret” or “toilet seat” as some may have thought).

I’d like to think I will carefully store the products of labor away until next year, but let’s be honest; they really do look a bit dumb.

Eighty. French Braids.

June 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

I have only ever had my hair french braided, never performed the task on someone else’s mane. So on Day Eighty I enlisted my friend Jenny to donate her ginger locks to my inexperienced hands and I french braided her hair.

I had attempted the feat before, usually on myself, but quickly gave up once my arms became tired of trying to twist pieces of hair together behind my head at awkward angles. My mom has always been the one to pleat my hair. However, when I was five, my mom went into work before fixing my hair for school. The task was left to my dad who, although a very handy man, could not get through my thick tangles to form a nice braid. I’m pretty sure my bratty five year old self whined and ended up going to school with a rat’s nest pulled back on my crown.

I started with the three small pieces of hair from the front of Jenny’s head, and crossed the left strand over the middle one. I added hair to the right side and repeated the process. I followed the time tested recipe for french braids all the way down to the end of her ginger locks. It actually didn’t look that bad, especially for doing it sans brush.

So while I don’t plan on changing careers to be a french-braider extraordinaire anytime soon, I may have mastered a new skill. Perfect since I don’t have enough hair anymore to practice on myself!

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