The Door Has Opened

It’s been a weird summer for me.

I got sick often. Sometimes from the heat, sometimes from the humidity, mostly from the evil that is my periodontal issues. Summers are tough for me, and I tend to forget to hydrate when I’m at home. So on a day like today, all the windows are open, fans are going, and my slow moving-ness is topped off by iced tea*, more tea, and water. I’m sweating, and while that’s kind of funky, it’s also a good thing because at one point it just wasn’t happening. There was no sweat. That is BAD.

Side note: 99 Ranch, my local (and favorite) Asian Market has canned green & black tea. Not always, but sometimes… and it is YUM. Is it healthy? Well, it’s not soda, but I can’t recall the brand to look up ingredients. 99 Ranch is also a bit out of my way, which meant that I needed to find a way to recreate the flavor. Short version – Microwave a cup of water for a minute. Get a teabag (Yamamoto jasmine or Lipton’s black are my standbys), put it in the cup, put the cup in the freezer for 20 minutes. Go get your cup, drink. Awesome, cheap, delicious, and free of any monosodiumpotasichlorate flavoring #5.

I digress. I get sick when my body overheats, and it overheats often because I’m about 30 pounds overweight. 150+ does not suit a 5’0″ frame well, even if it’s all spread out proportionately. The majority of that weight is in my …chestal region, but a good portion is in the lower area between knees and belly button. You know what’s the last thing I want to do? Cardio. You know what needs to happen for me to lose the weight? Cardio. So I’ve been trying really hard to A) get up early and B) exercise. We’re talking going to the beach at 630AM for a walk or a yoga session, hitting the gym at 6AM for a twenty minute walk on the treadmill. All the things.

Coast Boulevard – the only beach I really, truly love. Is it Windansea? La Jolla? Scripps? Who knows. I only know that when I go there, I can do yoga or sit or meditate or draw and it’s all okay. So that’s been my morning spot for a few days.

Beyond that – Ginseng Yoga is my newest thing. It was a yoga studio (my very first Actual Yoga Studio) that presented itself as an opportunity, and so far it’s seemed pretty good. Here’s my Yelp review. I’ve been meaning to make a post about my yoga in detail, but I’ve been too busy with actually doing the yoga and also working like a fiend on launching the newest version of my work’s website. Which has turned out nicely, FYI. But between work and working on work outside of work, the last thing on my mind was sitting down in front of the computer even more.

Today however I had a bit of a respite and wanted to tell you guys about it, how I really do feel like yoga is doing something for me. No physical changes yet on the outside, but there are some inside ones and also some lovely periods of mental clarity and general relaxation. Step one.

As I sat down today to blog about all this and share photos, Freshly Pressed caught my eye – there was someone’s 31-day challenge about yoga. I was just starting to think that a month-long challenge would be just what I needed: whether it’s an hour of sun salutations, ten minutes of inversion practice, or merely standing meditation when the checkout line is taking WAY. TOO. EFFING. LONG. for no real reason at all. With today being the 1st, there is no better time.

Oh! And in other news: Harold is growing roots. 😀

Overall, life is really really good (except I can’t figure out why the pictures are auto-rotating to the side, and will work on that). Honestly, life right now is probably the best it’s ever been for me. Which gives me a little sour taste along with the sweet, because some of my friends don’t have it so well right now, but that’s the thing about being happy. You won’t be, always, you can only try.

And that’s what I’m doing.

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The Wind Chill Factor Is A Lie

The weather forecast for my area says it’s currently 79°, feels like: 80° and will hit a high of 81°. When the low showed 64° for later in the week I seriously did a fist-pump. But the whole “feels like” thing gets me every time. It’s eight degrees out? Throw a little wind chill in and it feels like two! TWO DEGREES. I’d honestly rather it be cool than hot though (forever), because once you get past “feels like 73°” it just hops right into “Body Feels Like A Big Ol Bloated Whale Filled With Sadness”.

This will be a rambling post because I got all sorts of nauseous this morning and came home early from work. It sucked, specifically the part where the nausea happened. Stupid, STUPID heat sensitivity. Stupid me for getting a hot white mocha which contains two things that really don’t help: caffeine and dairy. And probably the “hot” part didn’t help either.

But I will give myself a high five for getting up at 0530, driving to the beach, and getting in a solid half hour of yoga. That gave me plenty of time to get prepped for work, and I was at the office at the time I usually wake up. Unfortunately the heat kicked my butt and I lasted only an hour in the failing AC before calling it a day and using up some of my precious PTO. I really want to go back to the beach, because the thought of splashing around in the nice cool Pacific sounds amazing… but it’s probably not a good idea to go in tomorrow with a sunburn. Maybe later tonight.

Speaking of the beach, I just saw [ and it reminded me of all things good about the beach. Yes, that’s my comment on the bottom. This morning – despite someone driving for several miles in front of me with HORRIBLE exhaust, despite all the trash that was on/near the beach (so sad and gross) – I realized my life is awesome. Even on the bad days, it’s great. I appreciate every moment. While actually living at the beach ceased to be fun, luck threw me a good hand and allowed me to work and live VERY close by. All the zen flavor without the hassle (and expense) of living directly on the boardwalk.

The trash thing bummed me out though. Really, you can’t throw away your bag of chips when you’re done? Come on. There are containers all over the place to put trash in. Ridiculous. It was probably just worse because of the past holiday weekend though, hopefully.

So that was my morning. I think the early yoga-at-the-beach thing is going to become a habit during the week, because it set a really good tone for the day. You know what else sets a good (summer) tone? This blog post: http://aspenandella.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/its-104-degrees-outside-10-reasons-why-thats-a-good-thing/. Very nice. I have a decent selection of fruit in my fridge right now but no watermelon, and will need to do something about that.

My plan here for the next hour or so is to craft up a fruit-and-cheese plate, grab my favorite book, and go sit in the nice cool bath I’m about to draw.

That's right. I drew it. (in paint, in about 30 seconds.)

Oh yeah! And a Harold update … photos. He seems to be doing okay – any cloudiness in the water just appears to be the standard cloudiness that happens when you leave tap water sitting out for a day.

PS: Why did I never know that Quiet Days in Clichy was a movie? Or had a PERFECT summer soundtrack? GoogleFTW!!! So nice.

Nip and Tuck

I’ve owned this bamboo plant, Harold, for about three years. He’s hanging out on the little table there, just chillin’, as he is often wont to do. He went from a small standard “lucky bamboo” plant to a 3-foot-tall BambooZilla. I’m a proud plant mom!

Harold and his now-deceased fam

He’s been named because that’s the only way that my plants survive: name them, talk to them, give them plenty of water & sunlight. Sometimes food/soil, but that last one is optional. He did really well on my desk at work, but then my coworker tried to kidnap him (and did, for several hours on several occasions), so he needed to come home with me.

A couple weeks ago, Harold’s leaves started yellowing. He wasn’t looking too good, perhaps more sun? Less sun? New water? Less water? Bamboo is kind of hard to kill off (just make sure it’s got fresh water and filtered sunlight), but it seemed like that’s what was happening. He wasn’t getting much better.

This past weekend I noticed that the water was very dark, and the bottom stalks were turning yellow. Generally that means something is really amiss. Then, switching out the water, it dawned on me that the Really Awful Random Smell that seemed to be lingering over the past who-knows-how-long was coming from Harold. A couple weeks at least, long enough for me to not remember when it didn’t smell like something died. It wasn’t overpowering, but every so often when I went by the fridge there would be a whiff of something like food gone bad. It wasn’t pleasant, but it seemed like something that would just randomly waft in through the open window.

Anyway …BAMBOO ROT.

Now, it’s been a very hot week. It’s hot right now. I don’t do well in the heat, much like a delicate flower (or mayonnaise). I get nauseous very quickly and essentially can’t do much more than sit in front of a fan or A/C unit, eating a popsicle and trying to remember when it was cold enough to wear socks. My office and car has air conditioning, my home just has a window unit in the bedroom (which is on for the first time this year).

Keeping all that in mind, I’m not going to search for images of “bamboo rot” or anything else with the word “rot”. My stomach is already giving me the side-eye just thinking of that smell. We are barely on truce terms.

Digressing: back to Harold. About an hour ago I walked by and noticed the smell was stronger. A closer look confirmed the water was cloudy. The plan with “Operation Save Harold” was to drain the old water and add new water every day for a week, hoping to flush any toxins. This was day 3, and if the plan was to work, the water should have been fairly clear today. The smell definitely shouldn’t have been as strong.

I went into the kitchen and dumped out the water/rocks into a mixing bowl …and the smell was horrifying. There was a weird glaze of growth inside the vase that he’d been transferred to.

At this point, people are probably saying “JUST TOSS IT”.

You guys, I can’t. Harold’s been around for too long. I wanted to save him.

Upon closer inspection, he was made up of three separate stalks that were held together with twine or floral wire. That material had rotted, as did the bottom of all the stalks, as did the root system. Only one of the stalks had any green left – below the curl near the bottom of the stalk was all a yellowish-brown sick color, but the curl and above was still green. This rot appeared to only be coming up from the bottom and not infesting the entire stalk, thankfully. Made the cut under running water, tossed the whole root system and 2.5 stalks of the three. What remains is a small portion in a little round container filled with fresh clear water that I plan on switching out on a weekly basis. The only crappy side-note is that I have been sick over the past few weeks. It started with that summer flu/cold that was going around and my cough has lingered. My throat feels weird. I’m hoping/wishing/praying that all the lingering stuff is just that, and not some crazy illness from inhaling mold spores or some other such crap for me to get paranoid about. I’m sure all the A/C in my office/car is also a lovely home to mold, so let’s not think about that – but I do tend to run my car’s A/C with the windows open so the air circulates. Hopefully that helps any flying mold. Or whatever.

Ugh!

An interesting fact (thanks, Internet!) is that yellowing of the leaves and rot can come from too much sunlight, but typically more often from heavily-fluoridated water. Right around the time Harold started to get sick was about the time I saw an influx of articles that San Diego water has a higher fluoride content, which means while I still have no idea on if fluoride helps or harms (there are far too many people on both opposing and proposing sides), it’s just something to add to the thoughts. Anyway, the majority of the water I drink is from a Sparkletts jug at work, because it’s free and I love hydrating myself.

Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed for Harold. And me.

Harold ...in happier times