PSA: yoga butt

Say the words yoga butt and people know what you’re talking about. Google it. Now you know as well. You’re welcome.

Some people try to achieve yoga butt by buying yoga pants.

Wrong.

Yoga pants do not make your butt look good. Yoga pants enhance an already nice butt, or accentuate the nonexistence of a nonexistent butt – unless you buy $80 yoga pants, which magically give you a wonderful behind where there was none.

Practicing yoga, however, will (eventually) give you a nice round buttocks. Yes, ladies – yoga pants can be worn to actual yoga. They aren’t just beer drinking lounge pants, although they serve that propose quite nicely.

How to go from flat to round?
Step 1: Buy $80 yoga pants.
Step 2: Wear the butt enhancing $80 yoga pants to actual yoga.
Step 3: Lather, rinse, repeat.
Step 4: Trade out $80 yoga pants for $30 yoga pants.

Ta-da! You no longer have flat ass syndrome while wearing yoga pants.

Steps 2, 3, & 4 are optional.


Traffic jam in aisle 7

Picture it, Sicily 1952 the supermarket at five o’clock on a Friday afternoon. It’s loud, it’s bright, and fire code laws are probably being broken. No one wants to be there, yet there they are – weaving their carts around displays of canned soups and boxed hamburger helper. No one is staying to the right (which I personally feel would lessen the chaos), instead they are aiming their metal ankle clippers randomly – stopping and starting without warning or concern for others. There are more elbows than oranges in the bogo sunkist display, and people are reaching in front of each other near the prepared fruit kiosk, trying desperately to get the package of strawberries at the very back of the shelf (because we ALL know the fresh stuff is in the back, the stuff without white fur growing on the bottom layer).

I am also aimlessly wandering around, fitting into the centre of the chaos as if I belong there, clutching a bottle of midol and a 4L container of ice cream.

While looking for something to bring home for the kids – as they wouldn’t want the midol and I wasn’t keen on sharing my ice cream – I see him. The cutest little boy with brown hair and bright blue eyes standing in the middle of the deli section.

He is directing traffic.

No taller than three feet, he stands smiling in the midst of a group of grouchy adults. One hand raised to stop a woman trying to balance about seven loaves of bread (I shit you not), another hand motioning for a man carrying a chocolate cake and a bunch of bananas to pass through. I watch as he carefully directs shopping carts and people, and I notice that shoppers are beginning to smile.

There’s something about a smiling child that just makes you want to smile too. It is contagious.

So, thank you, boy from the supermarket, for making me smile. That smile changed my mood, funny how that happens. I didn’t even mind the fact that the woman in front of me in the express line had 17 items when the sign clearly stated 10 items or less… I mean, of course I counted her items, but I kept the total to myself 😉


Extroverted Introvert: Look at me! (while I close my eyes)

I wake up before my kids so that I can have thirty minutes by myself. I play my favourite music on my way to work so that I can clear my head before entering the building. I leave work at lunch to get a coffee, not because I need a coffee but because I enjoy the drive by myself. I thoroughly enjoy that hour at night when the house is quiet and I can just sit for a while. I have given many weekends to a good book (or three). In essence, I like being alone.

Yet, if you met me you would assume I am an extrovert. Hell, I thought I was an extrovert for a very long time.

I love the chaos that is a high school classroom. I barely take a breath while chatting in the staff room – to friends, acquaintances, and substitutes I’ve never seen before. I am the first to volunteer to climb on stage at a high school talent show to play the part of assistant to the next David Copperfield. I can chat with the people in front of and behind me in the grocery store line. I never turn down karaoke.

I have stood in front of rooms filled with strangers and delivered assertiveness training seminars.

Hello, my name is J and I am an extroverted introvert.

Oxymoron? Not really.

I have realized that underneath all of my extroverted qualities I am an introvert. It’s not that I possess more introverted qualities than extroverted qualities, but at my core – when you strip away all of the fluff, the daily life, the responsibilities – I am introverted. I feel truly like me when I am alone, focusing on my own thoughts, feelings, and processes.

I recharge by being alone. That energy that comes from being in a large group of people? I don’t get that. I felt like I needed to be debriefed after the office Christmas party. Not that I didn’t enjoy the office Christmas party, I drank, danced, sang, and drank some more. I was one of the last to leave. However, once at home I sat on the couch and played sudoku on my phone for forty minutes before going to bed. I could not go to sleep until my mind came down from the overstimulation that comes with a large group of people.

It wasn’t until I started reading about extroverts and introverts (which I began because my oldest kiddo displays many introverted qualities and I wanted to understand him better, and to parent him in a way that allowed him to grow and thrive in this extroverted world while being exactly who he is) that I really started to reflect on where I fit on the spectrum. It’s not an all or nothing sort of thing, at least that’s what I believe. We all fit somewhere between zero and one hundred, between introvert and extrovert. We all possess qualities from both camps.

I possess many of the typical extroverted qualities. I am outgoing, I can enjoy social gatherings and appear confident in them, I can express myself easily and I often take initiative in starting conversations. I am assertive, especially in the workplace, work well on a team, and love being surrounded by people.

I enjoy social interaction, but I need solitude.

I draw my energy from being alone. I need that. In addition to displaying extroverted qualities I find myself possessing many of the typical introverted qualities as well. I am introspective and reflective. I have many acquaintances but prefer only a few close friends. I talk a lot, but am a private person. I am guarded, yet appear transparent. I write this blog very openly, but keep it anonymous. Actually, writing serves as reflection – and while not only allowing me to reflect on what muddles my brain, it relaxes and recharges me.

I am an introvert who loves this extroverted world. An introvert who spends a lot of time embracing extroversion. I am an introvert who uses the word extrovert as an adjective instead of a noun, as it helps describe my introverted self.

So there you have it, my thoughts on a Sunday morning. I am an extroverted introvert, or at least that’s what my self reflection tells me at this point in my life 😉

*If you read Max Freyd’s writings from 1924, you will find a list of introverted traits. These descriptors help in understanding what introversion is all about at its core. Similar lists can be found for extroverts.
**The book The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child is a wonderful read.


Back to school: get your ass out of bed!

This post will not include school lunch recipes or quick and healthy snack ideas that fit in a 6×8 inch Spider-Man lunch box and make you look like you’ve studied food presentation at a high-end culinary school for three years. Nor will it include sappy nostalgia about babies growing up, or holding your child’s heart forever. Not that I think there is anything wrong with posts like that, but this ain’t one of them.

No, this post is all about handling the morning madness. Or laughing at it. Either option is fine. The only thing not acceptable is throwing your hands in the air and stomping to your room. If you start doing that shit in September it’s going to be a long school year.

As you know I aim for sanity, but being able to be amused by the crazy is a solid second – and I’m starting to prefer silver anyway.

If you asked me for tips on how to make school mornings less of a battle zone and more of a happy place, I would do what I usually do and share what works for me. Or rather, what sometimes works for me, because as we all know nothing ever works all of the time.

Since we are all in the midst of the summer/school transition I took the liberty of not waiting to be asked 😉

The dreaded wake up
5 year old: In the still dark room, quietly say, “Rise and shine, buddy, you get to go to school today!” A happy child is a productive child. Nobody has time for noodle legs while wrestling into a pair of pants. Try to start the day off on a happy note. A soft voice with a happy tone is your best shot. It’s likely all going to go to shit anyway, but even a few minutes of a smiling face is better than dealing with Mr. Cranky pants first thing in the morning.

15 year old: Turn on the light as you bellow “Rise and Shine!” Accompanying jazz hands are optional but encouraged, especially if your teen’s eyes actually open upon entry (although I admit that the jazz hands are more for my amusement than my sanity). The moan and rollover technique that will follow does not mean you should leave the room. It means just the opposite, actually. You need to start talking. About anything. Pause only to breathe. When you start getting more than one word responses it is safe to leave the room. You may however, have to repeat the above unless you make sure your teen is vertical before walking out.

Breakfast
Don’t give more than two or three choices. Three is being generous. This morning the choices were oatmeal, granola/yogurt/berries, or get yourself something. Both kids opted to get themselves a banana and a yogurt. The little kiddo also convinced the big kiddo to slice him a piece of cheddar. Do not start making them pancakes with bacon and scrambled eggs during the first week of school. Set the bar low. By October you’ll thank me.

Appropriate school clothes
5 year old: Pick out clothes the night before. Do this every night even though your 5 year old will only wear a predetermined outfit two of the five school days per week. On the other three days just make sure he is wearing all of the components. Shirt, pants, underwear and socks. Does it really matter if he matches? Does it really matter if his pants are too short? Dressing himself is an art form, just make sure you remind him to tell the teacher that he picked out his own clothes. Morning battles over clothing are unnecessary and exhausting, and regardless of who wins, everyone still loses.

15 year old: One word – clean. Teenagers don’t smell themselves. It has something to do with the hormones being released and the maturation of the nasal cavity. I made that up. Obviously. My point? Teenage boys will wear the same shirt all week, and they don’t care. Stand firm in your expectation of clean clothes. If its not clean, squirt ketchup on them while they make their own breakfast. No one wants to go to school with ketchup stains. Make sure you switch out the ketchup for mustard or juice occasionally to keep your cover. Also, if there is a shirt they love, go back to the store and buy two more. Or ten.

Hygiene
5 year old: “Time to brush your teeth!” Followed by the biggest smile you can muster. The goal, of course, is to have them brush their teeth by themselves when you ask, and to do a decent job. Sometimes this will happen. Do not resort to holding the top of their head while jabbing the toothbrush aimlessly around their mouth. Imagine someone doing that to you? Not cool. I have recently started telling my 5 year old that it is more fun to brush your teeth while standing on one foot, spinning in slow circles, or while trying to say “how much woodchuck could a woodchuck chuck…” This tip falls into both the sanity and amusement category.

15 year old: “Did you put on deodorant and brush your teeth?” Again, big smile. If the answer is yes, congratulations, your kid has a girlfriend/boyfriend. If the answer is no, give the death glare. You can even throw in an exasperated “really?” but I find it’s more effective to say something like, “mmmm, fuzzy teeth and pit stink, I miss being 15.” Don’t be offended by the loud sigh, that’s just teenage code for you’re the most awesome mother ever.

Laughter
5 year old: Tell him a new knock-knock joke while he puts on his sneakers. Laughing just before leaving sets the tone for the day. And he’s 5, the joke doesn’t even have to make sense. If you can’t think of a joke suitable for a 5 year old just ask him if he farted. That will produce giggles, I promise.

15 year old: This one comes easily for me, we joke around all the time. If you don’t laugh with your teen you should really give it a try. If you can’t produce the funny, try texting your teen something you find on the internet (not porn) while he’s at the bus stop. The big kiddo and I watch Criminal Minds together so when I’m not feeling the funny I’ll just send him something Spencer said, as he is one of the few television characters that makes the kiddo guffaw.

So there you have it, a glimpse into my mornings. Some mornings are wonderful and happy, some mornings are utter shit. If they are clean, fed, dressed and can muster a smile it’s classified as a success. Making sure I’m clean, fed, dressed, smiling and at work on time is a bonus.

Happy back-to-school week! There will be a celebration on Friday for those to make it through. Wine will be provided.


Beer and running shoes

After a weekend of drinking like I was 23 (and suffering a two day hangover because I’m not 23), I started last week with a 6:30 (MONDAY MORNING) walk. Truth be told, it was while drinking with my neighbour on Friday night that the decision was made to start walking daily. At 6:30am. Everything sounds like a good idea when you’re half in the bag – even setting your alarm for the sole purpose of exercising.

Being the people pleaser I am, and not wanting to back out of an agreement, I walked daily at 6:30 with my neighbour. By Wednesday I was not only looking forward to it, I wanted to do more. I actually stepped on my sweater drying rack treadmill on Sunday. And I ran 😮

After a week and a half I think I’ve found my groove, but there were a few bumps. I had to learn that walking with a belly full of coffee is not a good idea, and that stretching (even though you’re just walking) is important.

I have also realized that my body (and my mind) actually enjoy the fresh air of the early morning. Who would have thought?

We started the couch to 5k program this week, which meant I went shopping for running gear. For the first time, I left a store with two pairs of sneakers and didn’t even try on a pair of heels.

Who am I?!

Oh, and I should probably give a shout out to Coors Light. If it wasn’t for the blue mountains I probably wouldn’t have new running shoes.

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