there is no “i” in yoga

it’s true, that there is no “i” in yoga…but there is a “yo”, and i would like you to remember that.

a few years ago, when hubs and i lived in an apartment in another part of the city, we belonged to a super awesome crunch fitness that had the best fitness classes and was never more than 20% full of people working out…which is probably why it closed its doors shortly after we joined.

at the time i would go to yoga at crunch maybe twice a week.  it was a big room, everybody could spread out, and it was quiet and peaceful, but also a good workout.  when they transferred our memberships to a nearby la fitness without asking us, i came to find that the yoga classes were packed all the time.  by the way, so were the treadmills.  there were 30 treadmills (not exaggerating) and they were all taken, all the time.

when we bought our house we joined a nearby 24 hour fitness, which has no classes.  i miss my crunch yoga classes.  one of our neighbors urged me to look into the class schedule at our local rec center, and finally, this spring, i signed up for rec center yoga.  i was stoked.

this yoga class is very different from the other ones i have taken.  i am the youngest person by a solid 20 years.  the room is tiny, has low ceilings, and does not provide a lot of space between you and your yogi neighbor.  the instructor is bubbly and talkative, and people ask questions.  oh they ask questions!

“what is this supposed to feel like in my hip joint?” “i have weak knees, do you think i can do this pose?” “can you personally tailor this class to my needs and my needs only?” (i made that last one up.) we spend probably 30% of the class talking about yoga, and not actually doing any yoga.

interactive yoga seems kind of like the opposite of how yoga is supposed to go, right?

the first 3 classes were normal, and i could tell i was becoming much more flexible, especially in my hamstrings.  i have also been complimented by the instructor on my “very open hips”, so take that for what you will.

but then in week 4, our instructor surprised us with partner poses.  partner poses, i tell you!  putting your body on another stranger’s body!  my worst nightmare, probably!

that week, a stranger got very hands-on with my lower-lower back.  on week 5, i had to put my bare feet against the bare feet of a sheepish but sweaty older man.  then we held hands and pulled our faces towards each other.  week 6 involved putting my hands on someone else’s lower back and gently rocking their body back and forth.  YOU GUYS.  I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS.

week 7 offer a sweet respite from stranger touching, and i was thrilled.  but this week, week 8, when it came time to get dressed for yoga, i just didn’t have it in me to sit in a dark room and touch somebody else.  could not do it again.

so i stayed home and vowed to do a yoga video alone in my basement.  oh, my beloved yoga video.  the one that asks that you “soften the belly” and “breath into your kidneys” and “relax your palate”.  i will take you over creepy and uncomfortable partners yoga any day.

though sometimes it is difficult to concentrate on the video, thanks to a certain someone who does a very convincing downward-facing dog.

busteryoga

how to keep pollen off of a screened in porch, and other things

every spring in atlanta, when the pollen descends from the trees and into our lives, we are ostracized from our screened in porch during the time of year when it would be most enjoyable.  so this year, we took matters into our own hands and (desperately) tried to keep the effing pollen out of our porch.  behold!

pollenscreenedinporch

we bought a $10 roll of clear poly (not quite clear, as you can see) and stapled all the way around our porch to create a barrier against the pollen.  we also used masking tape to keep the seams sealed.  and you know what?  so far so good!  I think this keeps the pollen at bay! 

though, we do not exactly enjoy the porch while it is dressed up as one of dexter’s victims, and it is creepy as hell to sit at the table and eat dinner while surrounded by plastic.  but at least we won’t have to clean up the pollen before we can use the porch again.

pollenscreenedinporch2

and we look super classy, our neighbors are not skeeved out at all.

though after we had done this, we realized we could have just removed all of the cushion before the pollen came, and then rinsed the pollen away once it was done.  oh well.

some other things we’ve done around the house in the name of spring and general getting stuff done-ness:

i bought this mirror a few months ago at goodwill.  it was bright gold.  and hubs took one look at it and declared that it was “the penis mirror”.  and i showed it to my sisters, and they may have agreed with him.  but that didn’t keep me from painting it blue and hanging it in our upstairs hallway.

inappropriatemirror

[those are my painting clothes, I promise I don’t go out in public wearing soccer shorts.  also, full disclosure, I have never played soccer.]

the print is new and by an artist named elizabeth mayville.  I found it on etsy and I am obsessed.  the table is a homegoods find, and now that I look at it, I feel like it’s super off-white and needs to be painted…maybe next year.

and YES that is a futon in the next room don’t judge me!

one last major crazy thing I took care of on sunday night was painting our stairwell!  it is, mmmmm, 95% done?  but the last 5% is going to be the WORST.  uggggghhhhhhh.

paintedstairwell

i’m sorry the light is so bad but hubs turned off the lights downstairs right as i took this picture.

painting the stairwell finally connects the downstairs, which has been painted since before we moved in 2.5 years ago, and the upstairs hallway that I painted recently.  except, you know, now I have to figure out how to finish it without getting paint on the ceiling.  because I have NO IDEA what color paint goes on the ceiling in our house, so i have nothing to touch it up with.  god help us.

i will say that painting with an extender pole filled me with so much glee.  to be able to reach a point on the wall that was 3 times my height was strangely exhilirating.  okay so hubs may have done the VERY tippy top of the wall, but 90% of the 95% of the stairwell was done by yours truly.

throughout these home improvement endeavors, buster has continued to have no physical boundaries whatsoever.  he also needs a haircut so very badly.

bustergreenchair

finally, i cannot conclude this post without showing you the most amazing thing that happened at an irish pub this weekend.  my good friend (we will call her melamine) looked into her beer and saw someone winking back at her.

smilingbeer

most people see jesus in their food.  we get creepy smiley faces.  sounds about right.

They’re the 2 Best (Pillow) Friends That Anyone Could Have

Remember this past April when I went to Brussels and drunkenly picked out this souvenier bull terrier pillow?

brusselspillow

Well now it has a friend, that was purchased while sober.  Behold!

bichonpillow

It’s a bichon!  I grew up with a bichon (which autocorrect changes to “bitching”, I just thought you should know), rest his soul.  My sisters and I still cry when we think about him.  He was like our 5th sibling.  He was the best dog ever.  So when I saw this super cheesy bichon pillow on Joss & Main, with very similar coloring to the bull terrier pillow, I had to have it.

Here is me at an awkward 9 years old with my little buddy:

familydog3

He sort of looks like a demon here, as red eye correction doesn’t work on pictures taken circa 1993, I guess.

familydog4

That sweet face kills me.  And we did a lot of pumpkin carving in my childhood, apparently.

But back to the pillows.  Look how cute they are together:

pillowfriends

They make me so happy, though I need a better inside billow for the bull terrier, I realize now.  Hubs is less than thrilled about the new BFF pillows, but he’ll get over it.

My one gripe is that I ordered this pillow on November 9th.  It arrived at my house on December 11th.  I emailed Joss & Main after the first couple of weeks went by, and their response was kind of bitchy, BUT once you order one thing from them, you get free shipping for the next 30 days, so I’ve been ordering all sorts of little chotchkies from them to milk that free shipping for all it’s worth. #neverforget

As a result, I also picked up a new kitchen rug to match the one we already have under the table in our kitchen nook:

rugs

I don’t think it’s vine overload because there is an island between them so you don’t ever really see both at the same time.  And NOW I realize that I rid our kitchen of vine-inspired light fixtures, only to fill it with vine-inspired rugs.

Most other chotchkies are Christmas gifts, so I’ll have to wait to exploit those here.  But I love watching them all trickle in, tiny package by tiny package.  Buster does not love watching them trickle in, because he is terrified of boxes.

And raccoons, we learned yesterday.

bustermohawk

Living Room Arrangement

When we were house hunting 2 years ago, hubs and I agreed that we didn’t see the need for a separate den and formal living room.  We are not terribly formal people (understatement of the century).  Most of the houses we looked at were built in the late 70’s to early 80’s, and almost all had a separate den and formal living space.  But our precious homeowners had already knocked down the wall between theirs, which basically made us see the opposite of dollar signs flashing in the air when we walked in the front door.

The only problem we’ve been having is how to fill up that space purposefully, functionally, and classilly…?  So here is how it looked for almost 2 years:

The red squares are two giant mid-century armchairs that we inherited from hubs’s parents.  They are neat in a been-around-the-block kind of way, but Buster’s hair clings to the fabric like Madonna clings to her youth, which can be so frustrating.  So up the stairs they rolled (seriously, I rolled them, by myself.  Have I ever told you how impatient I am?).

Here are the red chairs, sort of:

We decided a while back that we needed a desk in this space, because when we work from home, it’d be nice to have a space to work that doesn’t involve the couch or the stools in the kitchen that make your butt go numb after 45 minutes.  We came up with two configurations.

This one, which we ultimately decided was a little too wacky:

And this one, which is more boring but also lends itself to laziness, in that the TV can stay put:

So we ordered a desk (this one) and put it together, and rearranged the room, but the desk ultimately felt too small for the wall.  So hubs agreed to keep rearranging until it felt right, which had me all hot and bothered because usually I have to beg him to move furniture around.  Hubba hubba.

After shuffling things around for a bit, we decided that the desk was a better fit between the windows that face the front of the house, and that we can go one of two directions from there.  This one, which involves scouring the ends of Homegoods for 2 more armchairs (they are blue and green because we already own 1 blue and 1 green chair):

Or this one, which allows us to go shopping for a super fancy (looking) settee!  Which is really just a pretty and less bulky loveseat.

Decently priced settees are surprisingly difficult to find.  Brand new, they are in the range of $600 to $1200.  I even found a gently used and not hideous one on Craigslist for $425.  But then I did a quick google search on gray settee, and found this baby hiding at my favorite money-sucking everystore, Target:

It’s beautiful.  It’s not a behemoth.  And the greatest part of all is that it is cheap AND has great reviews.  AND it’s gray AND it has silver nailhead trim AND I am obsessed with it.  Original price is $299, but with the 5% off with my redCard and another 15% for a reason I cannot quite figure out and free shipping (the way to a girl’s heart), it comes to $259.

SOLD!

For now, we have the living room in this setup, which feels goofy, but hubs and I found ourselves parked across from each other in the armchairs for a good chunk of our evening, so maybe we are on to something.

God, I love rearranging furniture.  It makes me feel so alive.

And now that the windows are no longer blocked, Buster can assume his figurehead position as house watchdog.

Musical Blunders and Other Things, Too

I need to stop buying Groupons.

A few weeks ago, I bought 2 tickets to a local movie theater where you can eat dinner AND watch movies at the same time, for $5 each.  They expire this Thursday.  I had accepted the fact that the tickets would go to waste because we never go see movies and why would I think this month would be any different?  Until I saw this pop up on my twitter feed on Tuesday morning:

I texted hubs with our new Tuesday night plans, and he was game.  So we got home from work, walked Buster, apologized to him for leaving again so soon, and headed to the theater.

When we got to the counter and handed the Groupon to the girl at the register, she radio’d to her manager to ask if Groupons could be used for the Coldplay movie since it is a special event.

Fffffffffffffffudge.

The answer was no.  Last time I checked, I had movie tickets for a movie theater and the Coldplay special event was a MOVIE.  Why is life so hard?  We left and went to Taco Mac to drown our sorrows in queso and beer, and returned home to this smug little face:

It’s like he is saying “I told you so”.  With his eyes.

I love Thanksgiving, or whatever (mostly just the stuffing), but the cream of my holiday crop is Christmas.   I don’t bother buying pumpkins or orange-colored decorations for October/November, 50% because I hate Halloween/the color orange, and 50% because they just get in the way of Christmas.  That being said, I do try to have some restraint when it comes to celebrating too early.  Commercialization of Christ’s birth, yadda yadda yadda, I LOVE JINGLE BELLS and you can’t take that away from me.

So maybe I’ve been listening to Christmas music on Spotify and in the privacy of my cubicle at work and in my car during my commute.  Don’t judge me.  Now if this swamp cough I’ve been fighting for the better part of 2 weeks would just go away already, I could sing along.

Touché.

Speaking of Spotify, I was surprised when it started up yesterday and I saw an ad for Christina Aguilera’s new album, which was already available for streaming.  Come again?  I am a CA fan (though I wish she would wear pants more often) and expected it to be more of an event when her new album came out.  No idea it was already here.

So far…it’s all right.  If you’re going to sample it, I suggest the tracks Lotus Intro (it’s synthy-soothing), Blank Page (old school Christina ballad), and Cease Fire.  Just a Fool ft. Blake Shelton is not bad either.  I could see ellipticizing to this.

I’ve been casually watching the new show Nashville on ABC (coveting Connie Britton’s hair throughout), and noticed the daughters on the show are also real-life sisters from the video below, who are crazy talented.  My sister sent me the link to their cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” a few weeks ago, and we both wondered, what were we doing throughout our childhood?  Playing outside?  We wasted so much precious time.

Also, their first names are Lennon and Maisy, which are almost as cool and unique as Anne and Sara.

WIth that totally organic segway into social networking…

Did anybody else see the new feature on Facebook, couples pages?  You don’t even get a chance to opt out – it’s automatically there!  Hubs and I are horrified.  Luckily our couples page is pretty sparsely populated, because we tend to interact in person rather than on Facebook.  Still…I’m creeped out.  To see yours, go to facebook.com/us.  I apologize in advance.

Funny Valentine's Day Ecard: I'm ready to change my Facebook relationship status if you are.
And speaking of being creeped out, Instagram now has webpages for all of its users, too.  And they didn’t even ask me first!  I like Instragram in the privacy of my iPhone.  A few weeks ago my dad quit facebook because “Mark Zuckerberg is a bad guy.”  (I guess he didn’t see The Social Network in 2010?)  Maybe my dad was right.
One last gripe and then I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled wondering-what-to-eat-for-lunch-today schedule.
LEAVES.  Oh God, the leaves.  They are everywhere.  The thought of raking right now makes me want to weep.  We’re too cheap to pay someone to clear our leaves for us.  So the next time there is an unseasonably warm Sunday in Atlanta, you can find me in the front yard with a boombox, a bottle of wine, and tears.  So many tears.
Annnnnnnnnnnnd how do I always manage to mess up the spacing on my posts?  Always.  I give up.  Sorry this post is so meaty.  Or am I?!?  At least I posted.
I hate everything.

Repentance for Pendants

For the past 2 years, I have been eyeing the pendant lights above our kitchen sink, lusting after the idea of taking them down and replacing them with something sleek, industrial, and that doesn’t remind me of the secret vine in Super Mario Brothers.

You know what I’m talking about.

I bought some cheap but stylish pendants from Home Depot a few weeks ago, and they arrived, and the finish was hideous, but nothing a little oil rubbed bronze spray paint couldn’t fix.  One of the pendants was missing an important piece, so I actually had to order a third one, but that’s okay, worse things have happened.

So tonight, as hubs sat on the couch working away because his company was not satisfied with the 12 hours he had already put in today, I decided to replace the light fixtures.

By myself.

I’m not dumb, I’ve done it before.  Seems simple enough.

I took down one vine light.  There were two but I got excited and took one down before I remember to take a picture.

It took about 20 seconds to take down both lights, so I was all, pfffft this is so easy I’ll be done in 20 minutes.

Except the previous owner of our house was the MacGruber of home improvement.  There is paint INSIDE the junction box.  THERE IS PAINT EVERYWHERE IN OUR HOUSE.  No hinge, knob or light fixture was left unblemished when the previous owner painted the house before putting it on the market.  Also, his name is Dick.  So it’s super fun to yell “Dammit, Dick!” whenever we find an issue.

I mean our house was built in 1977 and wasn’t wired for cable until we moved in in 2010.

I realized I would have to replace the existing hanging hardware, which was super fun to do with 35 year old screws that had been painted over (they’re probably newer than that, I’m just being dramatic).  This is when the sweating started, because I spent a lot of time directly underneath a recessed light.

Then I had to strip some wires.  Cue the preemptive feelings of badassness.

Then I summoned hubs and he was the brawn while I was the tiny-fingered wire assembler. All was going swell.

Ta da!

But wait, there’s more!  Look closer…

OH YES, the screws that came with the pendant are about 1/8″ too long.  Because OF COURSE.  Why would I think that a $15 light fixture, which I had to return one of in the first place, would come with the perfect parts?  Maybe because I live in the South and that would be the polite thing to do?

Why is it that every project I think will be a quick wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am of DIY splendor turns into a multiple day crapfest?  Is it just me or does everybody else have the same shitty luck?  Is Dick haunting us?  (He’s not dead, but according to our neighbors he does drive by our house “all the time”, so…eew)

On a more whimsical note, I used this super cute elephant bowl to hold my spare nuts and bolts while I worked.  He looked on smugly as I sweated under the glistening recessed CFLs.

And Buster watched skeptically from the couch in the living room.  Some support system I have.

Dammit, Dick.

To be continued…