Sunday 28 February 2016

Project 36

During the last few hours of the old year, on the way to work, I was struck by an idea. Ever since reading Elizabeth Gilbert's fantastic book Big Magic (seriously, read it, it's life-changing in the best way possible!), I am more aware of the presence of ideas around me. I got a first conscious glimpse of it when I started blogging three years ago, but nobody had ever put it in such powerful words like Liz did - that ideas are disembodied, energetic life forms. 

If you have been fortunate enough to be struck by a force that runs through your body like an electric shock - literally, that's what it feels like - you know what I'm talking about. It's an experience unlike anything else, and I had closed myself off to it for many years; believing that I was not a creative, but a practical person, who did her work conscientiously, yet not passionately. 

Oh, how I thank my lucky stars - or whoever else is responsible - that I let go of that foolish idea and expanded my horizon. Because, like Liz says, there is magic in this world, if you are willing to believe in it - and I am more than willing. 


Thursday 25 February 2016

Project Sister Act

This week's style post is going to be different. And I'm super excited about it!
A little while ago I was contacted by Sheela, a fearless fashion blogger, who asked me if I would be interested to participate in a special project: Project Sister Act.

She created Project Sister Act because she wanted to take a stand against fashion "rules", particularly when they relate to age. No mini skirts after the age of 35, no bare arms after 40, no horizontal stripes for certain body types - who made these up, and why should we listen?
Sheela believes "that style knows no age boundary", and I wholeheartedly agree. 

Today I am part of six fashion-loving women, ranging in age from their teens to their 60s, and I'm representing the 30s age group. I have never had a problem with my age, and will declare loud and proud that I am 36 years old, have crow's feet and some silver highlights, and I feel great! 
Also, looking at my outfit, you know what I think of the "no mini-skirt after 35-rule" - I'm happily ignoring it ;-)

Our theme for today was red. Let's get started!

Me, 30s

Dress: ModCloth (not available any more; I found cute alternatives here or here); clogs: Lotta From Stockholm; over-the-knee-socks: old (similar)

So many different and fun interpretations for one style challenge! If you want to know more about where the clothes are from, click through to each lady's own blog. You should do this anyway, because they are all fierce!

Do you believe in following style rules, or in breaking them?



Nothing in this world is more complicated than people. At least for me.
When it comes to interacting with fellow humans, you basically have two choices: You can try your best to avoid them and live like a hermit, or you can tell yourself that you're stuck with them, and try to make the best of it.

Option A is much harder than you may think: We need other people for work, help, companionship. It's impossible to avoid them completely, unless you decide to move into the wilderness, where you probably won't survive for very long without any help. So that's out.

Option B it is then, which may appear like the obvious choice, but you know what? Mastering the skill of dealing effectively with others may take you a lifetime to learn.

I searched long and hard for a third option: A happy medium between hermit and social butterfly. Sometimes I think I finally got it: When I had a great day at work, interacting successfully with dozens of people with different personalities and having fun doing it, ending the day with a satisfyingly quiet night at home. Those are the days when I smugly tell myself that "why, you figured it out, Miriam! Life ain't as hard as you make it out to be, and people are fun."

But then there will for sure come days where everybody annoys you, people are unreasonably cranky, a thoughtless (or was it on purpose?) remark about lifestyle choices that are uncannily like yours hits a little too close to home, and you are sick of people.
Sick of how hard it is to say the right thing sometimes. Sick of being hurt, or hurting others inadvertently. Sick of having some people drop out of your life when you don't really know why, and others sticking around like glue when you'd rather see the back of them.
Sweater found here (and soon in my closet) 

I find nothing more challenging, exasperating, yet also rewarding and joyful than people. They surprise you, disappoint you, touch you, make your heart swell with love, make your blood boil with rage, and have the power to make you or break you.    

I have a gratitude journal where I write down all the small and big things in my life that make me happy. It's a habit that is surprisingly effective in finding joy every day! Looking through it, it struck me how often I manage other people in it. Because despite all my grumblings and misgivings, I am a big fan of the human race. There is a lot of kindness in people!

Here are a few moments that restored my faith in humanity and made my heart leap with joy:

That moment when someone gives you a surprise gift and a hug for becoming Canadian.

That  moment when someone cuts his break short to come and help you with a difficult task.

That moment when your car breaks down, and at least ten people stop and ask if you need help in the span of 20 minutes. One person went as far as to park her car, jump out and help direct traffic until the tow truck came. Did I mention that it was in the winter and freezing cold?

That moment when you receive the best reviews you could imagine. It warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

That moment when you receive an email from a stranger, telling you how much they enjoy your blog.

That moment when friends invite you to their family dinner, because they know that you are alone at home.

That moment when someone tells you they love you.

That moment when someone shares his cupcakes with you.

That moment you buy a new cellphone, and the sales clerk tells you that you can use points (that you didn't even know you had) and get the phone for free.

That moment someone tells you that you are beautiful.

That moment someone tells you that you are doing a good job.

That moment when someone is happy to see you.

What are some of your moments that make you grateful for people?   


Tuesday 23 February 2016

Yoga update

Sometimes I worry that you may get bored with me banging on about yoga so much. Is it too much? Or is it all in my head? I actually think about it about a thousand times more than I mention it, and often I think I will mention it but then I don't, so I'm not really sure how much I talk about it in the end. The thing is, I think about it a lot, and do it (almost) daily, so it is a big part of my life. 
I checked my yoga section on the top, and when I realized it has by far the least amount of posts on it, I felt immediately reassured. Seems like I go on about it more IRL than on the blog, so it's all good.

High time for an update then, right? 

First, let's take a look at a few pictures from the last two months:

Upward facing dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

We had snow for all of 5 minutes this winter. Obviously, I ran out to take some #snoga pics!

Flying Ninja. It's a fun arm balancing pose

Eagle pose (Garudasana)

Winter means lots of indoor practice. This is Top of the Ankles stretch (a variation on virasana)

Funky eagle pose

Side crane (Parsva bakasana)

I just took that one yesterday. Look at our snowdrops! Spring is close, I can feel it in my bones. 

And now, how about some progress pics?

Bow pose (Dhanurasana)

On the top, the normal grip; on the bottom, the much-coveted flip-grip. It requires a lot of  back flexibility and openness in the shoulders, which I don't possess yet. That's where my trusty infinity strap comes in!

Dancer's pose (Natarayasana)

Again, that flip grip. My bane and my desire. One day, I will hopefully manage it without the strap.

Crow pose (Bakasana)

Getting your arms as straight as possible and your knees waaay up into your armpits is the goal. I'm getting closer!

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 (one-legged Sage Koundinya's pose)

Fallen Angel pose

King Pigeon pose (Rajakapotasana)

This is a pose where your hips need to be open, your back has to be very bendy, and your shoulders are flexible. In the full pose, your head will touch your foot! It seems impossible now, but I know: with enough practice, it will happen.  

Bird of Paradise pose (Svarga Dvijasana)

Not much progress here, which might be because I almost never practice it. But look at puppy Nina! So cute. 

Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana)

Balance, open hips and hamstring flexibility are the main ingredients of this pose. None of these come naturally to me, but practice is starting to pay off. 

Last, but not least: A handstand update. Yes, handstand is still my main goal, and this year, it will happen!

Before I go, I'll leave you with a video that I sometimes watch for inspiration:

That's Joseph Encinia, the 2011 yoga world champion. Impressive, isn't he?

Happy Tuesday!


Monday 22 February 2016

Why I put my life on the internet

I have been sharing my life on the internet for almost three years now. When you stop and think about it, it's a strange thing to do: Why expose yourself in that way? Why risk ridicule, criticism, people sniggering about you behind your back? Wouldn't it be safer to keep your life to yourself?

I grew up with a strong mentality of keeping all details of your life private. It went so far as being encouraged by our parents to have an "official" face and a private one: Showing your game face in public, not letting on how you really feel, what you are going through, what's on your mind and in your heart. 

It suffocated me. And it made me feel incredible lonely. I had issues I struggled with that made me feel like a freak. I couldn't stand my own company, because I felt like a despicable human being: For having the thoughts I did, for being selfish and not wanting to work in my parent's business, for not being satisfied with the life I had. I often felt irrationally angry or unspeakably sad and hopeless, and I didn't know why. But who could I talk to? I didn't have a "real" problem; I was simply "high-strung", "overly sensitive", a "drama queen". 


Friday 19 February 2016

Thoughts I have when I'm sick

I have a cold. All week I have been feeling crappy, with low energy, lots of sneezing and blowing my nose, and a bit of a cough thrown into the mix just to add variety. Typical for a health care worker, I am good with patients, but not a good patient. Terrible, in fact. 

I thought it might be amusing to write down some of the weird thoughts I have when I'm sick. Yes? No? Maybe it's just the meds talking, I don't know what's fun any more. Well, whether you like it or not, here they are:

Sneezing feels good. Like a mini-orgasm.

But not when you're eating.

Oops, was that some rice flying out?

Yes, it was. 

My nose is on fire. 

My entire face hurts. 

Bless you, Penaten cream!

I have a white mustache now, but it's a fair price to pay for no more burning. 

Oh no, I ran out of tissues!

Gotta buy softer toilet paper. My nose doesn't like this one. 

I'm sick of sneezing. (Ha, see what I did there?)

I can't breathe through my nose. 

I can't taste my food. 

I should take advantage of it and eat all the healthy food I don't like. 

Naw, comfort food it is. 

How can one person produce so much snot? I must be setting a record here. 

Need more Penaten cream. 

Can dogs get infected by the human cold?

Maybe I should stop kissing them. 

But I can't, it's too hard. I need their love. 

Just googled it. The answer seems to be no. Phew!

Oops, just sneezed all over my computer. 

I'm gross.

When will it be over?

To all my fellow sickies out there, I feel for you! Let's raise our cups with hot lemon water and toast each other to a speedy recovery!



Thursday 18 February 2016

Style: Dreaming of spring

It has begun: The time of the year where I will talk about spring like it's a long-lost lover. I yearn for it. I can't stop thinking about it, imagining what it will feel like, it's gentle caress on my bare skin...

*looks up, blushing furiously*

Sorry, I forgot for a minute that you are all here. 

It's true though: I'm done with winter. We broke up, and it's not me, it's you: You are too wet and grey, and I've had enough. We all have! 
So I'm doing what I do every year: Surround myself with flowers, to make our home nice and inviting for spring. Flowers are in our yard, on our kitchen table, and on my clothes. 

Spring, I am waiting for you!

Dress: ModCloth (not available any more; this one is oh-so pretty!); jacket: gift (similar); gumboots: Dunlop (they are heavy-duty farm boots: I've had them for years, and they are still 100% water proof and super warm. Not pretty, but essential for survival!); if you are looking for way cuter boots, how about these colourful polka dot ones? hat: H&M (similar

Please, spring, hurry up!


Tuesday 16 February 2016

Happy Birthday Nina!

Our sweet Nina turned one year old yesterday! Instead of going on and on about "where did the time go?" (I hate that, it's actually one of my pet peeves), let's take a look back at her first year.

To read the story how we got her, click here

Baby face
Smaller than the Corgi! (This stage didn't last long)
Little leader
Daddy's girl
Play time

She was so tiny!
Always on daddy's heels

Or on my yoga mat
Suspended in air (more photos of Nina flying are here)
Puppies give the best hugs. 
We were both concerned about Donald Duck, who was sick at the time - but he made a full recovery and lives a happy and healthy life! He also turned out to be a girl, which was a surprise for everyone. 
Is there anything cuter than sleeping puppies? No, there isn't.
Nina is 9 months old here, long and lean like a young foal. 
Resting with one eye open. She might miss something. 

We love you, Miss Nina!

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