Friday, January 7, 2011

Some like it hot...

I'm talking about yoga.  Get your mind right. 
I took my first hot yoga class last night and let me tell you...Wow.  First, if you are a yogi, this was not a Bikram class.  The temperature of the room was only 85 degrees.  Bikram is of course 105 degrees.  For this class the room only really seemed hot at the beginning, flow part of the class. 
This class didn't get nearly that sweaty.  It started with your typical sun salutations.  Lots of Vinyasa's.  Then to the warrior's with more Vinyasa's in between.
NOTE: Vinyasa= flow of plank, upward dog, downward dog.  ARM AND SHOULDER BURN!
After the warrior's we moved on to balancing.  I don't know if the fact that I didn't have to teach this class had any effect but I was a balancing machine!  I hardly bobbled at all!  Finally we started to move into the mat (stretching) portion of the session.  It was the perfect time too.  I was getting the muscle shakes, aka my arms were about to quit. 
It was really great to be able to unwind and enjoy a yoga class.  And I really loved the hot style yoga.  The cardio benefits were obviously increased with the heat which in turns burns more calories.
In fact, according to various calorie counters I burned about 700 calories in that 90 minute session.  Well worth it, and I will definitely go back for more. 
Do a google search for hot yoga in your area and try it out.  It is really a liberating and strengthening thing to do for yourself.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Living in the country

Referring to our place as the homestead is pretty realistic.  There are tractors, barns, rolling hills, ponds, and wildlife.  I've learned to adapt to it over these last few years.  At least I thought so.  I am nothing if not an animal lover.  I love my dog more than I probably should.  I am becoming quite fond of the cat that we just learned was never a girl.  HE is in fact a boy.  (Nice of the vet to wait til the 3rd visit to drop that bomb, don't you think?)
Most mornings we awake to deer out in the pasture. 
Upon arriving home late at night you will often see a family of racoons making their way from one field to the next. 
One summer we had a den of foxes living in the ravine along side our house.
There are barn cats perched on the fence hunting field mice.
We owned horses and a mule for a long time. 
This weekend was the first time I had to have a painful experience with the wildlife.  Saturday afternoon as I was driving up the road towards home there was a lone racoon walking in the road.  Now usually the coons will get back in the woods quickly upon seeing a car.  This guy actually rolled over and played dead as I drove by.  That's weird.  Later that afternoon I mention to the Mr. how bizarre it was to see a lone coon, let alone in the middle of the day, let alone playing dead.  The boy chimed in with a story about having to physical move a racoon out of the way with his boot while he was stacking firewood just a bit ago.  Mr's eyes got very big and he abruptly asked if the boy touched  the coon.  He said no, thank god!  Mr.  was just certain that this was the same coon I had seen and it must be rabid.  We talked about calling animal control, but by this time it was night and certainly they wouldn't come out on Saturday night....
Well Sunday morning this racoon was curled up in a cute little furball right outside of one of the basement windows.  Immediately I told the Mr.  I was concerned for the dog's safety (duh.)  He said we needed to call animal control.  I did.  Turns out the county animal control is only in place to deal with domestic animals.  They are not licensed to deal with wildlife control.  I was told to call a commercial wildlife removal company. 
Yeah.  On a Sunday.  The day after new years.  I'm so sure that wouldn't have cost an arm and a leg.
Mr. directed the boy to go get a gun and put it out of its pain.  By this time coon was clearly about at the end of its life.  I'll spare the details and tell you only that I shed some tears.  It was very sad.  We creamated the little guy once we knew he was dead and had to burn the area around him to ensure any risk of rabies getting passed along was also gone. 
It was sad.  I am still a bit disturbed at what I saw when I looked out the window at what I thought was going to be a cute little fur ball before we decided it was time to deal with it.
To top it all off, when cleaning after we finished working on the media wall a HUGE spider crept in somehow.  As if this isn't great enough it was when the boys left to go to the store so I was forced to smash it with the fireplace scooper.... EW!

That was rough to re-count.  But it had to be done.


Can you hear them? You know that repeating, blaring, chirrping sound that often signifies empty or excessively quiet space, aka this blog.
I let the Holiday madness get the best of me and I forgot about my chronicles.  In hindsight I am regretful however, if you learn nothing from your shortcomings they are in fact failures.  If you learn something they are experiences.  So, this is me learning something from my epic failure  learning experience/ blog absence.
I really do enjoy the time it takes to plan, write and edit these blog posts.  Time was very thin this past month.  Ya know why?
1.  The mister and I hostedThanksgiving
2.  Preparing for holiday traveling
3.  Going to every wrestling match for C
4.  Working on a BIG project at work that kept us at the office until all hours
5.  Tediously creating, planning and constructing in the basement.... 2/3 done by the way!!!

I know the first one is old news, but it was 4 days of a full house and all the mayhem that goes along with that.  Good mayhem, but mayhem nonetheless.  We spent 6 days in Florida over Christmas and that seriously was a month in the works.  Getting the house ready to be empty, planning for boarding the cat, etc...  The wrestling season is officially in full swing and we spend alot of time hollering from the bleachers for our #1 son.  When we are not cheering on the IB Tigers we are at work.  Working.  Working on a big project that requires many late nights.  Getting home at 7 pm and trying to cook and launder is AWFUL!  But.....Remember that inspiration board for the basement that I posted here a while back?  Well we are 2/3 of the way through making that a reality.  Wanna see?
Well the basement was a concrete jungle blank slate.  This is code for, "I don't have before pictures."

First step was to wall off the laundry room.  Pictures of this will come later as it is a disaster zone at the moment.  Second, we took out the old wood burning stove and replaced it with a 42" Fireplace.  I cannot even tell you how easy this was.  I went to Chicago one morning and when I got back the next day it was done!  But seriously, this was a fireplace kit that was all prefab'd.  Mr. Dubetter did awesome work getting it in place and what not!

My apologies for the photo quality.  This was taken on my Crackberry.  You can see over next to the french doors is the old Ben Franklin style stove.  The new fireplace is not only prettier but SO much more efficient.  The amount of heat this thing puts off prevents the furnace from kicking on hardly at all.  My pocketbook is pleased.  Where you see the studs around the fireplace and to the right is all new and will be drywalled.  To the left of the fireplace is where the real magic happens.  The media center!  Before this weekend it looked like this....

See all the unsightly wires.  I HATE that!  We brainstormed long and hard about how to solve this problem.  The results made the time spent sooooo worth it.  See for yourself.
Of course there is still lots to do.  Drywall, painting, more decorating.  But this is a HUGE improvement to the cold concrete.  The insulation is making a huge difference.  You could literally see outside through some of the cracks... New meaning to going green, huh?  The media includes the new monster of a TV, Sound receiver that is also a DVD player and I-Pod dock, digital media storage for all of our music and movies, and the X-Box.  Plenty I think.

Can't wait to share more progress.  I have lots to blog about and will do so regularly.  I swear it. 

Did you tackle any projects over the holidays?  Or maybe you dreamed up some for the new year.... do tell!