I had a pair of yoga pants

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Republished with a nod to Marcus Stone at GotYoga.com.

When my kids were young, one of our favorite family reads was a book called Joseph Had a Little Overcoat about a resourceful man who recycles a coat down to a little button. An excerpt:

Joseph had a little overcoat. It was old and worn. So he made a jacket out of it and went to the fair.

Joseph had a little jacket. It got old and worn. So he made a vest out of it and danced at his nephew’s wedding.

~ Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, © Simms Taback, 1999

In memoriam to a pair of faithful, but recently retired yoga pants, I have written my own version:

I had a pair of yoga pants. They were new and snazzy. So I put them on, went to yoga class, and did Adho Mukha Svanasana about 400 times.

I had a pair of yoga pants. They were old and worn. So I designated them as home office wear, and wore them all winter while I wrote medical website copy.

I had a pair of office pants. They were old and worn. So I turned them into cleaning pants, and mucked out the utility room.

I had a pair of cleaning pants. They were old and worn. So I cut them off above the knees, and wore them to spade the garden.

I had a pair of garden shorts. They were old and worn. So I retired them, took them to the garage, and used them to wipe down the car.

I had a rag to wipe the car. It was old and worn. So we used it to block a gap under the garage door on a 9 degree morning.

Which was today. I don’t think there is anywhere for them to go now but into the trash. A sorry ending for a loyal companion.

Namaste.

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V is for Vitamins (especially D)

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Every working parent (OK, every parent) dreads the SICK DAY(S) that throw you off your schedule. At best, you’re juggling work calls from home while heating up some soothing chicken broth. At worst, you spend the whole day doing laundry while covered in unmentionable substances.

While we eat a reasonably nutritious diet, there are a few vitamin supplements I encourage my kids to take on a regular basis. And I’ve got to tell you, sick days are a rarity at our house. Each of my kids takes an age-appropriate multi-vitamin, and these two additional supplements I insist on:

  • Vitamin D because we live in a northern climate where something like 120% of the population is vitamin D deficient. While only my daughter has actually been tested (and found to be D-ficient) I have the whole family take it as an immune- and energy- booster.)
  • Acidophilus, for digestive (well, intestinal) health. No details, please, but this is a good one – and was recommended to me for teens battling acne, too.

What are the go-to supplements at your house? Am I missing anything?

Read the series at A is for About

P is for Posture

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I never realized how much time I spent on my feet during the day until I went back to work in an office – and started spending most of my day on another part of my anatomy.

When I worked out of my home, I was up out of the chair on a fairly regular basis. I spent some entire days standing, or in transit from meeting to meeting. But now, I spend most of my day at my desk.

Sitting all day can be a pain in the…well, you know.

It sure can bring on the aches and pains. Frankly, the last thing I need is more tension in my neck and shoulders. I already feel like I must look like a pained, female version of The Thinker.

I’m fortunate to have a desk that converts to a standing desk, and I do stand part of the day. But my neighbor stands all day, and I just can’t bring myself to inflict my haggard, aging presence on this cute, young person all day. So I stand when she is at meetings or at lunch, and sit when she’s not. It seems like the courteous thing to do.

I also stand and stretch from time to time. I’m sure my coworkers appreciate those gyrations a great deal. But it helps.

To combat bad posture, try these yoga hacks to Undo the Damage of a Desk Job from Jenn Godbout – she has tips for both those of us at “sitting desks” and those of us at “standing desks”.

Can’t hurt, can it? Let’s face it – our cube neighbors already think we’re weird. We don’t have much to lose.

Monday…Q is for Quality Footwear

Read the series at A is for About

H is for H2O

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When you are a working parent, it is important to care for yourself so you can care for those others. One of my challenges is staying hydrated. I’m not a huge water drinker. I could drink coffee all day (that is, until it’s time to switch to wine) but that doesn’t serve me well. I like to sleep occasionally.

The best way I’ve found to increase the amount of water I drink is to use a water bottle with a fruit infuser in it (mine came from Amazon.com, but you can find them at local retailers, too.) Fill the infuser and store it in the fridge overnight, and you have pleasantly flavored water in the morning. Here are some of the things I’ve put in my infuser – I tend to toss in whatever is left over after dinner.

  • Cucumbers
  • Lemons or limes
  • Strawberries
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Raspberries
  • Fresh mint
  • Basil
  • Pineapple
  • Blueberries

You can combine them, too. Strawberry/mint is wonderful. So is cucumber/pomegranate.

The other day, one of my coworkers remarked, as he watched me refill my water bottle, that it would be perfect for gin. There’s definitely something to that – the infuser would hold a whole lot of olives.

I think I’ll save that combination for the weekend.

Tomorrow….I is for Instructions

 Read the series at A is for About

E is for Eking out Exercise

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In the days since I returned to work full-time, my fitness routine has taken a major hit. No more hopping on the treadmill in the middle of the day when I need a break from my freelance work. No more scheduling around mid-morning yoga classes.

I’m getting it together – slowly. But I was beyond grateful when a friend posted this quick 10-minute yoga workout on Facebook the other day. After all, a little exercise is better than no exercise, right?

The best part? It’s really more like 6.5 minutes long. Enjoy that extra 3.5 minutes.

And just an aside…isn’t “eking” the weirdest word you’ve ever seen?

 Read the series at A is for About

Fifty shades of oatmeal

IMG_0624We’re still experiencing some mighty cold mornings around here. Today it’s a cool 3 below, cold for March. We should be well on our way to spring by now, don’t you think?

On these blustery days, I take my solace in a steaming bowl of oatmeal. I’m partial to hot cereals and grains of all kinds, but my favorite is still reliable, old oatmeal.

I happen to think it’s the world’s most versatile food. It is the little black sweater of breakfast foods. You can dress it up in all kinds of ways.

To prove my point, I thought I’d share 50 ways to eat oatmeal. The list could darn near get you through a whole Minnesota winter! If these combinations aren’t sweet enough for you, just add a little maple syrup.

  1. Walnuts and homemade strawberry jam
  2. Strawberry jam and flax seed
  3. Strawberries, butter, and maple syrup
  4. Almonds, shredded coconut, and pineapple
  5. Pineapple, almonds, and banana
  6. Banana, walnuts, and maple syrup
  7. Bananas, diced apples, and walnuts
  8. Diced apples and sugared (or spiced) pecans
  9. Diced apples and brown sugar
  10. Diced apples and chia seed
  11. Diced apples and pomegranate seeds
  12. Sunflower seeds, bananas and maple syrup
  13. Pineapple, coconut milk, and almonds
  14. Pineapple and blueberries
  15. Blueberries and maple syrup
  16. Blueberries, raspberries, and fresh cherries
  17. Fresh cherries and walnuts
  18. Fresh cherries and a little cream cheese
  19. Flax seed, raspberries, and maple syrup
  20. Blackberries, raspberries, and maple syrup
  21. Almonds, pomegranate seeds and maple syrup
  22. Pecans, cinnamon and brown sugar
  23. Pecans and sliced peaches
  24. Pecans and diced apples
  25. Sliced peaches and brown sugar
  26. Sliced peaches and sliced cherries
  27. Walnuts and flax milk
  28. Trail mix and flax milk
  29. Cocoa powder, walnuts, and maple syrup
  30. Cocoa powder, coconut milk, and almonds
  31. Raisins, walnuts, and maple syrup
  32. Dried cherries, walnuts, and maple syrup
  33. Dried cherries and raisins
  34. Pomegranate seeds and mango slices
  35. Sliced pear and a few crumbles of gorgonzola
  36. Sliced pear and walnuts
  37. Diced, dried mango, dried cherries and walnuts
  38. Fresh mango slices, shredded coconut, and maple syrup
  39. Fresh mango slices and almond milk
  40. Crumbled bacon and maple syrup
  41. Crumbled bacon and chopped dates
  42. Blueberries, pecans, and flax seed
  43. Butter and brown sugar
  44. Fig preserves and pecans
  45. Fig preserves and banana
  46. Diced dried mangos, raisins, and chopped walnuts
  47. Peanuts and a spoonful of blackberry jam
  48. Sliced breakfast sausage and maple syrup
  49. Sliced breakfast sausage and diced, red pepper
  50. …and of course, milk, raisins, and brown sugar – the old standard

I don’t think I doubled up any of these, but I’m sure I missed someone’s favorite combination. Anyway, these should get you started on the road to oatmeal nirvana.

Have a great breakfast!

One last Fitness 5 on Friday

Fitness 5Better late than never, right? It’s time for one last Fitness 5 on Friday, a link-up courtesy of JVKom Chronicles. This week, Jen asked us:

1. Have you ever taken a fitness class? Not a general fitness class, although I’ve taken yoga and dance classes.

2. Why do you workout? I’m a health nut, and exercise is an important part of a health regime. It helps me sleep, maintain strength and flexibility, and relieve stress.

3. What is your biggest motivator? I just plain feel better after I exercise. I try to stick to activities I really enjoy – if it’s something I don’t like, I’ll avoid it.

4. Where do you draw your inspiration from? The teachers at my yoga studio are incredible people. In addition to holding regular classes, they teach individuals with disabilities, returning vets with post traumatic stress disorder, and others with special needs. They are upbeat, positive, and generous with themselves.

5. Do you have routine physicals? (it’s very important to check your health). Yes, but I’m not as good about it as I could be. Definitely an area I need to work on.

Thanks again, Jen, for another fun month of link-ups. Visit her site, JVKom Chronicles, to join the Friday 5 linkup and read other posts.

Fitness 5 on Friday

Fitness 5It’s Friday, and time for another Fitness 5 on Friday link-up courtesy of JVKom Chronicles. This week, Jen posed these questions:

1. What is your favorite time of day to workout? Morning, for sure. The farther I get into the day, the less likely I am to get that workout in.

2. What is your favorite Super Food? I think I like them all, actually, but I eat almonds and kale almost every day. My kids will eat at least a head of kale a day if I make it into chips. (They’ll also eat it in a salad).

3. What are some of your fitness goals? I want to keep my strength and mobility as I age, because I want to be able to do those all-important things like lug a vacuum cleaner up the stairs. I used to have a lot of trouble with my back, but it is in really good shape now and I want to keep it that way.

4. What is your favorite vegetable? I love beets, also acorn squash, kale, avocados…actually, it’s a long list. I prefer vegetables to fruits.

5. What is something fitness or health related that you’d like to work on? I am a yoga fan, and this year I’ve been working on learning to love headstand again. Adding strength training to my routine has really improved some of my yoga poses, including this one.

Visit JVKom Chronicles to join the Friday 5 linkup or read other posts.

More of the Fitness Five

Fitness 5I’m late with my link-up for the Fitness 5 on Friday. The kids’ summer break wreaks havoc on my schedule – my workout schedule, too. Here are my answers for this week’s link-up:

1. What is your least favorite exercise and why? I hate to run, even though I want to love it. I have crabby knees and I’ve accepted that running is never going to be my thing. I can jog a little, but that’s it.

2. What is your resting heart beats per minute? (to calculate count your pulse for 15 seconds and multiply by 4). Low typically, around 60. Last year when I was hooked up to a machine during a medical test I set off an alarm because it was only 55. (The nurse was not alarmed.)

3. Do you prefer to exercise alone or with company? Both. I love classes, but then I don’t get out much and I like the social factor.

4. What is your go to exercise outfit? Yoga pants and the t-shirt of the day from Old Navy. I am a fashion wonder!

5. Think about this time last year. Are you more or less active than you were a year ago? About the same. But with the kids off school it’s a challenge to stay on a schedule. I find I sit a lot more in the summer, but at least it’s usually at the beach.

Hope you’re all having a fabulous, fit weekend. Ours is full of baseball (unless it rains) and a dance recital (rain or no). Happy Saturday!

The Fab Fitness 5

Fitness 5For June, Jen at JVKom Chronicles is asking us a series of fitness questions, making it very easy to produce a Friday blog post. Thanks, Jen! Here are my answers to this week’s questions:

1. How many minutes of cardio did you do this week? Only about 60. Meant to do more but didn’t manage it, unless going up and down the stairs with baskets of laundry counts.

2. What is your favorite physical activity? Yoga. You’d think I’d do nothing but yoga all day long as much as I enjoy it, but I’m too busy feeling guilty for not doing more cardio.

3. How much water do you drink on a daily basis? Not enough. One of the things that helps me drink more is infusing it with fruit or herbs. Some of my favorite combinations: strawberry/mint, lemon/basil, and strawberry/ginger. Raspberries are good, too, but as my daughter found out you can create alcohol quite quickly if you leave them in your infuser too long. (I think her water bottle violated the school’s zero tolerance policy.)

4. What is your favorite healthy snack? Chocolate – just kidding. I like to spread goat cheese and olive tapenade on crackers or flatbread and top it with sliced cucumber, peppers and tomatoes. It’s fabulous. I think I’ll go make some right now.

5. What’s your favorite athletic shoe? My favorite pair ever was a shoe made by ecco, but they apparently burned the mold after I bought the only pair. I tend to roll to the outside of my foot which limits my options. The last time I shopped for shoes I had to go to a specific store and they only had two different shoes I could wear, both ugly. I bought one of them, but only after the salesperson agreed to swap out the garish laces for a nice, boring gray pair (to go with my ugly sweatshirt).

Visit JVKom Chronicles to join the Friday 5 linkup or read other posts.