Thursday, June 30, 2011


We recently got a lower price on cable (which is still grossly overpriced if you ask me, but I can't fully convince myself that we don't need it... yet) and as part of the deal they threw in 3 free years of Starz.  I was kind of annoyed, as I'd rather not pay so much and I'd gladly give them back their movie channels, but I've found myself pleasantly surprised by the ability to watch bits and pieces of movies that I liked.

The other night we caught the end of Eat, Pray, Love.  The book is one of my favorites and I'm currently re-reading it for a second time.  The movie was a little "eh" because they left out so many great parts and concentrated way too much on her failed marriage but it was Saturday night and we were both exhausted at  9:30 or so and figured it would be a good way to wind down (WILD AND CRAZY TIMES HERE AT THE NARD HOUSE! staying up til 10 on a Saturday! WHOA, SLOW DOWN!).  And at the end she was with her Brazilian dude in a market in Bali and in his heavily accented English they were talking about what he referred to as the enlightment and she made fun of him for missing a syllable.

Sorry, all of that was really neither here nor there but I found it funny because I'm having so many of my own "enlightment" moments right now, both mentally and in my physical body.  Turns out I've been doing crunches wrong my whole life and it explains why my belly tends to puff outward (it does not explain the layers of chub that sit above my abs but that's just something to work on).  Crunches are WAY HARDER when you actually do them right.

I went to a workshop on Sunday morning for teacher training that was amazing.  I hate to be all clique and call it life-changing but it did change the way I see my yoga practice in relation to the things going on in my life.  I have kind of come to a point where everything is coming full circle for me.  The hours I spend in personal practice, all the hard work that is changing my body and mind, the cadaver lab, the anatomy classes, the workshops, the lectures, my personal experiences in therapy:  it's all coming together now and making sense.  I hope I'm able to share this with others when I'm done with training as well as others have shared their talents and gifts with me.  I'm not sure if I can adequately explain how I felt during and after the workshop in particular but I will say that I have always had trouble with the meditation aspect of yoga and some of the spiritual sides of practice.  After spending two and a half hours in intense self-study like that, I have a new found confidence that I can get better at meditation and yoga spirituality as I go and with steady practice (this is exactly why yoga is called practice, because it will always be imperfect, there is always another edge to find, pose to work on or level of consciousness to reach).  There was a part where we were instructed to journal about our relationship to grief and sadness (and I know I sound like a total new age hippie now but I promise, I'm still 100% the same) and it touched me that we would be talking about something that I have been dealing with and working through for the last seven months.  It brought a tear to my eyes, just one, mostly because it was powerful in the way that writing down my feelings in the journal felt.  I think I'll probably look at that Sunday morning in a room with 10 or so other people, chanting, meditating, singing, practicing and writing about our feelings as a turning point in my grieving.  I know that time has helped to heal the wound but all of the self-reflection that I'm doing every day has been speeding things along quite nicely.  And now I need to wipe the one tear that's reached my eyes in writing this post.  I promise the tear is only because I'm starting to feel like I'm healing from the inside out, and I think that is my biggest enlightment.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


So the weather is FINALY nice in Chicago and Jen and I have really been enjoying it. She has been going to yoga school for a few weeks now and I have been trying my best to help out more around the house since she has been more busy. I have to say I kind of like the little routine we have gotten into. Our Friday nights are my favorite except we don't actually get to eat dinner together. When shes done with school I met her outside her school and we find a local bar to have a drink or 2, then head home. I feel like her school has been good for our marriage and has brought us closer. I started practicing yoga with her and feel much more connected to her. I would recommended yoga to any married couple looking to try something new.

Nothing much really new with me. The condo is still around so not much really to discuss there. We are looking at another price drop, however we do have 1 person interested, kind of, at the moment so our Relator is going to try and coax an offer. Next weekend is 4th of July weekend and I'm so excited that Jen does not have school and we will get the entire weekend to ourselves. However, I think her mom is coming for the weekend. It should be a good time though, Jen's mom is always a good sport and pretty much game for just about anything. I think it will be good for Jen to see her again and spend some time with her.

Emotionally I think I am getting better. I am starting to regain some of my self confidence that I lost somewhere along my journey of life. I think I have learned that I was (still kind of am) lazy and a bit of a procrastinator. I am trying to work on those 2 things the most. I am trying to use Jen as a role model because those are NOT 2 words I would use to describe her. I feel like the 2 of us have changed so much for the better since the winter and I am so excited for our future together. Someone just asked me how I would like to define myself and what impression do I want to leave on this world. I would define myself as a husband, and one day a father first. I want to leave this world knowing I got to spend the happiest days of my life with my sole mate and our family. After that I would like to be remembered as a successful engineer, but first and fore most as a good husband and a father.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

i see dead people

Now that I've had a few days to digest all that I saw on Tuesday night at the cadaver lab, I thought I'd put some of my feelings out there.

I didn't react in the way that I thought I would.  Going into the lab, I was super apprehensive.  I have a very sensitive sense of smell and I was afraid the smell would overwhelm me.  I can remember when I was a Lab Assistant in high school Anatomy and the way the lab would smell so nasty during fetal pig dissection.  I was surprised that it didn't smell that bad, I mean it didn't smell good, but it was nothing that made me feel nauseated.

When the Grad Assistants opened the first bags and we were able to see the bodies, it was also completely different from my expectations.  I thought it would be like looking at a body at a funeral, where you would see the person as they were.  To start, they had the heads covered so there was no viewing of the face (until much later when we asked to see it).  Also, the lab has been in possession of the bodies for two semesters of classes now so all that we were able to see (and all that we were really concerned with for that matter) were the bones and muscles.  It was more like viewing an exhibit at a museum than looking at a funeral body.

I stayed for about an hour.  Although most of my classmates did, I wasn't interested in touching anything.  At some point, I found out that we had essential oils so the eucalyptus smell helped me stay in the room longer without being disturbed by the smell.  Like I mentioned before, some of us were interested in seeing the "faces" and we got to see a skull that had been cut open.  It was kind of like viewing the sinuses from the inside.  We were able to see the gender, age and cause of death and even the name if you looked on the tag on each body's leg.  The lab at UIC got the bodies from Wright State University in Ohio (I assume they have a teaching hospital there) and eventually the skeletons and all of the parts removed will go back there where Wright State will have a cremation service for the families.

For my feelings on everything, I think if I had been in the lab all semester, I would have been very interested to know the people behind the bodies.  I was amazed to see all of the tendons, ligaments, bones, muscles and even a few organs.  It's crazy that they are able to keep the bodies preserved for so long.  At some point, I realized that these people actually did a very "yogic" thing.  In yoga, we are taught to believe that our body is really just our vessel and these people obviously had the detachment from their physical body enough to want to donate it to science after their passing.

It's amazing to look at a body, that is just that.  A body.  Nothing else, no energy, no life, no breath.  I have been thinking about the experience over and over in my mind and for me, it was an "ah ha" moment.  My body is just my body.  It's a gift from God and I am meant to take care of it.  These bodies were all of elderly people and to look at the way their muscles atrophied over time was sad.  The GA mentioned that one of the men was very obese and cutting away all of his fat to study the skeleton was a time consuming and pretty gross process for her.  I hope that I am able to better love and appreciate myself and what my body does for me in the future.  It's given me a great deal of pause this week as I look at the things I put into my body and the way I treat it.  Often times in a yoga class, the instructor will give various instructions such as "give yourself a hug" or "give yourself some love".  I feel slightly different about those phrases now and I need to give myself more love when I'm outside of the yoga studio.

I'm still sorting out quite a few of my emotions that have come up from the experience but I know I want to continue on my journey to find a healthier balance in my life, in my diet, stress level and my personal choices.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

so many things

I had to go to a customer service training for work today (we won't discuss the fact that it is the fourth time since I started in January that I saw what is essentially the same presentation, ahem).  Before it really got going, the owner of our company started talking about the current economy and what it means for our business (i.e. a more "fringe" type expense that most people can easily cut out of their budget).  He was saying that maybe this is our new normal, meaning that we might not ever see times like we did a few years ago when the economy was good.  It was super depressing to hear, mostly because this very successful man was articulating something that's been rolling around in my mind ever since we put the condo on the market.  And that maybe he and I are both right and that this sucky time of uncertainty and working very long hours for no extra pay for most people could be the new reality for a long time.  Sad.

Last week I wrote a post about the condo but it was really not coming from a place of love, only anger.  I waste a lot of time and energy being angry about the situation and even more time and energy trying to figure out how not to be so darn angry about it all the time.  But the bottom line is that I'm working on it and some days are just a futile effort.  So I'll spare you the anger and just say that things are moving in a direction that we're not exactly happy with and we have some big decisions to make in the coming weeks.

On a lighter and happier note, teacher training is going well!  It's hard and overwhelming if I start getting ahead of myself, so I am taking it one day and one week at a time.  Tonight we had a chance to go to a cadaver lab at one of the local colleges.  It ended up being super cool!  I wasn't as sickened or upset by the bodies as I thought I would be.  It's actually very yogic to not identify your Self with the body, as those who donated their bodies to science so we could learn from and study them did.  I have this total disdain for the idea of being buried and I think after that I'll probably look into donating my body to science so some crazy people who want to be yoga teachers can look at my muscles, tendons and ligaments.  Some of the students were really in to the whole thing and touching everything but I was more than happy to watch from afar and do my visual learner thing.  Muscles = cool.  Intestines = yucky.

My actual classes where I am the student and get to practice yoga are going well.  I'm loving the intensity that trying to rack up hours has brought to my personal practice.  I don't think I am losing weight but my pants are all saggy butts and I need to think about getting some new ones.  I am exploring lots of new postures in the classes and I'm enjoying challenging my limits on a daily basis.  I still suck at getting up for morning classes on the weekdays, I think I'm just a better at nights.  We journal on the regular for our program and I'm actually finding that exploring my feelings and patterns that I'm drawn to has been beneficial.  I am definitely changing myself (hopefully only for the good) from the inside out.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

yoga school

I survived my first week of the yoga teacher training program.  I'm a little bit overwhelmed!  It's a great deal more time than I originally thought it would take.  The average week will look like this for me:

Mon: 8.5 hours work, 1 hour yoga late night class
Tues: early a.m. yoga, 8.5 hours work, beach volleyball with the Aggie team
Wed: 7 hours work, 1 hour yoga class, 3 hour lecture
Thur: 8.5 hours work, late night yoga
Fri: 7 hours work, 1 hour yoga class, 2-3 hour group class, workshop or movie for training
Sat: 1-1.25 hour yoga class, 3 hours teaching clinic
Sun: 1-2 hours yoga class, 3 hours teaching clinic

Combined with work, it's super full time.  Luckily, because it's all interesting to me, the hours in lectures and classes fly by.  I am hoping and praying it stays that way for the next 8 weeks!!  Adam has been a huge help around the house, doing lots of grocery shopping and really fending for himself when it comes to dinners and helping making lunches.  I'm eating the vast majority of my meals away from the house right now so he made a big Costco run to get me a few things that I can throw in my lunch bag for dinners and snacks.

Most of the people in my class are young and either in college or very recent (as in today) college grads. It kind of makes me laugh because they don't take things in yoga school seriously at all and I am totally that old lady that actually does all the homework and required readings on time.  Mostly because I really want to get certified the day our program is over, I don't want to have hours to complete after our classes and lectures are over!  But I think a lot of them probably got their parents to pay for this instead of summer school so they seem to be more preoccupied with boys and drinking than actually getting the most they can out of the program.  It's funny, because I probably have one of the busiest schedules, time wise, out of everyone in the class, yet I am determined to learn as much as I can and do everything on time.  I want to be the best instructor that I can be, and I hope to start teaching as soon as possible when I get the training done and certified.

My most dreaded part of the program will be on Wednesday, the anatomy lecture.  EW.  I avoided anatomy in college and high school like the plague and now it has finally found a way to catch up with me.