It’s all about the Queen

Photo by Robynlou8

Oh… not that Queen.

Yes, it’s her Diamond Jubilee and everything, so she is getting a lot of attention, but I am talking about myself.

I was the Queen of Bikram Yoga tonight. Not to anyone else, just to myself… but that was enough. I have gone to six classes in the last sixteen days, and tonight – for the first time – it all came together.

Breath – The instructor said just the right phrase to help me with the breathing that begins each class. I had been sniffing the hot, humid air in, instead of just letting my nose be a passageway for the breath. A little thing, but it helped. My breathing on that first exercise was so much less forced!

Focus – I was able to keep my mind off the heat and actually focus on the poses. This is huge. The heat had been really oppressive to me and very hard for me to stop obsessing over. Tonight I could actually focus on the one point in the mirror ahead of me.

Balance – I was able to stay upright for all the standing poses. This is far and away the hardest part of the class for me. My balance is really bad, for one thing; for another, the weak leg gets so shaky – and then I get so shaky – that I have had to sit down multiple times during this part of class. Tonight I stayed on my feet. Huge accomplishment.

I felt like a rock star. Was I still the wobbliest person in the class? Yes. Could I actually get into all the poses? No. Did I still feel like you could mop the floor with me at the end of the class? Absolutely. But I had improved, and it really felt like I could do it. Not well, but as well as possible.

Good job, me!

Daily Check-In:

  • I’m grateful! that it did not rain while we were at Thorpe Park today, until just as we were leaving. Yesssss….

Day 26, Part I – Good Friday in Guimarães

Day 26 – Friday, April 6, 2012

We got up really late, had lovely grilled cheese sandwiches for brunch at a bookstore café, then drove out to Guimarães (driving through Pedro’s town, Taipas, on the way).

Guimarães is the 2012 European Capital of Culture – an honor that I had never heard of before we arrived in Portugal – where the chosen city spends a year organizing cultural events with a “European dimension.” We didn’t partake of any of these events, but we will testify that Guimarães is lovely.

We parked in a giant parking lot after driving all around town, a crowded lot “staffed” by enterprising young men who would point out possible parking spaces for a tip.  We walked over to the Old Town and visited the church in the town square for Good Friday prayers at 3 pm.

We popped into the Tourist Info office for a map, but they were not very helpful, which we thought was odd, since this whole Capital of Culture thing is meant to increase tourism. Luckily, the shop across the way was worth a visit and a peek at the heart that is the symbol of Guimarães 2012.

Next we walked through the town (past Stations of the Cross built right into the walls) up to the castle.


We soon discovered that this was the Castle of Danger. Check out the stairs: no railings. Check out the parapet walk around the curtain wall (yeah, I googled those terms, but the important thing is…): no railings.

Don’t worry; it’s not as though they don’t have any safety measures. They have this sign to protect you:

The sign very helpfully indicates the direction in which you will fall and the way in which your head will separate from your body. Sadly, this did not deter mobs of people from climbing up there.

David got as far as the top of the steps; Q walked around with me until she had to go around a blind corner with very little clearance, and then she was done.

I gave up when some bozo walked right into me while I was taking a photo, got caught on my bag, and whirled me around. I can trust myself in high places with no railings, but when other people are careless, I draw the line.

After stopping to see where Afonso Henriques – later to become the first King of Portugal – was baptized in 1111, we walked back to the town square to get Q some ice cream. Did I mention the cuteness? Kind of Disneyland-cute.

Just around the corner, we found a hardware store where we purchased – ta-da! – a luggage scale for future Ryanair purposes. Technically, it is a fish scale (not for purposes of trade, incidentally) and comes with a fine measuring tape attached. Exiting the shop, I clicked a couple of photos of a cute side street, then fell over like a sack of potatoes. Why? I am not sure… Distracted by the novelty of the scale? Overwhelmed by the side-street cuteness? Bad leg collapse? Who the heck knows… But a sweet gentleman rushed over and helped me up, and besides incredible embarrassment, I just ended up with a sore leg, hip, and hand, all on the bad side of course.

That pretty much ended our Guimarães afternoon for me, and I limped back to the car. (I know, I know… gratuitous pity-mongering. That was pretty much my attitude then, too. I have no shame.) Our sightseeing travels were not done, however! We headed to Citânia de Briteiros, which was so awesome, I got a second wind! Hooray! Stay tuned…

Calendar crazy

Google Calendar Logo Google Calendar Logo Google Calendar Logo
Photo by Kinologik

I am a lunatic when it comes to calendars. Pun completely intended (lunacy = intermittent periods of insanity based on the stages of the moon).

I love them. I love them as much as I love any paper products, which is saying quite a bit.

When I see a calendar, I see possibilities.

A calendar could make me organized. I could use it to schedule my time, to refresh my memory, to make sure I don’t miss another event.

A calendar could improve my relationships. I could fill it with get-togethers with friends, look back to reminisce about fun times I’ve had, see how long it’s been since I’ve seen someone I love (so I can call and make a date with them, soon!).

A calendar could help me be healthier. I could use it to record what I’ve eaten, if I’ve worked out, what my challenges and successes are when I go to yoga.

A calendar could even help me be a better blogger. I could use it to keep track of the posts I make in a linear manner, so that I make sure I am blogging consistently and not repeating myself.

A calendar, therefore, would make me happier. It would take away the uncertainty, the worry, and the stress that not using a calendar brings to my life.

Wait a minute… Lori, did you just say you do not use a calendar?

Um… yeah. I don’t use one consistently. Somehow, that habit has never stuck with me.

I buy calendars all the time. Historically, I have bought an average of three calendars every year. (I just made up that number, but it’s  probably low, if anything.) I’ll get one that seems like it is going to be perfect, then I will find that it is too big/small/inconvenient or that I forget to bring it/forget to check it/forget to write in it. At that point, I go out in search of another calendar that will, this time, be the perfect one. Repeat ad nauseum…

This week, for instance, I have been looking through stationery stores all over London, trying to find the perfect calendar to use right now. I want one to keep track of where we have been, what we have done, where we are going next, how to structure our time on the trip. I have seen some cool calendars – including one with a silicone Lego-style cover! – but I have not pulled the trigger.

Why not? Because I want to learn to use Google calendar consistently. It’s electronic, so it doesn’t add any extra weight (good for Ryanair and for carrying-around purposes); it’s compatible with my phone, so I always have it with me; it is flexible, so I can color code and group items together and make it work for me. These are all arguments in its favor. Its possible pitfalls: I don’t get a lot of time on the internet over here in Europe, so adding events and/or checking the calendar can be iffy, where a paper calendar would not be so internet-access dependent.

My goal for this week is to use Google calendar every single day, and to check it at regular intervals.

Do you use Google calendar? let me know if you have any tips or tricks. Thanks!

Daily Check-In: 

I’m grateful! for everything about London. Liz’s home is so comfortable, she is so kind, I’m loving yoga, and I’ve gotten in touch with my second cousin, Clare. All this, and London museums and attractions as well – it’s been a wonderful stay so far. (It’s raining, but we are Oregonians. I have noticed that Londoners all carry umbrellas, unlike Portlanders.)