08 April 2017

Let Your Pit Hair Grow...Or Not

It amazes me that people get so freaked out about body hair.  As if it's some sort of aberration that it dares to grow where it was biologically programmed to grow.  What is the big deal?!?!

Back in college I stepped into an elevator and, before looking up, saw a set of very hairy legs (dark hair on pale legs).  When I looked up and realized they were attached to a female (who lived on my floor in the dorm) I thought, "I wish I was brave enough to grow out my leg hair like that."

A few years later I went to Ghana, West Africa, to do two years of Peace Corps service.  Given the scarcity of water and how easy it was to pick up small infections that could turn deadly, I knew I wasn't going to shave my legs while I was there (even little shaving nicks or ingrown hairs could become host to infections).  I haven't shaved them since.  It's been 16 years and I've never looked back or felt like I owed it to anyone to do something I didn't want to do with my own body.  Nor do I hide my unshaven legs or armpits.  If someone doesn't like it that's their problem. 

Brava to this young lady for accepting herself in such a bold and proud way. 
body hair positivity post bc i’d never let misogynistic opinions dictate what i do with my body 💕  — lalonie (@SLAYLONIE)

Of course, she got plenty of nasty comments and, thankfully, lots of supportive ones as well.  Women and girls are under so much pressure to be perfect, look perfect...why can't we just be ourselves? I'm not suggesting that everyone has to let their hair grow.  To each her own.  I'm just saying that I really don't see why anyone else cares whether there's hair on my legs or not. 

My hair is really light blond so it's hard to see but it's there!  This was about 5 years ago in Amsterdam.


03 April 2017

30-Day Yoga Challenge with Angie Eats Peace

Right after I posted about getting back to my yoga practice, Angie over at Angie Eats Peace posted that she was doing a 30-day yoga challenge.  While I wasn't ready to commit to doing an hour of yoga for 30 straight days I was willing to challenge myself to doing some form of yoga or stretching every day.  I managed 27 of the 30 days. 

One day I decided it was more important to take the dog (she's very old) through her stretching/joint manipulation, one day I was simply super exhausted and one day I had had such a bad day at work that I went to bed early without doing several things I really should have. 

A few times I did nothing more than lay with my feet up on the wall while I gave the dog her pre-bedtime attention.  I won't say that this challenge changed my view of yoga. I already know how beneficial it is.  I also won't say that it made drastic differences in how I felt physically.  But I will say that I know the nightly stretches (on days when I didn't go to yoga class) were good for me and I plan to keep doing them.

My biggest challenge...every. single. time.
My downward facing dog was more downward facing A dog!!

Thanks to Angie for the prompt. I'm glad I did it.

20 March 2017

Senza Zucchero per Sei Settimane

I'm putting this out there for everyone (not that many people read this but...) to see that I'm going on a sugar vacation (meaning, a vacation from sugar) for 6 weeks.  I've done this before. I call it giving up sugar for lent even though I don't know when lent is or even really what it is and I really don't care.  People seem to get the concept of giving something up for lent so it's easier to explain that way. But I've usually only done it for 30 days.  So this one will be the longest I've done.  Fruit is allowed.  I'm talking processed sugar (chocolate, cookies, ice cream (gelato)...).

YES, yes I have!

Truthfully, I've just been way over-consuming sugar lately and it needs to stop.  I know I'll feel better once I'm off the sweet stuff.  After a few days the cravings will start to go away. Hopefully I'll have more energy and feel less tired.  I'm also hoping the lack of sugar will help ease some of the inflammation that causes much of my back pain. 

I picked 6 weeks because that's how long until my parents arrive. Not that their arrival is an excuse to go back to eating too many sweets.  It was just a convenient date on the calendar.

Wish me luck.  I live in the land of gelato and I LOVE me some dark chocolate. 

Have you given up sugar?  Any tips?

23 February 2017

Finding My Way Back to My Mat

About 2 years ago I started seeking treatment for low back pain.  I won't go into all the different things I've tried but at some point along the way I stopped going to yoga because so many different movements hurt so much.

Well, here I am without much success treating the pain and finding articles like this one about treating lower pack pain and decided to see if yoga could help rather than hurt.  I've only been a few times (I don't get free classes here and what is available does not work very well with my work schedule).  Obviously, there's no instantaneous relief but even if my back isn't feeling better I'm feeling better.  I had forgotten how much of an impact yoga has. 

I'll be really super beyond happy if it helps my back (because nothing else has) but even if it doesn't I'm glad to be back on my mat. 

Have you found any alternative ways to treat back pain? How has yoga helped you?

05 February 2017

I Have Too Much Stuff

All my earthly possessions are here and have been for a month.  I haven't unpacked all the boxes yet.  I have too much stuff.  I know I wanted my stuff but now I don't.  I mean, I want my bed and a couple other things but the rest...it's amazing how quickly I can dirty a whole sink-full of dishes! 

Before my stuff got here, I was able to clean the kitchen in 10 min.  Now...lordy how I can make a mess and a massive amount of things to clean.  By the time I'm done I'm too tired to clean it all up. 

I'm not saying I want to go back to having one bowl, one spoon and one fork but I'd like to find some sort of happy equilibrium where I have enough so that I'm not super restricted in what I can do but not so much that it becomes too much.  I don't know what that looks like.  I like being able to cook all my meals and snacks for the whole week and have them all in the fridge (its a squeeze in my tiny European fridge here).  I'm not really sure what I could get rid of.  Hoping I can find a way to simplify the kitchen...somehow.

If you have any suggestions please let me know!

24 December 2016

Living With Much Less...For a Little While

I just moved across the ocean.  Most of my stuff is en-route via shipping container on some sort of sea-faring vessel.  So for the past 6 weeks I've had what I brought with me on the plane (one suitcase with clothes (about 6 days worth), one duffle bag with dog food, and one foot locker with miscellaneous stuff) and what was "quick shipped" (my bike!, a few kitchen items, a few linen items) and that's it.  We moved into a house last week and have temporary loaner furniture. 

The only things I've purchased are things that I simply don't already own.  A few 220V appliances (food processor, water kettle), dish detergent, and a couple rugs since the marble floors are cold and slippery for the dogs.  I am not allowing myself to purchase things that are on their way simply for the sake of convenience right now.

There are some really great things about living with very little.  There's very little house work to do because there's nothing to pick up!  There are very few dishes to do because I only have one spoon, fork, knife, plate, bowl.  However, I wash that one spoon, bowl, etc. many times each day. 

What I wish I had:

1. Black pepper.  I did pack a few spices but somehow neglected to include pepper.

2. Another pyrex storage bowl or two.  I'm very limited in what I can cook since I don't have much in the way of storage containers.

3. Another spoon!

4. A French press.  I have 2 but didn't quick ship either one.  While at the hotel I had coffee with the breakfast.  Now I can't make coffee.  On days when I go to work (so not weekends or holidays) I stop at the hotel (which is on my way to work) and get coffee (they are really nice and just let me take it...I do have my travel mug) but days when I'm home I don't have coffee.  I am not a person who can't survive without coffee but there's something really nice about spending a whole morning in PJs reading a book and sipping coffee.  Yes, I drink tea but I like to have the option.

5. A clothes drying rack.  I have a condensing dryer.  Most Americans have never seen one of these.  They are small and I'm not exaggerating when I say it took over 5 hours to dry one load of laundry.  It was not an overly-large load. 

There are lots of places to get coffee but Italian coffee comes in very small cups.  As in, Dixie cup small.  You don't have an option to order a super-size latte.  And to-go isn't really much of a thing here (there are a few places but it's not common). Thank Italian stars there is no Starshmucks or similar-type place here.  I love that people aren't carrying around and throwing away millions of non-recyclable single-use cups. I love that a coffee and a cappuccino cost a grand total of 1.45€ (about $1.50). 

I'll be very glad to get my furniture (this loaner stuff is very uncomfortable...especially the bed) and my kitchen stuff but part of me is really enjoying having almost nothing.  Aside from the few parts of life that are made more difficult (cooking) it really makes things so much easier. I've been working on reducing the amount of stuff I have over the past few years.  I have a feeling this experience will result in my getting rid of quite a lot more stuff.  That's going to be a good thing.