Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Currently, in Turtle Land

We've had a fair amount of rain here over the past couple of weeks, and our turtles love it! Our atrium (their habitat) is thriving - like its own little ecosystem out there. Having the turtles out and about has afforded me with some photo ops, so that's what I'm sharing today.

Here's little Casper, coming out to greet me:

I've been coming home during my lunch hours to let Lucky inside for the afternoon and out of the Arizona heat {but that is coming to an end soon because fall is right around the corner!!!}. During the 30 minutes that I'm home, I've been tending to the atrium - watering the plants and entertaining our baby box turtle, Casper.

She totally digs the water hose! Check out this video I shot of her, running to play in the water - and eating a bug on the way:

So cool, right?

A couple of weeks ago we noticed a teeny-tiny lizard sunning himself on a rock in the atrium. He must have come through an opening at the top and either decided to stay or couldn't figure out an escape route. He has more than doubled in size since he came to stay! Anyway, he usually dashes into hiding when we enter the atrium, but the other day he sat still and allowed me to photograph him.

Doug has named him Leroy which adds a little more personality to him, causing me to worry. I have learned that box turtles eat lizards. Hide, Leroy! Hide!!!

And then, there's Rexy boy...

Rex is a bit more elusive than Casper and not nearly as curious. He did sit still for me last night, and I was happy to grab a photo of him to include in this post. Let's see, he's about 5 years old and Cas is about 2 now. We're hoping they'll mate one day, but according to the Internet it will be a few years before Cas starts producing eggs. So we patiently wait...
And here's one more video, of Cas just being cute:

Kind of makes you want a pet turtle, doesn't it?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Yoga and the Turtle

Good day, blog friends.
Thanks so much for your sweet and supportive comments last week when I announced that I'm taking classes to become a yoga teacher. I felt so happy knowing that you were happy for me. :o) The good news is that I made it through the first week of classes and I absolutely LOVE it! I am definitely right where I belong.

{photo bomb with a cat paw...}

I am now up to my elbows in yoga books and terminology, and doing my best not to feel overwhelmed by the list of assignments due between now and December 21st. Hey, it's just yoga after all. No need to get worked up about it. Besides, I technically have two full years to complete the course work if I choose, and while I'd love to proclaim that it will all be done before the last class in December, I'm going to remain optimistic and realistic. I'm soaking it all in and trusting the natural progression of things.

One of the assignments I'll be presenting at the end of my training is an example of how I practice yoga off the mat in my day-to-day life. It's an open assignment, meaning we can do whatever we want with it, so I've decided to document my yoga journey with a blog feature called "Yoga and the Turtle." I'll save those posts and photos into an online source and have them printed in a book at the end of my training.

That should cover two bases: 1) making time to blog, and 2) satisfying my desire to share yoga on this blog space. I do hope you'll enjoy learning a little bit about yoga as I work my way through my teacher training. It's a pleasure to have you along for the journey.

Peace out, my friends.

Monday, August 18, 2014

This weekend in my garden

Hello, blog friends!
Happy dang Monday to ya'! It was a wonderful weekend around here and felt much too short for my liking. I took a lot of photos, but most of them are for future blog posts, so today I give you garden photos.

August is probably my least favorite month in Arizona. We are tired of the heat, and my garden is over it too. You can tell by these sunflower photos that the heat is taking its toll.

And it's apparent when looking at my garden that I have been a busy girl with little time to tend to things outside. Busy schedule plus avoiding being out in the happens every August.
My first couple of classes for yoga teacher training were awesome! I'll attend classes every Thursday and Friday evenings through the end of the year, and I know I'll get in sync with my new schedule as the weeks progress, but this week I was off. It's a challenge to get home at 10:00 p.m. and then try to go right to sleep - my head was still spinning, absorbing all the great information and words of wisdom from my teachers.

It's typical for me to want to be organized during times of transition, so I spent Saturday in my craft room cleaning and purging some things. I needed to make room for the new stack of yoga books, and just feel like things were in order.
Saturday afternoon I looked outside and noticed sunlight on this year's blood orange crop, so I grabbed my camera and braved the heat. The results are photos in this blog post.

Let's see...what else...

I was busy in the kitchen this weekend. I've been seeing roasted garbanzo beans on Pinterest and finally tried them this weekend. They are just ok - a weird little snack that I would eat if I was starving, but not something I'd go for if there were other options! Kind of disappointing like roasted cauliflower was. Lesson: don't believe everything you see on Pinterest.

I made a batch of homemade granola that turned out fairly well - it will be good on yogurt this week. And! I made a batch of crazy delicious brownies yesterday afternoon. {Thanks for the recipe, Sue!}

Oh - and there was a scorpion in our silverware drawer. EEK! {Doug saved me.}

Carrie and I went to a yin/restorative yoga class yesterday afternoon that was really nice. As part of my teacher training I must attend a certain number of yoga classes and journal about them afterwards. I was much more mindful about postures that were practiced and thinking about remembering them for journaling later. It feels like every little part of my personal yoga practice has shifted. I'm glad about it, but my head doesn't seem fully wrapped around the whole thing yet. I'll get there!

Lucky, the dog.

And before you know it, Monday morning rolls around and it's time to work our way toward a new weekend. This is one of those Monday mornings that I wish with all my might was actually a Sunday morning, but what are you gonna' do? Time stands still for no one, my friends.
Shifting gears into corporate mode and wishing you all a happy week ahead!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Just a Quote for Friday

"You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."
~ Robin Williams

Thursday, August 14, 2014

My first day of school.

In January 2001, I was a single mom living in a cute little condo with my girl. Oh, I wish I'd been blogging back then - you guys would have loved our little home! Anyway, I was 39 at the time, and Carrie was 12.

I had made the decision to take online classes to get a college degree, and I clearly remember the day my first class began. Carrie and I were getting ready for school and work, and before we left the house that morning Carrie insisted on taking a picture of me, on my first day of school. I remember how I felt that morning - so proud and scared all rolled into one. And I remember that in the back of my mind I was thinking, "WHY am I doing this?!?!"

But I knew why I was doing it - I was doing it for "the man." I was doing it for the assumption that if I had a four-year degree to note on my resume I would be more marketable in the corporate world. I was doing it because I hadn't gone to college after high school and I felt like I needed to catch up. I was doing it for the status quo. At any rate, that day in January was a really important day for me.

If you've read my blog for a while you know that I totally dig yoga. But did you know that in the almost 20 years that I've been practicing I have wanted to be a yoga teacher? I have always thought it would be so cool to help people feel the way that I feel after a good yoga class. I want other people to know the personal rewards that come with a regular yoga practice. I want to help others heal the way that yoga has healed me.

And now it’s happening.

Tonight I will attend the first of many classes as I begin my studies to become a certified yoga teacher. There will be many hours spent working toward this certification between now and the end of this year, but I am so ready for this journey to begin. And this time, I know why I'm doing it.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m giving up my corporate job anytime soon, but it does mean that I’m one step closer to following a longtime dream of mine. I’ve wondered how my yoga studies will affect my blogging but I guess we’ll just take this one week at a time and see how things work out.
I hope you'll lift me up in celebratory thoughts over this new beginning in my life. If you are so inclined, maybe you'll say a little prayer for me or send me some happy thoughts as I point myself in this new direction - a direction that has been calling to me for a very long time.
And you can bet that Doug will take a picture of me tonight, as I leave for my first day of school.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

In search of Marlene's brownies.

My sister's friend, Marlene, makes THE BEST brownies on the planet - hands down! For the past 10 years or so, we have enjoyed her brownies on occasion when we visit my sister in California. Marlene knows how much we love them and regularly surprises us with a batch when we visit. We have asked for her recipe, but it's a secret.

Carrie had a good point though. She mentioned that perhaps it's best for us to NOT have the recipe, otherwise we'd make them all the time. Totally true.

I recently searched the internet for a recipe that looked similar to what I thought Marlene's brownies would be. I made the batter and used a smaller pan than was called for, hoping that the thickness of the brownies would match Marlene's in structure.

They were thick like Marlene's brownies, but nowhere nearly as yummy, so it's back to the drawing board!
Anyone have a thick, cake-like brownie recipe you'd like to share?
And I'm curious, does your family have a recipe that is held as a close secret?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Photo hunt finds from Cali

Today I have some more photos from our trip to California last week, but these are some that I found that are items on Rinda's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt. Check 'em out...

#2 - a garden gnome

I loved this little gnome, tucked in among the plants where we stayed during our visit.

3 - birds on a wire

Not the most beautiful photo ever, but three little birds on a wire, nonetheless.

4 - a group of tourists

I was hoping for something a little different on this one - like a group of tourists gathered around a historical monument with cameras in hand. But I suppose that means I would have to go to a historical monument of some sort myself, and I don't see that happening any time soon.

11 - a horn

I actually found six different horns during our vacation week in Cali, but this one was my favorite so I'm going with this one today.

13 - a {tequila} sunrise

Ah...the elusive sunrise. For the record, Doug and I are up before the sun every day during the week so capturing a real sunrise should be simple, but I haven't noticed any that were really colorful yet. Doug had this brilliant idea to photograph a tequila sunrise, so there you have it. Thought of by Douglas, and drank by him too.

17 - a lamp post

I loved these lamp posts at Hotel Del Coronado.
19 - a public garden

When we arrived at our destination last week I actually let out a squeal of delight as we entered the garage under the building and saw this garden at eye level. (It's where I found the gnome too.) And since this garden is shared by the other residents of the building, I'm calling it a public garden. {Thanks so much, Sue! I really loved this feature and took a ton of photos!}

21 - a photograph of me with something representing the season

I originally thought I'd try to get a photo of myself with something that represented hell since that's how hot it is in Arizona during the summer, but this one seemed a little less edgy. Doug and I make a trip to California every summer to be near the ocean and have a little break from the heat, so I'm going with me and an ocean view to represent our summer.

Of the 21 items on Rinda's list, I have found all but one. I'm not sure I'll be seeing a parade by the end of the photo hunt, but you just never know. I'm not giving up yet, no siree!

Are you playing along with Rinda's scavenger hunt?
You can read more about it by clicking here.
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