Catching Up.

Shoot, I am SO far behind on life! I didn’t even post my CSA share last week. I was inexplicably depressed all week long- despairing, laying-in-bed, up-all-night, not-eating depressed. At first I figured I was just a little low, but after a third day of picking my food over and being very much inside my head, I knew something was up. The surest way to gauge my mental state is to watch what I’m eating, and how much. It’s a great way for me to keep track of how I’m feeling psychologically, as well as an entryway into the exploration of my relationship with food. I popped in to see a naturopath, who hooked me up with some camu powder and maca, and talked to me a little bit about what behaviors might help to get out of my funk. Easy: friends, more yoga, meditation, running, writing, something school-associated, and lots of time spent outside. I took the kids to parks, rolled out my yoga mat at sunrise and sunset, meditated for thirty minutes a day, and contacted my closest friends for quality time. I have a tendency toward depression- I think most people do- but if I don’t find a way to come out of it, it can screw me up for months. However, as the years have gone on and I delve deeper and deeper into those things I love the most- the interests I cultivate so passionately- I have found my depressive states to be less frequent. I try to maintain a positive focus, and find enjoyment in everything that I do.

So here I am, catching up after two strange weeks. Last I checked in, I believe I was still washing color out of my hair…

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After so much time away, I figured I’d share some pictures of what we’ve been doing these past two weeks πŸ™‚ First: last week’s CSA share:

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Clockwise from top left: cherry tomatoes, 2 heads of lettuce, new potatoes, cucumbers, 2 fennel bulbs, 2 eggplant, a bunch of scallions, spring garlic, green peppers, green cabbage, an heirloom tomato, and lots of summer squash. Also:

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The U-pick for that week: basil, lemon balm, nettle, chives, sage, dill, tomatillos, more cherry tomatoes, and yellow wax beans!

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And flowers, of course πŸ™‚

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I honestly don’t even remember how I used most of my share. My guess is either raw in salads or roasted. I wasn’t really eating, but I do remember roasting the potatoes with some sunflower seed oil and salt, which tasted pretty good to me. We also made baba ganoush from the eggplant, which the kids loved. Jack and Carolyn are such rock stars, and will eat just about any veggie. Jack even eats salad, and Carolyn has just discovered that she loves tomatoes!

I made a discovery of my own over the past few weeks: I can’t take the kids with me to u-pick anymore. Womp womp. They’re just…too active, and too busy for me to try to get my share picked.

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It’s a shame, because I really enjoy bringing them, and they enjoy going and learning about the different veggies. However, when I’m alone with the two of them, I end up spending all of my time either chasing them through the fields so they don’t pull up any plants, or trying to keep them within sight so they don’t pick from plants that aren’t ripe. On Wednesday I may try to go with just Jack, although last Saturday I went alone and loved the peace.

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For now, we’re going to stick to picking from our own little garden, which is really beginning to flourish!

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I had intended to take pictures of our garden harvest each week, but we’ve been using all of it so quickly that it’s difficult to separate ours from what we receive from the CSA. Right now it’s all tomatoes- both cherry and roma- but the eggplant are looking great, and should be ready in a few short weeks!

Like I said, we’ve been spending a lot of time outside. I love to be outdoors, and it gives the kids space to run around and let off some of that wonderful toddler energy.

Tyler Park:

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Solebury Orchards (to pick blueberries):

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The farmer’s market:

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Peaceable Kingdom Playground/Park:

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Every Friday night they have movies in the park, so that’s what the screen in for πŸ™‚

The Playground at Tyler Park:

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Jack’s new trick: climbing. EVERYTHING.

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I have been trying to get them out as much as I possibly can. They’ve both been presenting some challenges lately- defiant, picking at one another, misbehaving…I know it’s just another phase, but it’s leaving me pretty worn out. Getting them out of the house gives them something to focus on besides each other (or me).

A friend of mine invited us to meet her at the Children’s Museum in New Hope, which was a huge success:

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It’s difficult to put into words how ingenious this place is. There is everything and anything a child could want- a kitchen set, a mail room, a “grocery store,” a jungle gym, an “archaeological dig site,” a racetrack, a car parts station where you build your own race cars, lighted floor games, I could go on and on. The best part? The entire place is designed for kids, so I felt pretty comfortable letting Jack and Carolyn roam around and explore without chasing them down to make sure they weren’t breaking or destroying anything. It was brilliant, and I can’t wait to go back.

My Mum and I also took them to the Fallsington Library for story hour, crafts, and some playground time on Friday:

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Neither one of them sat through the story, and we spent most of the hour following them around the library and keeping them off of the bookshelves. I did manage to find this guy for a quarter on the used book shelf, though!

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Finally, we’ve been spending a good deal of time at the Garden of Reflection:

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I’ve actually been coming here a lot on evenings I don’t have yoga, and practicing next to the fountain as the sun sets. It is unimaginably peaceful.

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I was a little wary of setting up right next to the fountain, since the park stays pretty busy even at night, and practicing yoga alone in front of a bunch of unsuspecting strangers makes me a little nervous, but I ended up getting tons of comments about what a GREAT idea it was, and last time I went I had two other people show up and join me. Awesome πŸ™‚

I practice twice a day, every day, but most of the time it’s with the kids crawling over and around me, and toy cars rolling under my hands and feet. I’ve been making a point of leaving each evening when Luis gets home and practicing outside, either in the backyard or at a local park.

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Getting down with some Krishna Das πŸ™‚

It’s made a huge difference in my ability to manage my stress. Of course, Thursdays and Sundays, I’m all about the studio πŸ™‚

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Every time I go, I feel so fortunate to be able to practice in such a lovely space πŸ™‚ We have a great regular group, and it’s such wonderful energy from start to finish and beyond.

I’m trying to stay on top of the stress-management stuff. I know it’s normal to be under stress, that it helps keep us moving and motivated, but too much can be paralyzing and overwhelming. As I bring to the front of my mind all of the challenges and tasks that I am currently juggling, it doesn’t seem so bad- it’s all just a part of my life, a part of me. However, actually staying on top of everything can be really tough. Oftentimes, I feel like there just isn’t enough of me to cover all the bases. Enter: yoga. Running. Meditation. Time spent with my friends. Tea!

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Tea has been huge for me. I ditched coffee- it just wasn’t doing anything for me, other than giving me headaches and a mid-day crash. I switched to green tea, with an occasional cup of Yerba Mate, and I feel so much better. The RoT Double Green is my absolute favorite πŸ™‚

I’ve also been keeping my mala close at hand. It helps to have something to focus my mind on when I feel it’s getting away from me.

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I suppose I should mention that I registered for my GRE tests- both the regular and the English Subject Test. My applications for MFA/PhD programs are due by December 15th, and I’ll know in the spring where I’m headed for the last leg of my education. It’s been very surreal- I can’t believe that it’s finally happening. I passed Bucks the other day, and the realization crashed over my head that not only am I not a student there anymore, but I’m finished at Bucks, with all of my credits transferred out and my record sent off to Temple. It seems strange, after all this time, that I would have even gotten here. I think my mind needs some time to catch up to what’s really going on in my life, because lately I’ve just been sitting in disbelief while this whole other part of me soldiers forward, ordering study guides and writing my Statement of Purpose. It’s unreal.

In other news, I read at the New Hope Poetry Festival over the weekend!

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It took lots of encouragement from Greg and Eileen and several glasses of wine, but I did it, with two poems! Terrifying.

I managedto snap a few photos of the latest CSA share, from last week:

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L to R: celery, cucumbers, sweet peppers, long hots, scallions, 2 heads of lettuce, green beans, husk cherries (!!!!!!), summer squash, new potatoes, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, new garlic, new onions.

I am loving all of these uncured veggies- potatoes, garlic, and onions. They’re so delicate and fresh tasting!

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I’m back to eating, so I’ve been enjoying this week’s share to the fullest, trying to get a nice variety of foods in to make up for the past two weeks. We got a huge load of different tomato varieties this week, and with some supplementing from my plants I was able to produce a huge batch of gazpacho and a jar of fresh sauce:

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Both of these were made entirely from my CSA share and garden- no extra trips to the grocery store, just pure, local food πŸ™‚ I’ve also been rocking out the buffalo tempeh:

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I’m so into it, and it needs to stop. I served it over salad with the PPK’s ranch dressing, but I’m not even going to try like it was healthy. The sauce/dressings are such a killer. I suppose it could be worse, though!

That….is a very sparse and glossed-over summary of our time, but any more pictures and I’m afraid this post will explode. Photo. Overload. This week is looking pretty busy, with a possible beach trip and LOTS of studying (8 hours on Wednesday- ACK). At least it gives me an excuse to catch some sunsets at the park πŸ™‚

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Barre3.

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Barre3 has come to Newtown! Today was opening day, and to celebrate and engage the community, they are offering free classes all week. You know I was all over that πŸ˜‰ I had done a few sessions through a free online trial, and had liked them well enough, but ultimately yoga and running took precedence. I am not a huge fan of at-home workouts, either. I have the NYC Ballet DVDs, and pop them on every once in a while. I also do yoga at home every day, but that has more to do with spirituality than athletics. In general, I really prefer to trail run or workout in a studio, so I was excited to check out the Barre3 space and get going with my first class!

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As far as the space goes, the facilities are functional and inviting. There are two studios lined with mirrors and barres, and both can hold up to twenty-two people at a time. Our morning class was totally full, but it didn’t feel cramped or uncomfortable. The studio provides weights, balls, mats and towels free of charge, as well as lockers for personal items.

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It’s actually a really convenient system- any locker with a key in the lock is available. You lock your stuff up, and take the key with you into the studio. Then, when you’re finished, you leave the key back in the lock for the next person. Simple!

The real selling point here is the availability of childcare. For $5 a child, you can drop the wee wots off in the supervised play area while you’re in class- which is exactly what I did. It is fully stocked with all manner of toys and games, and Jack was running in to check it all out before the entrance door was even closed behind us. Once Carolyn realized that all the toys were there to be played with, she joined him. I filled out paperwork and signed new student forms with both hands free- what a blessing! The woman running the childcare facilities was lovely and reassuring. I walked into the studio without a second thought, and didn’t feel any worry for either of them until class let out.

When I picked the kids up, they told me that Carolyn had been fussing and crying a little, but they had rocked and bounced her and she had settled down right away. This is probably the most influential aspect in my attending classes here- I can go and get a workout in any time I want, without having to search around for a babysitter or drive 25 minutes to the YMCA. I wouldn’t say I’ll be there five days a week, but it’s a great option to have, and the kids will get used to it the more we go.

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So…how did I do?

Honestly, within the first ten minutes of class, I was questioning my sanity. Some of the poses and movements were incredibly challenging. Barre3 is a ballet-yoga-pilates hybrid, set to a beat (often current top radio hits), and designed as a 60-minute core workout using a ballet barre, weights, a ball, a mat, and tiny little movements in your muscles. It was intense, but I surprised myself. The workout left me shaking, but also feeling really good about my body and its abilities. My legs were burning the entire time, indicating that I was working my muscles and building strength.

The most difficult thing for me was actually the setup of the class- there is an instructor moving around the room demonstrating the poses and movements, but I felt like I was constantly craning my neck to try and find her when I wasn’t sure what we were doing. Also, she wears a headset and guides the class through the speakers. I totally understand the logic behind this, and I’m sure it’s common in classes like this, but I am so conditioned to the “yoga” approach- quiet, and very internally focused. I found the loud-ish music and the disembodied voice of the instructor disorienting, but I also recognize that most people find that approach energizing and motivating. It wasn’t something I could do regularly and enjoy, the same way I enjoy yoga, but then again yoga is deeply spiritual, whereas barre is pure athletics.

However…one of the most important lessons I’ve learned as a runner, aside from the necessity to properly stretch, is the benefit of strength training and core building exercises. Your legs can only take you so far, and after that you will rely on your core strength to push yourself to your limit (and beyond!). By itself, I probably wouldn’t be a regular at the barre, but I know that as a runner, I stand to benefit from it. I have four more free classes this week, and then I’ll be there once or twice a week. They do teacher training at this location, and trainee classes are free to the community. You can sign up online- I’ve been checking periodically, and registering as they come up πŸ™‚

Of course, no grand opening would be complete without goodie bags for new members!

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Reusable tote with the Barre3 logo, water, a Kind bar, a bracelet, and a complementary class card to give to a friend! Any takers??

In all, I am so glad I went and checked it out, and I AM looking forward to my upcoming classes. All of this core work is going a long way to making me stronger and more focused, both in my running and my yoga practice. To anyone wondering if Barre is for them, I highly recommend you try it out- it’s a great way to work your body out and build core strength. If any of my friends are interested in going, don’t be shy, let me know and I’ll gladly join you!

And now, I’m going to lay down with my legs against the wall….

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