Var sa god!

This past weekend we went to Sweden! In New York! We went to the Scandinavian Festival in Gerry, NY (just outside of Jamestown, NY). It is there every year, but this is the first year that we were able to go. We brought my mom with us too. She has been to it a few times already. We had a wonderful time! It was so nice to be among so much Scandinavian food, decorations, clothing and everything! Both my parents are Swedish and grew up eating Swedish foods in a Swedish/Lutheran community in Jamestown, NY. As my sister and I were growing up we were proud of our Swedish heritage and enjoyed eating Swedish foods and celebrating some fun Swedish traditions, especially during Christmas. Living in the Cleveland area we have access to Italian, Greek, and all kinds of other festivals, but never Swedish or Scandinavian! So it was especially fun to be able to attend this year and celebrate our heritage and pass on some of that to Zachary!

We watched a cool fashion show with wonderful costumes and traditional dress from various Scandinavian countries:

Viking Ladies – even with the goat!

National Swedish costume

Little girls in traditional dress – so cute!

We visited and sat on a Norwegian Fjord names “Harry the Trotter”:

One of the highlights was the Swedish food!! There was a whole menu of options to choose from:

Mike and I went with the buffet. Mike had Korv and Swedish meatballs and I tried stuff I had never had before, except of course rice pudding!

In back from left – rice pudding, Rotmos
In front from left – yellow pea soup, cucumber salad and kaldolmar
I enjoyed it all! The rice pudding was baked which is different than how grandma makes it on the stove. We all agreed that grandma’s is better!!

Grandma and Zach enjoyed a korv burger – specially made into patties for the festival!!

Zach loved it, of course.

He also tried his first scorper from Ecklof’s, the Swedish bakery in Jamestown and loved it!

My mom and I enjoyed looking at all the Swedish decorations and I purchased a Christmas ornament, a t-shirt and a decal for my car. My mom also had fun at the kids crafts tent learning a new craft called card weaving:

The boys loved doing the ax throwing activity! They both hit the target at least twice!

It was a great day and really fun to celebrate and learn more about my Swedish heritage! Hopefully we can go again next year!

Three generations of Swedes in front of the Dala Horse! They were all around the festival.

Push Your Edge

Wed, July 18
Ran 51:18 minutes outside in 93 degree heat at noon!
Distance: 4.46 miles; Average Pace: 11’29”

So I was prepped and ready to run on the treadmill today. I had heard it was going to be hot again – in the 90’s; same old thing as the last few days. But when I met my fellow warrior (Mary Ann) in the locker room she said she had just looked up the weather and that it was only going to be 83 degrees and that was the real feel. So she suggested we go outside. Hmmm, I thought. I do prefer running outside over the tread and if it will only be in the lower 80’s that might be doable. We hemmed and hawed a bit and then decided to just give it a go outside. Since I had to do 40 minutes we decided to do our 4 miler. We didn’t even look at the temperature thing when we started (good thing). We started out okay and it didn’t feel that bad. Around about 2 miles it got tough. I had to walk a bit. We even stopped in the Shaker Library for a drink in the drinking fountain. There were a couple other times I had to walk. It was pretty miserable, but not totally awful. Just after running up the Belvoir hill we started walking another little bit and we heard familiar voices behind us. What I heard was, “Hey, Lisa…” and then the Charlie Brown teacher’s voice mumble. But in my mind I heard a competitive chide coming from some JCU runner colleagues. I immediately took off running, leaving Mary Ann to fend for herself! After I started my bolt back to campus, and as the voices got nearer I heard our runner friends say something like, “Geez, Lisa, all we said was we would run in with you guys and you took off! What is this a competition?” Mary Ann, who was now running with the pack too was cracking up at me! I don’t know where that extra energy came from at all. I just all of a sudden felt this competitive streak happening…something about “whatever boys can do, girls can do too” or something and I just got motivated to bust it out!! So they were making fun of me as we ran the last 1/3 mile back to campus. As we were walking towards the building we saw the temp scroll by and Mary Ann and I about died. 93 degrees!! So much for 83!! I suddenly felt better about all the walking and MA and I certainly earned some cred from the boys today. I have never run at that temperature outside before. Yikes! Lots of water and a totally cold shower followed. I’m glad I didn’t look at the temp when we started running (that would have psyched me out more) and I’m glad we ran outside. Like I told the group today, if you never push yourself to your edge, you will never know where your edge is. I know, I know, Deep Thoughts, by Lisa Ramsey. Knock it off.

What’s Up, Dog?!

Tues, July 17
6am Yoga

Today’s practice was awesome, as always. I was a sweaty mess, but that is okay. The funniest thing, though, was the canine visitor we had. At the very beginning of practice we were all in hero’s pose with our eyes closed. All of a sudden I heard panting and Mia, Amy’s Newfoundland dog, comes walking in and makes a beeline for Amy to give her a great, big kiss! I opened my eyes to witness it and I then I could not keep from giggling! The door was closed so I think the dog totally opened it on her own. What a total crack up! She’s is a total doll, that dog, and usually she is sacked out in the outer area with not a care in the world. She just needed to express her affection right then, and there, I guess. Done and done!

Yoga at noon
Great practice with fans. It was really hot in there and it took me a long time to cool down.

Don’t Dread the Tread!

Mon, July 16
Ran 35 minutes on the treadmill at lunch
Distance: 3.5 miles; Average Pace: 9’47” (according to the watch; the treadmill said 10:47; speed was 5.6)

So this running thing? Yeah, about that…I was on deck to do a five-miler yesterday and I did not complete said workout. Too tired from my awesome date night at the Melting Pot the night before! Anywho….

So I decided I would get up this morning to run since it was going to hot as blazes in the afternoon again. Nope. That surely did not happen. I didn’t even do yoga this morning. Monday molasses invaded. So, I reluctantly packed up my running stuff and trudged off to work thinking I would run on the treadmill. And guess what? I did! And it actually did not suck! I felt pretty darn good, actually!! That is a win! I did my 35 minutes, no sweat. Well, yes, there was sweat, but not as much as there would have been had I gone outside where the real feel was somewhere between 95 degrees and the sun. The cool down was a whole lot less dramatic too. There actually was cool down and I could actually add some hot to my shower! What a concept!

Next up: Yoga Squared tomorrow. Gotta bring my cheap mat so I can was the other one!

Focus Through Distractions

Sat, July 14

Today’s class was a reminder to me about focusing through distractions. I was reminded of this almost right from the get-go on my mat. My mat has this tendency to slip forward these days ever since I washed it so I tend to slide way forward to another person’s spot by the end of class. Not only that, but I also notice that it tends to slip and move underneath my feet causing me to have to catch my balance more than normal. It is a bit distracting and I need to figure it out and learn how to wash it more effectively so it doesn’t slip (or buy a new mat!). But it got me thinking. What do we do when our world shifts beneath us? What do we do when things get turned upside down and throw us off balance in life. Can we still maintain our focus on the task at hand or do we get frustrated and give up? As I started thinking about this other distractions started happening in the class, almost on cue. First, Mia, Amy’s big black dog opened the door of the yoga studio and peaked in. I saw her as I was in downward facing dog (oh, yes, the irony) and I heard people giggling and Amy say, “oh, look, we have some interest” as she shooed her out and closed the door again. It was a crack up and I was reminded why I love the Yoga Lounge so much – I mean, if you can bring your dog to your place of work, I’m automatically a fan. But again, another, although funny, brief distraction. Next, towards the beginning of the class there was a woman who stopped in the middle of her practice to jot some notes down in her notebook or journal right next to her mat. Very strange and I caught myself watching her in my down-dog and wondering if she was a reporter, an author or what? Another odd distraction. Lastly, towards the end of the class someone’s cell phone went off, on vibrate, and buzzed for a few rings until the woman was able to shut if off. I immediately caught myself judging her and thinking she was an idiot for not leaving her cell phone in the outer area. I was distracted my these thoughts and so I missed part of the story Amy was sharing. I mean, maybe she was waiting for an important phone call about someone who needed her? I really don’t think this was the case at all, by the way, however, but the point is that I didn’t give her the benefit of the doubt at all and immediately judged her. Having all these distractions in one class is very unusual so I knew there was a lesson in there somewhere for me. We are going to be distracted by things out of our control that is for sure. But how do we keep moving forward, maintaining our balance, and withholding judgments in order to be our true authentic selves and open ourselves up to treat others with dignity and kindness? We have a choice to make when we are faced with distractions – give up, fall and stay defeated or get back up, breathe and try again. As always I am grateful to my yoga teachers, my fellow yogis and for the opportunity to continue learning about life through this wonderful practice. Namaste.

Take That Universe!

Fri, July 13
Ran about 27 minutes
Distance – ??
Temp – 87 degrees!

Well, if that was a test – I think I passed! My original plan was to run this morning so I could go to yoga at noon today, but I chose to cuddle with the puppy dog this morning instead. So, I packed up my stuff and resigned myself to a hot and sticky run at noon. Then I get the locker room and see all my yoga pals getting ready to go. Oh, my, yoga sounds delightful right about now I said to myself and actually outloud too. But, I had committed to running and had my running clothes already on. I go to slip my watch on and it is completely dead (which is weird by the way because it was full on Monday! The button may have been inadvertently on or something because it was totally dead). I share this with my friends in the locker room and they all say, “see you need to go to yoga!” and I was thinking the same thing. I had even put some yoga clothes in my bag “just in case”. Ugh, universe, what am I supposed to do here? Yes, the easy thing would be to change into yoga clothes and bag the run, but I refused to do the easy thing today. I had had a stressful morning and needed to get the stress relief that sometimes only a run can bring. So, I put the watch back in my locker and headed out.

Running by myself and with no watch was actually pretty freeing. I even ran a different route than normal – did a loop. I ran about 27 minutes – was supposed to go 35, but it was 87 degrees so I’ll consider that a win. I’m not sure exactly how far I ran, but I would imagine it was a little shy of 3 miles. I may clock it on my way home. Running by feel really has its merits. Even those times when I say I’m not gonna look at my watch much I still do and feel the pressure. So, long story short. Victory! I feel like I earned my sweatband’s expression today!

Yoga community

Thurs, July 12
Yoga at noon

Today’s class was cool because it was very intimate. At the beginning of the class Lisa asked for everyone to move up a bit. No one did it at first so I encouraged everyone to take their mat up a couple of feet and they did it. We were closer then – to Lisa and to each other even though the room was bigger. It felt much better to be closer and more like a community. It felt like a full class even though there were just a few of us. At the Yoga Lounge I especially like a full class because then you can hear the breath throughout the class and it is a supportive feeling. At the JCU class, however, at least in the summer that is, all we hear are the fans, but that is okay too!

Next up: running in the am and yoga at noon!

Double duty…again!

Wed, July 11
6am yoga

Today Mo’s class kicked by butt! It was not an exceptionally challenging practice, but I was tired – too much reading at night and I need to get to bed regularly at like 10pm again! I really like the pace of her class, though. I feel very in touch with my breath always. I was more relaxed in crow pose today. The last few times I’ve done it I’ve felt panicky for some reason – don’t know what that is about. I need to do something about my mat, however. I cleaned it the other day for the first time (yuck), but now it inches up during class. I always choose a spot towards the front, but pretty soon my mat is going to be where the teacher is! Hey, I’m not a teacher…yet! I need to do some more research on how to care for my mat. I had read that you should use vinegar and water. I first used a tiny bit of soap and water and scrubbed it and then put it in a bath of vinegar and water (yes I used the bathtub) to rinse it. But, now it is doing this inch thing. This is not good. I may have to buy another one to use until I can get this one squared away. We will see

So I was supposed to run at lunch, but I didn’t feel like it and all my warriors were gone, so I spent my lunch hour eating my lunch outside – it was wonderful! I then made plans to go with the boys tonight to the kickboxing class while they did TKD. It was an awesome class! I feel like I’m getting more confident with it and getting an even better workout. I found myself actually enjoying the jumping jacks (yes, it is true!). Funny how having healthy shins helps to make them more enjoyable!! I also found myself not resting even when my punching bag partner was using the bag and I could rest. I kept jogging in place to keep my heart rate up. I loved the abs the best, however. We do a circuit of about 20 minutes or so of abs and some arms – dips, planks and push-ups. I kept up really well and felt awesome afterwards. It was also fun going with the guys and then all piling into the jeep all sweaty together. Great activity day!

Gotta rest those wrists

Tues, July 10
6am yoga

I went to yoga at 6am this morning since I had a lunch date planned at work. It was a good practice, as always, but today my wrists were a little bit sore. That is the first time that has happened. I’m wondering if I need to ease up on the chattarungas a little bit. Maybe I should do more cobras instead. I did rock the balancing poses, however, which felt good. I panicked a bit with crow and took it easy today.

New Warrior among us!

Mon, July 9
Yoga at 6am

Great class with Michelle. It was tough getting up – ugh, but I got there and I’m really glad a did because I felt awesome, as always and then I could run at lunch with ma girls!

Running at noon
Time: 35:10; Distance: 3.30 miles; Average Pace: 10:39

We welcomed Holly to our Wednesday Warrior group this afternoon which was fun. It was hot at noon, about 85 degrees, but so much nicer than the last few days. I had to walk about for just a bit. These ladies push me and I like it, but I get so hot in this weather. The first mile was 10:11 and it felt great! The second was still pretty fast at 10:27, but then the third was 11:15 cause I had to walk a bit. I actually am starting to really enjoy running with people because I find that I am more challenged running with others. Plus I don’t have to deal with music at all! I have not used my iPod in a long, long time – even running solo. I may pull it out, or actually get a new one, when I start having longer runs, but for now I just like it without music.