Not all those who wander are lost

You’ve taken the long way around the houses

a friend of my father said to me about 25 years ago.

At that time I had left the legal profession to go teach law at University. I didn’t realise, as I slowly started to enjoy life again, that it was teaching I loved – not law.

Now it has been two years since I walked away. This was the post that I wrote about walking away.

I have reached a destination of sorts.

If you want to join me on the path, you will be most welcome to share my sandwiches.

Core Factory - Yoga and Pilates www.corefactory.com.au www.facebook.com/TheCoreFactory twitter.com/CoreFactoryYoga

Core Factory – Yoga and Pilates
http://www.corefactory.com.au
http://www.facebook.com/TheCoreFactory
twitter.com/CoreFactoryYoga

Blimey, my kids just ate real yoghurt

Most of the time I mainly endure yoghurt.

For example, for breakfast I’ll bung together bunch of grains and nuts and seeds and something in the soft fruit family and then sprinkle this lot over greek style yoghurt.

Then I will eat the combination in such a way that my tastebuds by pass the yoghurt bit of the breakfast entirely. It is quite difficult to curl your tongue and crunch and chew and swallow without it all going horribly wrong.

For a while now I’ve been meaning to spread my food net a bit further and go back to trying to make the effort to get to farmer’s markets.

Yesterday morning was the first Saturday morning in ages that I had no teaching to do so I arranged to meet up with friends at Eveleigh Markets. I’ve been doing a bit of Twit for hire work on Country Valley’s twitter account for a while and was desperate to try some of their stuff because everyone raves about it. Country Valley’s award winning Lush yoghurt has been described thusly (and variously) as:

the greatest yoghurt of all time” – hercanberra.com.au

To me, no other yoghurt comes close and in fact tasting Lush has ruined every other brand of yoghurt that I liked before” Kate Freeman Nutrition

the thickest, lushest, creamiest yoghurt I have ever tasted” – A Food Story Blog

ambrosially creamy“- Not Quite Nigella

So I had fairly high and hopeful expectations of a yoghurt that finally I would enjoy eating.

The lovely Ester at Country Valley plonked a little plastic beaker of yoghurt in the Minx’s hands and one in mine. The Minx pulled a face. “Go on” smiled Ester “It is really very nice. Honest. Try it!

Esther - Country Valley, Highland Organics Eveleigh Markets

The Minx did try it.

Mummy” she said with a big smile on her face “that is the most best yoghurt ever.” She paused. “It is” she added looking me straight in the eyes and nodding at the same time. Just so that I knew she was (a) telling the truth and (b) serious.

She also tried various cheese made with Country Valley milk with even more rapturous results.

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This just tastes so much different to normal yoghurt. Can we get this all the time?” my eight year old asked today after polishing off his third bowl of Lush.

I had some for my breakfast this morning with just one pear cut up into small pieces. I found myself trying to ignore the taste of what I had put on the yoghurt and celebrate the flavour of the yoghurt itself.

Wondering if I can hire Ester on a consultancy basis to get my children to eat other things…

Yoghurt in Ceramic Cups by Fergus Stewart ________________________

Neither Esther nor Country Valley asked me to write this post but I do so with the great pleasure that comes from sharing wonderful food with other people. To find out more about Country Valley Dairy Products have a squizz here:

Country Valley Website : http://www.countryvalley.com.au

Twitter: @Country_Valley

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CountryValleyMilk

I Shall Play This Only Once

Sitting on the sofa last night the news is clearly and crisply delivered:

‘Margaret Thatcher has died from a stroke’.

My husband turns to me with a look of what? Relief maybe or just a weary cognisance of the machinery of inevitability chewing steadily forward.

This morning an email from my mum with a link to an article pounding irresponsible persons from congregating in George Square to mark her passing. They unleashed the horses and police in riot masks at us there, once upon a time in the days when university education was still paid for by the State and we still felt that activism could make a difference.

There was a time when the very mention of her name brought up an irrational anger in me.

My days of anger are mostly behind me now. Yesterday morning and well before the news broadcast, however, I was irrationally out of sorts. A young woman running for the traffic light nearly barrelled into me as I crossed the road heading towards the yoga studio. Stuck between her forward trajectory and a slightly stationery car, my shoulder instinctively turned and I buffeted her physically away from me.  An entirely over the top defensive movement – she gasped in shock more than pain (I hope).  As I walked away I looked at the reaction. Why on earth suddenly was I so frigging angry?

Not that I am blaming Maggie or her demise for my actions. I can choose how to feel, how to behave. I am a grown up and a yogi after all or so I would like to think.

How can you possibly blame one woman for the wreckage of social justice, the slow dissolution of the welfare state? She was probably no more than an emetic for the aspiration of greed.  A crusader for salvation through home ownership, a pinup girl for free market forces the zeitgeist she brandished like an axe polarised allegiances more effectively than any war ever could.

It is clear to me now that I was always going to be one of those destined to stand on the outside watching as others cranked the wealth machine inside still and dusty corporate factories.

Today I live in a suburb that is a veritable Australian shrine to her legacy. Multi-million dollar homes built by self-made men and women. Amongst these people I am a renter, a lower caste to each and everyone one of my neighbours. Renting is a dirty word round these parts. Such is my destiny that it is more likely than not that I will never own my own home either in part with the bank via a stonking great mortgage or outright. How will that change my life? All I know is that not to have the same goals of acquisition as others puts me in the precarious position of relying on charity in my dotage or hoping my kids will put me up (and put up with me).

Maggie did not create the schism that places on either side of the wealth divide but she grabbed a palette full of residual fears and anxieties and painted a broad social canvas of indifference and self service with it.

I will never say that I am happy that someone else is dead. Death is but a dissolution of a life force that chugs on unabated in her absence. I will only be happy when that frissure that she worried open is filled or the carapace onto which I  presently cling splits away entirely letting me drift away with it.

Maybe true freedom will follow?

RIP Margaret Thatcher

The Parable of the Iron Lady

My Son, My Hero

Last term before Christmas my son was picked on in and out of school.

It hurt his heart to walk to a place that he had always thrilled to go to.

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What hurt him most was that people who he thought were his close friends made fun of him.

‘GAY-briel’ they taunted ‘GAY-briel is a big BABY’.

This was a hard nose smashing against life’s window for us as his parents.

‘Are you a baby?’ we asked him, my husband and I.

‘Of course not!’ he replied.

‘Then they are lying. You can ignore lies’ we tell him.

This week the Easter weekend arrived rather earlier than the school holidays. There was the customary Easter bonnet parade to prepare.

My husband picked up a few odds and sods from the local dollar shop. Gabriel surveyed the constituent pieces and gave me my instructions …

‘Mum I need you to put this here, that there and THESE’ he waves a hand left and right.

‘Perfect’ he says of the end result which he joyfully wears to school.

On arrival one of his little adversaries says: ‘GAY-briel – your hat has FLOWERS on it’.

Gabriel looks over his shoulder briefly on his way to the bookshelf.

‘Yes’ he says ‘it does.’

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FOX IN FLATS STYLE DARE – MARCH 1 to MARCH 7

“Is the style challenge over then?” my friend C asks while she and I and S and L are out at dinner. This question precedes a detailed discussion of that horrible Embarassing Bodies program which manages to clear two tables of previously lingering diners.

No!” I natter on excitedly “I have just started a new month of style dares. See?”  and make a point of doing the swoopy arm thing over my Biba leopard print blouse.

It’s leopard print day again.

C is less than impressed. “Can you please stop spamming us with photos of all your outfits on Facebook?

Style challenges would appear, to paraphrase My Uncle Oswald, to be like picking your nose. Entertaining for the person doing the excavating and not a lot of fun to watch.

I promised therefore to post daily photos only on Instagram and only to share there and on the blog. I may have cheated now and again but only in the case of what I classify as an EISS (Event Involving Stupendous Shoes).

Disclaimer: I have failed miserably at all the hair challenges so far.

March 1 – Grrrr {Animal Print} 

 

Leopard Print Blouse

Day 1 – Leopard Print Chiffon Blouse from Biba circa 1997 worn with black glass beads (gifted by my sister) and black leather vintage spy coat from eBay.

Getting the leopard print out is never a problem for me. More of a problem is not wearing it every day. It was unseasonally chilly and I was going out with the girls to Thai Rim Nam in Como near the marina (which is quite lovely inside incidentally).  All through the summer while sitting by Como Pool reminding the kids for the umpteenth time not to jump in, run along the miniscule edges etc L would say:  “Wouldn’t it be nice just to come down here for a meal BY OURSELVES?”

And it was.

March 2 – Black and White

How easy is monochrome dressing? I remember seeing one seller on eBay who had nothing but monochrome dresses, skirts, shoes, trousers and homewares up for auction. Had she decided to chuck the lot and bring in some colour I remember wondering. My big problem of course is ditching the sheer amount of funereal black in my wardrobe.

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March 3  - Combat

I bloody love my camouflage jeans. Every time I wear them though my husband snorts with laughter and walks off so generally I don’t.

We had a lot of fun, the Minx and he and I taking some urban camo shots in the back door.  I have about 3 weeks to resurrect the lemon tree I am hanging onto. It belonged to our landladies’ granny and I am very much afraid that it is on its last legs.

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Day 4 French

For once it seemed like a really REALLY good idea to try to Chanel (sorry for the crap pun) someoe iconic and Parisian and elegant and beautiful like  uber cool Ms Emmanuelle Alt.

In the end of course in the Autumn humidity it was far easier to knick my husband’s favourite Breton shirt and a pair of comfy wide legged fishermen jeans.

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Day 5 Cuff Em

Instead of rolling the legs of my jeans under, I cuffed them today. Too lazy to ever have jeans taken up professionally and with legs that seem to be six inches shorter than the national AU fit model average this cuffing thing may work for me.

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Day 6 – Twist and Pin {Fail}

Ironic hair putting up with really short hair just doesn’t work. So here is a nice picture of a pair of white stiletto heels that I have my eyes on instead.

Cue muzak till next photo.

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March 7  Ruffled 

Believe me when I say girly dressing is a big stretch for me.  This is as close as I can manage.

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It is not too late to join in the last week or so of the challenge. Find out how here 

Meantime, follow me on Instagram @shoesandyoga and comment on any of the StyleDare photos for a follow back ;)

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Och honestly – enough with the acne already

Once upon a time a LONG time ago I looked forward to getting old.

I looked forward to getting old not because I could yell at people in public and hit them with things.

I looked forward to getting old not because I could pretend not to hear things I didn’t want to hear.

I looked forward to getting old not because I could wear leopard print and fire engine red lips with complete and utter lack of irony.

I looked forward to getting old because no longer would I suffer the indignity of (miscellaneously):

Spots

Plukes

Zits

Pimples

Blackheads

In my youth I took every known cure for acne known to teen-woman. Oxy this and that. The contraceptive pill (and that was A Big Mistake). The months and months of Oxytetracycline which finally knocked the whiteheads on the head.

Nowadays you can blame me and my spots for the prevalence of superbugs.

For a while in my twenties I was pimple free. Then in my late thirties I had children. The bitter irony of childbirth that was not only was I twenty years too old to be giving birth in the first place (a fact I feel keenly every day) but my plukes reappeared. Quite ferociously in fact.

Now and again I will go out and spend a lot of money on zit cream and.or wodges of skin care regimen products. These usually work for a couple of months and then not so much thereafter.

Today when I woke up I had face spots, shoulder spots, back acne and (horror) bum spots.

Enough is enough – I thought to myself.

Today I went back to basics. A homemade salt shower scrub with lavender and tea tree oils followed by a trip to the pharmacy to buy all these things.

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Let’s hope they work because let’s face it – being a pensioner with pustules would be weird, right?

Half way through FABruary

Left to my own devices I would, most morning most of the time, be flinging on black yoga pants and a singlet. After all it is only a matter of time before I will be going to practice yoga or teaching a pilates class myself. Why bother to change clothes half way through the morning and again half way through the afternoon?

This is, of course, my lazy arse equivalent of wearing pyjamas all day, including to the supermarket.

It is good, therefore, to have my arse kicked by the lovely Fox in Flats once more for another month of daily style challenges.

For those of you unfamiliar with the last style challenges I would encourage you to read the following posts:

The Dress Dare (wear a dress a day for a week)

The Colour In Dares: Day 1 – Looking on the bright side, Day 2 – Green Grass and Yellow Icecream, Day 3 – The Saltire Compromised, Day 4 – By the Peacock, Day 5 – Rehabbing Orange, Day 6 Indian Trucks and Day 7 – The Entirely Unroyal but Still Spectacular Wedding .

and more recently the DAREcember/Dressember posts.

This month’s style challenges in an eggshell blue box shaped nutshell are as follows:

And here is my first fortnight’s Fabruary photo album :

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Losing My Bottle in Backbends

Mostly I like to think of myself as strong and fearless.

Sometimes I am and sometimes I am shit scared.

This week I looked a fear in the face and

Iyengar drops back into Urdhva Dhanurasana

 

ran away from it.

My nemesis in yoga is upward bow or wheel pose – the sanskrit name is Urdhva Dhanurasana.

The entry level in wheel pose is to push up from a bridge pose, which looks something like this:

Both bridge pose and wheel pose rely on two main things – leg strength and butt strength. Rodney Yee counsels that you should not attempt wheel pose unless you can support it with strong glutes and deliciously open hip flexors.

I am rather partial to Rodney Yee so I have given heed to his advice.

For a long LONG time I would go no higher in Wheel Pose than the version above.

Anything higher than that would crunch into my lower back and cause me a huge amount of discomfort.

I learned to deal with my ego.

The ego used to encourage me (with Gollum like whispers) to try to drop back into wheel from standing. A bit like this…

I can’t of course because that is crazy yoga voodoo.

Haha.

What I have done, day by day is to push up from bridge pose into this position.

Yoga Pose Weekly - Bow Pose

 

 

This week, quite by accident, I found myself in a position where I was in a deep back bend against the wall on blocks. It looked a bit like this

It felt good.

It actually felt awesome.

‘Walk your hands up the wall’ my teacher suggested lightly.

I did.

‘Now walk them back down the wall to your blocks’.

I sort of did until I was about an inch of the way away from the blocks. The block stared up at me. I growled back at it. There we were, immovable object meets immobile yogi.

The block won.

Later I wondered why I find it so hard to trust my own judgment.

I guess it is a common problem.

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Post-script: If you fancy conquering your own better judgment there is a useful blog tutorial by Annie at Supportive Yoga here here

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Photo credit above: Chauncey Harrison ‘The Elegant Klutz’