Archive for the ‘SLO Town’ Category

19 weeks now, and every small task seems daunting. I’m tired.

The survival instincts are primal, and it’s impossible not to listen to the body’s needs. When I’m hungry, the stomach gnaws away, the body tenses, the mind focuses on nothing else. When I’m thirsty, it feels like the skin is shriveling away from the flesh. When I’m tired, the bones ache, the eyes burn, my patience with small-talk and niceties disappears.

Eat… Now.
Drink… Lots.
Sleep… Immediately.
Pee… All the time.

We have our ultrasound on Thursday, and yes we will be peeking at the baby’s sex. People feel very strongly about whether or not you should be “surprised” at birth, and it’s a little annoying to have to justify my decision. I know this is only the beginning of the “You shoulds” and all the other unsolicited advice that goes along with pregnancy and child-rearing. For those people who say, “It’s the one true surprise in life,” I have this to say: Life is a surprise. Every moment is a surprise. Tay and I will be just as surprised this Thursday as we would on January 27th (or somewhere thereabouts). And I’ll be better prepared to pick out my fabrics for my next sewing project. But for those of you who do want to be surprised, I won’t post the results here. You’ll have to email me, or leave me a comment with your email address, if you want to know along with us.

I got this book from the fabulous Amy Butler, Little Stitches for Little Ones, and the projects are adorable. First up, I think, is the Snuggie Wrap Blanket, which is basically a hooded, fleece-lined quilt that wraps around the baby and has a little wrap tie. So cute.

I’m almost finished with the quilt. I must be the slowest hand-stitcher in the world, and you just can’t rush a good slip-stitch apparently, so I’m just plodding along. Tay used to make fun of me for taking a quilting class. “You’re not an old lady yet, you know,” he used to say. Now he says, “Will you make me one?”

I’ve started packing workout clothes in the car when I leave the house in the morning. Paso has been so hot, so when I escape to the coast or to San Luis Obispo for work, I extend my stay as long as possible by walking along the beach or going for a hike. Just until it’s cool enough to come home.

There is space for yoga as well. It’s been a while since I’ve committed to my full practice, but I do make sure I get some form of practice in every day, even if it’s just 3 A’s, 3 B’s, and standing followed by seated meditation. I’m still attending my once-weekly prenatal class, which I really am enjoying.

Oh, and of course I am still growing. I’m just at that point where people can tell that I’m pregnant by looking at me. Here comes all the belly rubs from strangers.


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Yesterday, after practicing at lightning speed (sans Julie, I might add 🙂 ) I spent the remainder of my morning trying to teach myself about German wines. Because as soon as I start thinking I know something about wine? I realize that I don’t. There’s a country whose wine jargon is a lot more confusing than ours. Because it’s all in German. It’s not ‘Pinot Noir’. Nein! It’s Spatburgunden. But it is Pinot Noir. Only it’s Pinot Noir in German. Or something.

And then there are other German words like Kabinett and Spatlese and Auslese and Eiswein and Beerenauslese and trocken… It was all just too much to handle at that moment. My head was swimming. So I went and met Julie and her friends for some winetasting.

People. (And by people, I mean Friends) This is what will happen if you come visit me! First, you will come in with your yoga mat, all ready to practice as we previously agreed upon. And I’ll shake my head and offer you a wine glass instead. Maybe a plate of cheese. Some nuts. Whatever. And as the evening continues, I will open countless bottles of wine (okay, maybe three) for you that are from my little “cellar”. And then, we will realize that it’s dinner time so we’ll order Thai Food. But I’ll let you pay (thanks J!). But next time I’ll plan better and I’ll cook you dinner instead.

So then the next day we can practice together in my yoga room. (Only maybe it’ll just be me because maybe you had to stay up really late the night before… that’s okay, too) And after that, we’ll go wine tasting in the back woods and vineyards of westside Paso Robles. Gooooood wines. I’ll help you navigate your visit so that you can avoid the numerous land mines (aka “Crappy Wineries”) that seem to pop up every week and get more and more bizarre (like a winery and tasting room that are built in the shape of castles).  And then I’ll make sure that I buy the wine for you so that you can receive my lovely industry discount. (Come to think of it, I don’t think I bought Julie any wine. BUT we did pick out two bottles for Timiji. One was called the Ditch Digger. Which reminds me of my daily ashtanga practice. But ANYWAYS.)

If you don’t want to go wine tasting, we can go Olive Oil tasting instead… or we could go visit a lavender farm or Windrose Farm. Or we can just eat all day at my favorite restaurants and do some shopping in between.

The point is, friends, if you come visit Paso Robles, I’ll try to make sure you have a nice time.

Thank you, Julie for letting me spend so much time with you and your friends! I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and it’s always wonderful to see you.

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Early morning practice this morning. And for the first time in a very long time, I felt better before I practiced than I did afterwards. What gives? I woke up at 4:30 all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and by the time I finished my practice at 6:15, I was ready to crawl back in bed and sleep for another 4 hours.

I’m blaming it on the onion rings and the pint of IPA I ate last night at 9 p.m.

One bad thing about the new “home” town: any decent and semi-affordable restaurant closes by 8:30 on a weeknight. We were left with two options: break the bank at Villa Creek, Artisan (my current favorite) or Bistro Laurent (in paint-stained ripped-up jeans and tennies), or a  neighborhood brewery. Guess which one we chose?


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One More Step…

Oh my goodness… the future is such an exciting thing.

More later. Too early now to reveal anything… but just had to share.

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately on the state of the world today. Mostly on the effects of technology and modern conveniences and supermarkets and the like. Not only thinking about the detriment to our environment… our soils, the air we breathe, the food we eat, etc… but to the detriment of our traditions, those that were once passed down from mother to daughter or father to son (or mother to son and father to daughter, for that matter).

I hear my mother tell stories about her grandmother. How she could turn out a huge batch of fresh gnocchi in no time at all or how she’d spend all day making fresh pasta and ravioli, sheets of the pasta no doubt draped over every open surface. I know my mother wishes she had learned these traditions, and then in turn, had taught them to me. It’s not too late. I could learn how. So could she. But why bother? We can buy fresh pasta from the market. Well, it’s not quite fresh. But what’s the difference? The sauce comes in jars. The “fresh” herbs wilt in small plastic packets for $1.79 each. We can make a semi-homemade meal in less than 30 minutes.

Here’s a secret… You can prepare a whole-grain, whole-food, fresh meal in the same amount of time. No pre-cut, bagged ingredients. I attempt it almost every night. Sometimes it takes a little longer for that pesky brown rice to cook, though. Sometimes it takes 45 minutes.

Where’d all these mental meanderings come from? I’m reading a book called Food Not Lawns. And while some of the author’s advice seems out of reach and a little far fetched for my current reality (like composting your own human waste rather than flushing it…. ick), I think there is something to all her preaching… We’ve come so far from where we were, and in order to preserve our cultures and our heritage, perhaps it is time to take a step or two back.

So that’s my goal in the upcoming year. Give up one or two modern conveniences. Plant some seeds. Nurture a garden. Grow my own herbs. Grow some food. Visit and support small farms. Bake bread (without a breadmaker! gasp!). Reinstate the compost bin. Shop at the farmer’s markets (to supplement my CSA). Buy local. All of these things take time, yes. But think about taking just one step. One step backwards.

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Red Badge of Courage

Yesterday, I went on my first “really big” mountain bike ride… Really big meaning really long… leaving from our house at the base of Bishop Peak, climbing to the top of Cuesta Peak and then looping back down down down.

The ride up Stenner Creek and Stagecoach is a grunt. Not too technical, but just long, gradual inclines. As we climbed, we were granted some incredible views of the hills and city below. Spring in San Luis Obispo is beautiful… everything is so verdant and green. By the time we reached Shooter’s trailhead, we’d traveled only 8 miles, but had climbed over 1800 feet.

We turned to ride down Shooter’s. Shooter’s is a fairly steep single-track that winds down Cuesta Peak, hugging the west side of the mountain. The cliff falls away to the left, so if you’re gonna fall, you better fall to your right. It’s a long, rocky, steep way down the other way. It hasn’t rained much this spring, that much was apparent from the technical conditions on the trail. Sharp rocks jutted from the dusty, rutted dirt… my front tire bounced along and I struggled to “keep it loose” in my arms… All I really wanted to do was tense up, a sure way to get bucked over the front of my handlebars…

I held on, and stopped to meet back up with the husband just above the eucalyptus grove. “I’m gonna go through the trees, and I’ll meet back up with you right down there,” he said, pointing to an area in the trail I knew well.

“Oh… that’s the spot where I almost fell last time. I’ll probably walk my bike down,” I said.

“Yeah, that other girl ahead of us got off and walked at that part too,” Tay’s words were encouraging… sort of a ‘don’t worry, you’re not a wuss’ pat on the back.

But as I approached the steep section, my ego piped up. “I can do this. I’ve done it before.”

I felt confident at first… But as I brought my weight too far back behind my seat, the bike began to pick up speed. Waaaay too much speed. A sharp turn to the left, I miraculously made that turn, and then one more steep section to go…

The next 30 seconds were some of the scariest of my life as I clamped down on my rear brake, completely neglecting my front brake, the bike began accelerating instead of slowing, and just when I thought I could maybe gain control, as I neared the end of the steep decline, I noticed something ahead that wasn’t there last time… Someone had built a jump.

My bike bucked me off going top speed, I landed with a thud and a whimper, and I lay there, curled up, afraid to move… Sure that something must be broken… Apparently I scared the sh*t out of the poor husband, who was sure I’d suffered a broken collar bone at the very least.

Luckily, nothing broken… just bruised ribs, bruised swollen hip, knee, and missing skin all along the left side of my body. Oh and a bruised ego. Once home, I picked the rocks out of my skin with tweezers and doused half my body with disinfectant and guaze.

I can’t help but feel a little proud… My first ever really big ride, and my first ever really big fall.  I feel like a “tough chick”. Maybe I’ll even scar!

No yoga this morning.  I might try practicing tomorrow, but sleeping is an exercise in pain right now, every time I move, I’m awakened… so perhaps not.

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This morning as I drove to work, a fog bank enclosed the valley. I could barely see ahead of me, so drove snail-like, squinting through the grey to make out the only slightly darker shapes of the telephone poles that flank each side of the road (just a little too closely, in my opinion).

As I came over a rise, just past Domaine Alfred’s tasting room,  the sun broke through just enough to reflect off of millions of water molecules, and I was dazzled by the white-out effect.

And within an instant, I had left the fog behind. The vineyards, the mustard flowers and the newly cleared sky seemed so saturated with vibrant color after the monochromatic greys of the fog, I stopped the car in the middle of the road to catch my breath.

I wish I could convince my winery to go Biodynamic. One of the vineyards across the street is, and they have a herd of sheep with dozens of tiny, fluffy, baby lambs tottering through the rows. Of course, if we had lambs around here then I’d never get any work done…

I practiced this morning in my living room, as we had a houseguest come in late last night. And that makes for a perfect practice week. Yay me!

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