My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Yoga Home Practice How-To

If you struggle with mobility at the gym, you may want to consider adding yoga to your routine. If you’ve never tried yoga, I suggests you take a couple of classes just to get the feel of it. After that, anyone can develop a home practice. For example, I do 15-20 minutes of yoga each morning.

As with any new habit, it is best to start small and work your way up to your home practice goal. I had a yoga instructor who once told me that a home practice only needs two sun salutations and a gentle twist.


Those two sets of exercises move every part of the body and can be enough to quiet the  mind. With that routine, I only needed five minutes a day so I decided to try it. I didn’t have trouble sticking to five minutes a day and soon I started to add moves to address specific aches, (e.g. a stretch to mobilize my hips after running the day before). Before I knew it I was doing yoga for ten minutes and then fifteen. That’s all I need to stay mobile and centered most of the day.

Should you want some other specific routines, I’m going to include two of my favourites (day and night,) from Essential Yoga. Usually I don’t like republishing other yogi’s routines, but this book is now out of print and can be difficult to find and expensive to purchase. Try it out and feel free to send me a comment about your results. As with any exercise, if you have specific injuries or health concerns, it is best to consult your doctor and chiropractor before beginning. Namaste.




Chipmunk Relocation Program

My husband and I have been having some issues with a chipmunk. He has dug a tunnel though our lawn and under our driveway. Now bits of the driveway are caving in. There is no doubt about it, Mr. Chipmunk has to go.

Now to be fair, we tried to discourage the chipmunk from digging up our driveway by filling in his hole with rocks and then chilli flakes and then human hair, (from my hairdresser). None of that discouraged our little interloper so Nick showed me this picture of a trap he saw online.

Basically, you fill a bucket with seeds and water and when the chipmunk goes up the ramp to get the seeds, he falls in the water and dies. I’m not sure what we thought was going to happen to our chipmunk, but he didn’t die. Nick found him swimming around and around the bucket trying to escape. Poor Nick couldn’t stand to see him suffer, so he dumped the bucket, water, chipmunk and all, into our cat carrier. The chipmunk was, obviously, not pleased and quite soggy.


Nick and I walked him several kilometres into the bush and found him a new home with trees, bushes and a nearby river. We just have to pray he won’t be able to find his way back!


By the time we found a good spot, our little friend was quite eager to be on his way.


I very carefully opened the cage.


He paused a moment and then scurried away.


Nick and I will now be running a chipmunk relocation program from our house. No squirrels please.

More Positive Tweeters!

Check out these great tweets #DailyJoy

Add some positive energy to Twitter #DailyJoy

Switch Your Buts to Ands

While I was indulging in some YouTube time the other day, I heard YouTuber Philip Defranco suggest we build more positive attitudes by replacing the word ‘but’ with ‘and’ in our sentences. For example, you could say either of the following:
“I need to work out but I don’t have time.”
“I need to work out and I don’t have time.”

The first statement is negative and an excuse. The second statement expresses a problem but the word and makes it seem that a solution is possible if we work for it. I’m going to try this little linguistic trick and if it works, maybe I’ll teach it to my students as well.

GoodHealth Walk 2014

The Good Health Walk

It’s almost that time again! The Good Health Walk is back and open to everyone. If you want to walk with us, please join us Saturday, September 20th, 2014 at 10am at Springbank Gardens. You can sign up at our website. Bring your friends, your family and even your pets and help us live healthier lives and raise money for The Boys and Girls Club. I hope we see you there!


July is a month of Fridays; August is a month of Sundays. One of my colleagues summed up his summer this way. It made perfect sense to me. In July the summer is full of possibilities and ideas; everything is about to happen. August is about finishing tasks, trying to maximize the potential of each day and then transitioning back to school and work.

I don’t want to go all melancholy, so here are some of the great things I did this summer:

  • I survived another year of teaching summer school.
  • Nick and I held a huge summer wedding reception party for all our family and friends. Many people told me they really enjoyed themselves and Nick and I had a wonderful time.
  • I reorganized all the closets and drawers in my house…all of them. I actually know where everything is.
  • Nick and I went on our honeymoon to beautiful Victoria, BC. It was such a beautiful time for he and I to connect and relax.
  • We remodelled our back patio. Our background is much more welcoming now.
  • I mastered my new BBQ and made many delicious meals. From burgers to cedar-planked salmon, we tried it all.
  • I got an ice cream attachment for my kitchenaid mixer and have been making classics, (French vanilla, mint chocolate chip,) as well as some new favourites, (root beer, wild berry cream).
  • I spent a lot of time cuddling and playing with my cats. It’s a simple pleasure but something that allows me to bond with my furry fellows.
  • I laughed a lot with my friends and family. This one is really important to my health so I’m glad I made time for it.

Happy last day of summer!

Origami Meditation

You don’t have to be sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed to meditate. There are many forms of meditation. For example, active meditation uses an action (often repetitive) to encourage meditation. Think of meditation as anything that moves you beyond your physical self into a state of quiet reflection. Some people use exercise or walking to meditate. I like to use origami. I learned how to make tiny paper stars and I find making them very calming.

Here are the instructions I used to learn how to make paper stars.

Here are the instructions I used to learn how to make paper stars.

I have made enough of them now that I’ve started putting them in little jars. I like how they look all lined up in my office. You don’t need special origami paper either. Grab some scrap paper and cut it into long 1cm wide strips. They you can try it too!


30 Trainer Check-In

Have you had your 30 Day Trainer Check-In yet? Every West London CrossFit member has an assigned trainer and can have 30 day check ins. I have started mine with Jesse and I like the process. He checks my measurements and weight. We review my goals from the past 30 days and set new ones accordingly. It gives me a chance to review my progress with another person to help me brainstorm and problem-solve. If you are looking for another way to track your progress, see one of the trainers to get set up!

Fire Up the Grill!

BBQ season is here and this year I got a brand new BBQ. I took the old one and put it in front of my house with a free sign on it. It was gone in a day. I’m not sure why someone would want it…maybe just for scrap? Either way, that cleared a space in my backyard for this beauty:


I managed to hook up and preheat the BBQ and not lose any of my eyebrows.


For our first BBQ on the new Q, we went with steak (obviously), corn on the cob, and broccolini (longer broccoli stalks).


Just check out those grill marks!


For dessert I decided to grill some pineapple.


I added a little ice cream and our meal was complete!


It’s amazing how a meal cooked on the grill and eaten with my husband really brought my day together.

Art in Unexpected Places

When I was in Toronto for World Pride, my friend Julie and I walked by Hermes.

IMG_0333They had a very interesting window display.

IMG_0330 IMG_0329 IMG_0331

I know the images are a bit hard to see but I sort of like the way these photos turned out, with my ghostly figure imposed over top. I also like the convention-bending and whimsical juxtaposition of the mundane and the fantastical. I enjoy finding creativity in unexpected places and I wanted to share my latest find with you.


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