Wednesday, 30 October 2013
I've planned a 'wild' week with loads of different things - activities I haven't been able to do for months.
On Monday night I went to the Banff Mountain Film Festival - an annual screening that I never miss - TEFL or no TEFL. Tuesday morning, a doodling workshop.
Via a Facebook link, last week, I found out about a doodling workshop hosted by Ira Bekker. I thought that I recognised her name - she's a mosaic artist (also ceramics). I saw on her ZenDoodle website that she has regular workshops at a couple of coffee shops - I chose to go to one in Melville yesterday morning. I've been needing a creative injection.
I've had a thing about sketches and drawing since I can remember. Back in 2010 I went along to a drawing class to see if it would be something that I'd like to do regularly... and while I'd like to learn draw techniques, I have no interest in shading and drawing apples. I like the simplicity of line drawings. So, when I saw Ira's website... yes, it immediately caught my attention.
As she has only just started the sessions at the coffee shop in Melville, I was her only student so it was a productive one-on-one class. We started with some shapes and patterns and then I created two small drawings. I played around with some solids, but I've decided that I don't really like them in these drawings, unless there are more making up a pattern.
Then, yesterday afternoon, while waiting for my last English class to start, I thought I'd make a doodle for my classmate, Robyn. I was very chuffed with the result, which was totally unplanned.
That's the thing about doodling. You don't really plan, you just draw. So you start with a line or a circle or a squiggle or a petal and take it from there.
I gave it to Robyn after class. She says to me, "I've never received anything like this before. Must I colour it in?". Hahahahaha. I explained that this was it - no colouring necessary.
I think that Ira has created a monster because I'm already busy with another A5 doodle to contribute to 1000Drawings, which is where I found out about this doodling. It's a fundraising exhibition (for an inner city homeless care organisation) on 7 November at Sci-Bono. They're aiming to collect 1000 drawings and to sell them for R100 each. There are some really great drawings up for grabs (see the albums on their FB page).
Other fun and games planned for the week... this morning I've got coffee with a new Spanish-practicing pal and then I'm putting my tree yarn bomb up at Little Eden. Spanish class tonight; maybe a pole class on Thursday night (first pole-specific class I'll be going to since Jan/Feb!), visiting a chap I don't know every well - but who could do with a visit - on Friday (common connection through adventure stuff), yoga class with a buddy on Saturday morning (first yoga class in... almost two years - I've been craving yoga since not having circus classes, which used to bring in yoga elements). Seeing family on Sunday... Yip, lots of fun stuff in between a couple of work commitments.
[UPDATE] This is the doodle I've completed for 1000Drawings.
Sunday, 27 October 2013
I've been quite out of the pole scene since I stopped teaching in July last year and took up circus school; but I still love pole and have been waiting for this English course to finish to get back into it. There haven't been circus classes since June/July (I was away anyway) and pole remains close to my heart.
The general standard of performance has improved over the years but there are a number of things that stood out.
- 'Ho heels really have little place in this sport anymore. They look trashy and slutty on stage and I can bet my money that dancers wearing 'ho heels are more interested in how they look and being sexy for the audience rather than their performance. This was pretty evident. Three cheers for those with bare feet on stage - and fortunately there were many. Bare feet are
- Unless you've got a gymnastic or dance background, your chance of winning any competition (local or international) is slim. It really makes a HUGE difference in how the dancers move, their strength and flexibility. Wow!
- Every year you see the same moves coming out in the performances from a performance that the competitors have watched online. The common move changes year on year. Today I watched Heidi Coker's winning performance from this year's Pole Art 2013 competition. Her one pole-to-pole transition must have come up four times last night. Heidi beat my favourite-favourite, Oona Kivela at Pole Art. Both videos are so well worth watching for the grace, athleticism and strength. These women make it look easy. It isn't.
- Last night was big for flexibility moves like 'Allegra Box Splits' and 'Banana Splits'. While I'd love to be able to do these, there are moves - like these - that I think should be scrapped from the performance lists. As with 'ho heels, if pole fitness is every going to be taken seriously then moves that place the audience's attention in one specific place have no place on stage. Fine for playing around in class; not for performance. I know you can do the splits; you don't have to show me over and over and over again. There are plenty of other less 'presenting', similar moves that can be chosen instead.
- I'm still on the fence about the removal of clothing. No, not so that they're n.a.k.e.d. Skin contact is needed for the best grip so there's a reason why performers don't wear loads of clothing... But I'm not so sure about outfits where bits (shirts, skirts, capes - used as props) are taken off and flung across the floor. Again this goes back to pole's 'heritage' and does nothing for the sport. The IPSF states in their competition rules that "Costumes should not be intentionally removed, must fit correctly and not used in an erotic manner". Exactly! [although Evgeny - see below - can take his shirt off ANYTIME! *grin*]
Aside from his performance, which was captivating, the only other word I have to describe him is 'charming'. Totally charming. A beautiful performer, his audience interaction is superb - just a smile from the stage was all it took for us to be utterly and completely charmed. He has achieved the balance of displaying grace and effortless movements in his dance performance while still being a guy. I've seen performances online of guys that are just too ballet. Pole is a discipline of strength and for the guys shouldn't be too 'pointed toes' - the performance should remain masculine.
Ahh... Evgeny's 2011 World Pole Dance Champs winning performance (video improves once the dance starts)
Friday, 25 October 2013
Throughout the year I received requests from people for navigation coaching. Some of these I'm able to fulfill with group coaching sessions, which I've been doing for more than 10 years now. This year I totally revamped my coaching sessions and I'm chuffed with the outcome - and so were the students. As I've heard from many of them since the course, at least I know they're not lost...
Having been away in June and July and then wrapped up with the English course since, I haven't been able to attend to any of the navigation coaching requests that I've received over the past couple of months. As many people are unable to make scheduled courses or coaching sessions, I'm going to give it a try doing personal navigation coaching sessions. The benefit is that I can focus on specific problems that they've experienced.
I've popped some scheduled coaching session dates up on www.AR.co.za. We (AR Club) have a number planned for early next year too. If you're up for personal sessions (one-on-one or with a friend or teammate), drop me a note.
Thursday, 24 October 2013
[update: I forgot to include my 'Reflective Journal' entries. One per class. It's around 20 typed pages (Calibri, 12pt) - another 3hrs?]
The overall total? FIVE HUNDRED AND FORTY THREE HOURS! 543 hours!
Monday, 21 October 2013
I've inserted the UN Women campaign posters below my own searches on Google - I wanted to see what came up based on the campaign's searches. I'm using Google South Africa, which may be a bit different to Google search results in the US and other countries (?).
... need to...
So, we're talking on Friday during the run and we're pondering how easy it is to lose the plot. My annual birthday run thing reminds me how relatively easy it is to squeeze in a 30-minute run, even when you're crazy busy. But without the commitment to something like '37 Days of Running' the wheels can fall off and me-myself-I gets pushed aside for other tasks.
"Bugger it," I told him. "I should be the most important thing in my life. My health. My fitness. How does it happen that two or three or *gasp* four days pass and I haven't been out for a run?"
I get jumpy, I feel like hell, I'm short-fused...
"If I've been going to bed at 2am most nights, what difference really does it make if I get out for a 30 minute run and end up going to bed at 02h30 instead?" I added.
Improving on my track record from the past few weeks, I've had three runs in four days and I'm feeling more like myself again.
This evening I ducked out for a quick run, aiming to fit my run into the eye of the storm, so to speak. The glorious summer highveld thunderstorms have arrived and as I stepped out I could see dark clouds building again in the South.
Actually, I was also hoping to get caught in the rain. I delight in running in seriously pouring rain and having the freshness and clarity and energy and bounce that comes from running in a heavy storm. While I was kicking through puddles and streams gushing roadside, cars were struggling with fogged windscreens and with their wipers going like mad. I felt like a storm queen.
I'm hoping that I'm a bit more on track now, after losing my way for a bit. Fortunately, I don't lose my way for too long. Jumpy legs and a certain crankiness remind me that running is my calm in any storm.
Friday, 18 October 2013
For the past few weeks I've probably only been running two or three times a week. And there has been no circus school either. That's so not good for me. I feel far better and more balanced when I'm running 5-7 times a week, even if just for 30-45mins. And of course there are the welcome social interactions of regular group classes, like circus school and pole.
Fortunately, these incredibly intense periods are finite (too frequent though!) and comparatively short... biting the bullet has been tough, especially after coming off a really superb few running months from May and into August.
Yes, it's a good thing to remember that...
"Any day that you're too busy to run, is a day that you're too busy"
Sunday, 13 October 2013
Simon Gear is a superb MC - chilled, friendly, sporty, witty... a perfect combination for this event.
I had an excellent team behind the scenes with Alistair (sound), Kyle (slides), Marcel and Maggi (photos), Willem and Tiaan (photography), Liz (catering and many other odds), Ray (helping out all day), Marcelle (microphone rigging), Lauren and Staci (guest ticket table), Mari (assisting with tickets and at the photo wall) and Garry (organising the parking guys).
The speakers are the people that the audience is at FEAT to listen to and this year the mix was diverse. You can read a summary of the speakers and their topics on the FEAT website.
It was only when I received June Fabian's email post-event that the speaker mix was in the 'more mature' age category. Interestingly, the audience mix was also older and wiser - and when they booked their tickets they didn't know who all the speakers would be...
A FEAT regular, June writes:
I was going to email you to say its one of the best FEATs I have been to – each one is different, I agree, but last night was very special. As I get older, and so many worlds are getting more narrow, it's such an inspiration to see older peeps getting out there, exploring, engaging with our beautiful country and LIVING – and to have a platform to share it.Yes! A FEAT mission accomplished. FEAT was precisely created to be this kind of a platform.
A second FEAT mission was accomplished when journo Sarah Kobel from Do It Now Magazine said to me afterwards that after listening to the talks she just felt like heading off on an adventure and doing some of the things she's always wanted to do. Yes, yes, yes!
So, it was a good night and now I look ahead to two mini-FEAT events in mid-November. They've been on the cards for years - finally getting this aspect of FEAT off the ground. More on this in the next week.
Monday, 7 October 2013
We had a superb week at class on Tuesday and Thursday night. Although not perfect yet, our teaching pracs on Thursday night were definitely improved.
It was a week that was productive, positive and educational with open communication and good, hard work and preparation.
If only I'd held the intervention six weeks ago...
Friday, 4 October 2013
Last week, when I asked a lady I know how she was, she said she hadn't been well in the days since I'd seen her the previous week and that she had an umbilical hernia. I turned to Wiki as I didn't have a clue. I know what a hernia is but an umbilical hernia?
It's when the intestines push through a weakness in the abdominal wall at the site of the belly button. It's three times more common in women than men; more common in children of African descent (she's an African adult) and is acquired as a result of increased intra-abdominal pressure caused by obesity (nope, she's not fat), heavy lifting (very possibly a factor), a long history of coughing (nope), or multiple pregnancies (she has two children).
She has also been very constipated. I bought her a box of Black Forest tea and two big bunches of beetroot. The doctor she saw said she should be drinking more water. She is doing far better this week although the hernia is still there and it is irritated by white-flour products. It remains to be seen what needs to be done long term - surgery could be on the cards.
Another friend had a bowel issue this week. Severe abdominal pain. He thought an injury of sorts from yoga. I asked after his appendix... He ended up in casualty and it turns out he had serious constipation and was sent home with laxatives from the doc. I recommended Black Forest tea and beetroot to him too. You'll be pleased to know his bowels are moving (yes, I've asked him) and he's feeling much, much better.
Of interest, many years ago I was helping to take care of an old man with terminal cancer. The morphine he was on causes constipation. The Hospice nurse recommended paw-paw (papaya) and oranges as most effective. They work.
Dr Oz is big on bowel movements as they reflect your state of health and he recommends that "looking before you flush could save your life".
|(On Dr Oz. Made out of clay... just in case you were wondering.)|
Constipation (can't poop / don't poop regularly / really hard poops) are bad. Loose, watery poops - diarrhea - are bad. Both are signs that something is not right. Your aim should be to land one to three S-shaped poops a day.
Indeed, Dr Oz's three critial poop factors - shape, consistency and colour - are determined by your physical state (diseases / illness) and what you eat.
Here's a video of Dr Oz talking poop on one of his shows - http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/poop-primer
Constipation foods include pasta, white bread and rice which "move like paste, like toothpaste through your intestinal system," he says. "They slow down the process and therefore all that water gets sucked out."
Exercise does help as movement gives the bowel a helping hand to move things along.
On the other hand, spicy foods irritate the bowel and can result in loose poop. Watch that chilli!
And then there's fibre - a major role-player in the consistency stakes. According to Dr Oz we need at least 25g per day (a Health.com article recommends 25g for women and 35-40g/day for men) - we're lucky if we're getting 10-15g/day on our Western diets. Eat too little fibre and you're going to be on the constipated side of S-shaped; eat too much fibre and your poops will be pretty loose.
BBC Good Food says that, "Foods that contain 6g fibre or more per 100g are considered to be high fibre foods, while those containing at least 3g of fibre or more per 100g are considered to be a source of fibre."
They go on to say that...
Soluble fibre can be digested by the body and increases water content in the intestine to give a softer texture to the stool. Soluble fibre is made up of gums and other constituents of plant cells and plant cell walls that swell in water. Soluble fibre promotes the excretion of cholesterol and can be helpful for those suffering from haemorrhoids.What foods to go for to increase your fibre intake? (From BBC Good Food)
Insoluble fibre is traditionally known as roughage, insoluble fibre consists mainly of cellulose which absorbs water but passes through the bowel almost undigested. Foods rich in insoluble fibre fill you up and are effective at increasing stool size and bulk thus promoting regular bowel movements.
|Citrus fruit||Wheat bran|
|Oats||Fruit & vegetables|
You'll find lists of high-fibre foods on the web.
To get an idea of how much fibre you're eating, use one of the online food diaries and record what you eat over a few days. Enable the function to include the fibre content of the foods. I can feel when I'm not getting enough fibre - I just feel like my intestines aren't on top of their game.
I've been looking at my fibre tally, which is below 25g/day (as with most people), despite eating lots of fresh and raw veggies.
The tough part is upping intake, especially if, like me, you're being carb/sugar conscious. Oats pack a fibre punch but they're also high carbs. Mmmm... challenging. To the lists I go! It's a good thing I love lentils and other beans.
This time of year is busy. Diets slide. Stress mounts. Digestive systems are under strain.
As Dr Oz says, take a look before your flush to evaluate your health and if there's something wrong with shape, consistency or colour, fix it - like now.
Wishing you better health... and a good poop in the morning.