(More) April Updates

Library Course: I previously had mentioned that I completed my course in the first week of January. Got my OCT certification upgraded. This means that I can receive calls for this subject area!

YTT Weekend: Just finished a wonderful weekend We had a lovely day with Carly Stong, from Kingston, Ontario. She is a fat activist and yogi who has been teaching us about body positivity and explained why the word fat is not an insult. If you’d like to hear more about Carly, check out this podcast interview with her from Kathryn Bruni-Young. Here’s a shot of my lovely studio while it’s empty on the lunch break:


Kids’ Yoga: I’m now volunteering to teach an hour of kids’ yoga at a local elementary school. I’ve blocked off my Wednesdays for work. Good to add to my resume if I do decide to apply for yoga teaching jobs in the future. So far, I’ve completed two sessions.

Walking: I’m pretty much afraid to show people my pedometer; it is an embarrassing mess and I’m nowhere near 10,000 steps a day.* Thankfully, I can be motivated by friends and am in an online step challenge with high school friends on the Canadian-funded Carrot Rewards app. Yup, sometimes shaming works! It has helped a lot since I check the app everyday and if my steps are low, I’ll take a walk at the end of the day to hit my goal.

Here’s a shot of the beautiful Victoria Park in Kitchener, Ontario.

IMG_20180421_184214579 (1)

Health: Earlier last month, I got a local family doctor, which is hard to come by in Kitchener-Waterloo. I got a general blood test and it appears I have healthy levels of vitamin B12 but low levels of iron storage. Currently trying to find a brand of iron supplements.

Also, I recently discovered this amazing chia seed pudding at Freshii, which is a Canadian fast food restaurant chain. OMG – sprinkled with mango, strawberries and coconut, this healthy dessert is soooo delicious!


*I do try to set down my cellphone, which is what is tracking my steps, when I’m at home. This likely reduces my step count. I’m waiting to get a FitBit off of Bunz. The trade has been negotiated but the original swap got canceled due to the great ice storm last weekend.


Weekend Update

Books: Re-reading an old James Herriot novel, All Creatures Great and Small. It’s probably been 18 years that I’ve read it. Just going back to some master story tellers. (Also, if you can’t tell, I’ve been obsessed with all things Brit lately.)

Car insurance: Been shopping around, as I am looking for a new insurance company for the start of July, when I move back to Ontario. I was paying far too much for Meloche Monnex, although I didn’t have much of a choice, since they were one of the few companies that would take me as a client (i.e. living in Quebec with Ontario plates). After talking to five companies, I believe my best bet is OTIP. It does pay to call around though; I got a $25 Amazon gift card from OTIP just for speaking with an agent and CAA also gave me $25 for chatting with them!

 Finally transferred about $22,000 of RSPs out of Tangerine Investment Funds and over to another roboadvisor. There’s a nice spread of iShares and Vanguard ETFs. Will need to sit down and look through my asset allocation when I’ve got more time in the summer. Got a $50 bonus when I started the account since mentioning the referral from Jessica Moorhouse.

School Boards: All registered with my new school board, and getting calls for substitution on my cellphone (it took me a week to figure out how to turn it off until September). However, I am disappointed I did not get an interview with Ottawa-Carleton (OCDSB). Out of four other friends, only one person I knew got an interview for the OT list. I suppose I just try again next year … should I apply for Thames Valley? Will work on an application later this week.

Media: Podcasting as usual and enjoying BBC’s The Documentary. Also learned about Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) on the SickBoy podcast*. Taking a pause after finishing seasons 6 of Call the Midwives and switching over to AMC’s Humans. AHHHH!!! Great show to watch after HBO’s WestworldWatch the trailer:

*This is a Canadian podcast and it is tastefully done, not what you’d expect when the three hosts are three white dudes. What’s even cooler is that one of the hosts is my gym buddy’s brother-in-law!

Fave Podcast: Jessica Moorhouse

One of the podcasts I find myself going back to regularly is Jessica Moorhouse’s Mo’ Money. My long-time childhood friend, Sarah Li Cain, of High Fiving Dollars, recommended it to me several months ago and I got hooked after listening to the interview with Gail Vaz-Oxlade.

Listened to this interview with Andrew Kirkland of JustWealth this morning. Super interesting introduction to roboadvisors, how the name started and what are differences between index funds and ETFs.

If you don’t have a podcast player, you can use the embedded Soundcloud app:

What are some podcasts that you enjoy? 

Screen Shot 2017-04-08 at 1.16.42 PM

Considerations for Leaving the North

Lately, I’d been considering whether I should leave the north or not. I’ve had a few students ask me if I am staying on for next year and have told them that it wouldn’t be likely.

While I know I am seeking new challenges and know that one will never truly be ready for change, there are many aspects of the north that I know I will miss.

  • Cheap rent: I pay about $1000 a year as my housing is mainly subsidized.
  • Minimal commute time: It takes me less than 5 minutes to drive to work and only about 12 minutes to walk. It’s easy for me to pop in on the weekends or the evenings if I’ve forgotten something or would like to catch up.
  • Lots of free time: Related to having a minimal commute time. If J. is running late, I could still walk home or just head to the gym by myself.
  • Accessible and affordable gym: The gym is literally the building next to my school. For my membership, I pay approximately $120 for the entire year. And mind you, I drop a lot more dollars on Cody app fitness plans, but those have always been an investment in my health and knowledge. The other thing is that I’ll never have again is a fairly unused squat rack where there are no line-ups.
  • Being able to sleep in: Again, related to the short commute, I can sleep in pretty late.
  • Having time with J.: Since we currently work in the same building and have the same start times, we travel to and back together. We are able to have lunch together and eat dinner at the same time.
  • Being able to save money: There is no place to spend it. If you spend money online and order items, you have to put some thought into it. There is no place to buy alcohol, so going out for a cinq-à-sept after work instead of the gym isn’t something that happens.
  • Having a big, fat classroom budget: I am currently able to spend $2200 a year for my classroom. That’ll never happen again in a public school “down south”… sigh.

Ultimately, I have to finalize a decision by the end of February. I have to sign a piece of paper and give it to my principal to declare whether I am staying or not. I’m trying to screw up the courage to do it, but at the same time, map out my future with J. It’s tricky and am just trying to figure out how we are going about things.

So just to support myself emotionally and mentally, I’m reminding myself that people quit their jobs and do new stuff all the time. Even awesome and inpsiring ladies like Jessica Moorhouse is able to take the leap and quit her job to try something new and that sometimes you just have to put yourself out there.

I’ve also been re-listening to Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. I’d read it a few years ago, but since my friend V. got me listening to the Dear Sugar podcast, I decided to revisit her book. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, it’s about a woman who decides, during a very difficult period of her life, to do a solo hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. Reading about all the hardships of hiking in the wilderness alone – not stepping on rattlesnakes, running out of water, losing a hiking book off the edge of a cliff – helps me put into perspective my own hardships (which there are very few of).

Anyway, it’s still Thursday. I have a spare first period, so it was nice to find this time to blog, but I need to keep my feet on the ground and head out for work soon!


Katy Bowman: Nutritious Movement

Since my yoga intensive with Kathryn Bruni-Young, I’ve been looking for more information on mindful movement. I started with the reading list that our instructor gave us and bought the book, “Move Your DNA”. Katy Bowman’s book has blown my mind! This book isn’t about exercise. It’s actually about how we move and how we can improve our movement to reduce strain, injury and stress.

While I’m two-thirds through the book, I’ve already started making some small habitual changes in my day-to-day lifestyle. These changes do not take extra time:

  • Sleeping without a pillow: Here are some reasons to ditch the fluffy stuff. I have been now sleeping without a pillow for 25 nights now*, with only one cheat night. I’m not doing it for gimmicky reasons; in fact, I’m trying to fix my the neck position as my head is often pitched forward away from my shoulders**. After reading the blog post, I looked at some vacation photographs and was quite appalled when I saw how bad my head posture was. So if I’m in a neck-forward position for 8 hours at night, would it not affect my daytime posture?
  • Developing calluses on your hands and feet: What? Having calluses on our hands are good? Yes, the increased thickness on your skin actually allows you to adapt and feel various surfaces better. If you don’t work in manual labour though, you probably have soft and sensitive skin. While I had a great summer, the worse part of it was that I lost my calluses from disuse!!! I noticed they were sloughing off 3 week ago …. so my palms are baby smooth again. Kinda mad. I was working on them too while weight-training for 7 months!! I suppose it has been no surprise since I’ve been on summer break …. sigh. Take a look at your own palms; it’s likely you need some work too! Take your shoes off and run on the grass. Climb a tree! If you’ve got a chin-up bar at home, go hang on it for a couple of minutes. Give your skin a workout.
  • … which begs the question, what about barefoot walking? I’d love to start this, but no, I won’t be barefoot walking soon, although I did do a bit in the city. Up north, the gravel is waaaay too sharp! But I’ll be making my students walk barefoot (with socks) in my classroom this year for the first time.
  • Walking for nutrition: I don’t walk a lot in the north; over the past three years, I have been driving a lot for food. The native reserve is literally about 1 km long, so it shows how lazy I’ve become. Even J. chides me but it didn’t sink in until listening to Katy Bowman’s book. Nutrition doesn’t include just the macronutrients, micronutrients and the vitamins; it should include the task of acquiring and collecting food. Think of the ancestral habits; you had to forage, hunt, gather and walk. Even as a university student, I remember sweating as I carried large bags of food back home. I didn’t have a car then. Not that I’m going to become a farmer anytime soon, but I’m making a better effort to walk to the grocery store. I know when it gets cold and I get very busy, this may change, but while it’s warm, we will definitely be walking to the store (see picture above). J. pointed out that when you are carrying the necessities, you don’t have as much space in your bag to carry junk food.

If you’re not interested in the book or are not able to get access to it, you can also check out her podcasts, called Katy Says. It’s done in a dialogue format and are about 30 minutes long each.


*The boyfriend complained that my head was sneaking up and trying to get onto his pillow the past two nights. Maybe it was my body unconsciously navigating itself to a source of heat …

**The issue might be linked to my rounded shoulders and weak serratus.