WordPress revisited

I am constantly amazed by the breadth and depth of WordPress‘ supreme capabilities. Or moreover, the developers who design such startling gorgeous and functional templates.  And having had the pleasure of learning the nuances of the Atahualpa template we use for this blog, I am ready to take on designing for other clients who might be interested in developing their website in this fashion. But holy smokes, the choices for options and templates is beyond astounding! And with awesomeness of WordPress comes the backend coding. The learning curve thus far has been pretty steep and I haven’t taken that leap in to pursuing it with reckless abandon. But now an opportunity exists for a client who wants a website developed. So I’ve taken the plunge and have offered my design skills through this new-age forum. And it is through the researching of such a task that I’ve come to exploring the endless possibilities of the job I’m about to take on. Oh dear, what have I gotten myself in to??! Wish me luck! 🙂

Frivolous flirtations of the Facebook kind

So much for my New Year’s Resolutions! Every day, in every way. Not so for the month of March. Let’s hope that April will provide for a better track record?

I am so far behind in my blogging, and so incredibly sorry for letting you (and myself down). But nonetheless, I am very willing and anxiously wanting to catch uP (as best as I can, at least)! However, the difficulty of falling behind the blog writing curve is the inability to remember each and every day (even with the aid of many photographic hints). But with the delights of facebook happenings and digital photography, I hope to be able to share my many fabulous memories from the past 2-3 weeks. Soon enough. It’s just getting beyond the hurdle of disappointment which has edged, like oozing ink, in to the crevices of my cre8tive well, leaving me breathlessly apologetic, stumbling and repentant.  It’ll return. Just you wait and see. When you least expect it, the comeback queen will once again unearth her groove and breath her written word into a seamless tapestry of benign cre8tivity. :).

Just in case you didn’t know, the beauty of facebook updates is in the ability to go back through a ‘wall’s’ many older posts, copying and pasting witticisms / momentary lapses of hasty foot-in-mouth comments. My facebook ramblings seem to be far more up-to-date than any other words I’ve uttered on the web. Perhaps this has to do with the captive audience I’ve garnered / earned and the immediacy of feedback on my profile page? Yup, it’s true. When it comes right down to it, I’m addicted to facebook and the depth of knowledge I grasp from all my friend’s lives and goings-on. Call me a peeping Tom of sorts. Or a nosy Nancy. Either way, I spend way too much time on facebook and not enough time on this blog.

Forgive me faithful readers for my frivolous philandering. I’ll catch up — soon enough — with titillating tales from the throes of our Airstream antics. Promise! (Because I’ve missed you, you know :)). I’ll do better in April — no April Fool‘s joke, honest!

No shortcuts to slimming the daily exercise routine

Not enough daily exercise
Last night, I watched on TV the breaking health Harvard study  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8586767.stm news about women and weight gain. As an older woman, in order to keep the weight off and maintain a healthy lifestyle and BMI, an hour of exercise daily is needed. Ironically, just this past week, I read an article that stated only 90 minutes of exercise a week was enough. This is not the case . Seems that with the shift in our diets and daily routines, newer research is suggesting that we need more, to not only stop the weight gain, but to also maintain health. And if one is overweight, add the term ‘diet’ to that regimen.

What I want to know is, how does one keep motivated enough to sustain this level of physical activity? I have noticed that, with always being on the move in our Airstream travels (although time has essentially opened up compared to our past life in Calgary), I have become somewhat ‘soft’ in our new lifestyle choice. My regular daily practice of yoga has made a U-turn and at times has stopped (limited space within the trailer leaves me craving for the convenience of our gym membership), and I wonder what motivational inspiration I can embrace throughout the changes of our nomadic lifestyle. Luckily, stationed here at Skydive Elsinore, I have plenty of space on the airfield to walk around. I am blessed with the freedom to traipse up and down the gravel runways before the Otter starts its ritual morning skydiver drop. This in turn inspires and propels me to walk, walk, walk it off. Having groovin’ music and satisfyingly educational podcasts on the iPod help a lot as well. I’m intrigued at the possibly of jumping rope daily when I don’t have the safety and depth of 1 hour treks. First and foremost, I however need to see the repercussions on my knees. Baby steps. The thought of a fit, tone hard body at my age inspires me to not get any softer. I want to be a part of my age group that excels beyond the average and moderate. I need to keep fit, for me and my families future. Here’s to keeping that motivation going!

The Bikram Torture Chamber

For months, slaDE and I have been toying with the idea of going to an official hot studio Bikram class. We were lucky enough to experience a Bikram-style class without the heat, in Calgary at our local gym. But we had both yet to discover yoga in a sauna-like atmosphere, where one can barely breath and the sweat drips down your brow upon entering the room. Having the Rancho Bernardo Bikram studio just around the corner from our host in San Diego spurred us on to trying this yoga form. Bikram Sequence Bikrram Yoga (established by Bikram Choudhury) basically is an unorthodox Hatha-based yoga style that confines a large number of students in a room heated to a minimum of 105 degrees Fahrenheit performing a regimented and structured series of 26 asanas, which personally had me flip-flopping like a sweaty fish, questioning the integrity of the ‘yoga’ behind the practice’s name. Our 1.5 hour class was led by a sergeant-like instructor named Stefan. What made the class highly comical and slightly irritating was his accent and ‘teaching’ modus operandi. Stefan is Slovakian born … visualize, if you may, the rapid fire of a machine gun, on steroids, interspersed with English guttural sounds — so fast I could barely understand whether it was actually English that he spoke, or a new language with slang droppings inter-weaved between rat-a-tat breaths! Throughout the 90 minute Bikram spiel, Stefan stood completely still on a podium in a itty-bitty tightly hugging bikini, sweating buckets (wish I had that kind of metabolism and physique whilst rendered motionless). Not a single pose was demo-ed or adjusted. Truly, it felt highly advanced for any newbies, somewhat blasphemous and very un-yoga like, compared to our teaching style and methodology as taught in our Trinity Yoga training. But hey, that might be just me. Yoga in America has taken on new depths and meaning on this RV journey, thus far. And with just 1 class under my belt, I can positively say that I’m not a huge fan of Bikram or the teaching methodology which encourages pain thresholds to be pushed and crossed. But the heated yoga rocks my body and breath to new depths and heights of flexibility and stretch. Rock oN!

With all these new and unique styles of yoga popping up, I wonder what will be next on the menu selection for us. Perhaps Naked Yoga classes? Why not try Naked yogaFLIGHT??!!  Gives new meaning to letting it all hang out :).

Walking and talking with the Animals

sKY & slaDE at the San Diego Zoo entranceHippo dreamsQueen of the HipposPanda-liciousSan Diego has a world re-known first class Zoo that I’ve always wanted to visit. With lousy weather back at the drop zone, it seemed like an ideal time to play tourist and navigate this city from the ground (read blog entry from yesterday where we explored San Diego from the air). Balboa Park and the Zoo seemed like a good location to start. The vast variety of animals housed here is extraordinary. For the most part, you name it and we saw those animals from around the world.

  • My favourites by far were the dancing ballerina Hippos, the pecking Peacocks and the Giant Chinese Panda.

2 Giant CatsHanging HubbyLearning something new everyday!Meerkat ManorDespite our awesome visit today, I’m still somewhat torn by the concept of zoos within the confines of an urban area.  Although incredible research and conservation efforts may take place, helping certain species to survive, the lack of freedom and space available for these creatures might be considered inhumane and even jail-like, with limited room to move around, flourish and grow freely and without restricted boundaries. And the larger the animal, the bigger the tragedy. For example, take an elephant or a killer whale. Only just recently, a female trainer was mauled killed by a 12000 pound killer whale at Orlando’s Sea World Shamu Stadium. When you take dangerous wild animals out of their normal natural environment, I wonder what affect it has on their psychological, physical and social well-being and needs?

Scary HyenaA not-so-wise OwlFlaming FlamingosPumba the WarthogThe array of colours, sounds and smells throughout the Zoo were enlivening and thrilling. We made an effort to witness the different feedings and shows where we could during the day. The bird show had us tickled with laughter and awe; so much so that we particpated in the second showing of “Take Flight: An Avian Adventure” (think Harry Potter-like giant Owls and incredibly colourful singing parrots mixing with exotic rare birds and birds of prey such as a Peregrine Falcon and an American Bald Eagle). However, the winners of my affection were the dancing Hippos thrust in chaotic mosh-pit maneuvers both above and below water. Hippos intrigue me (read about my wild Hippo Malawi encounter here) to the point of fanaticism. Pissed off PeacocksBeauty bountiful feathered PeacockBut with the experience I had in Africa, I’m thinking that you’ll understand my fascination :). An Arctic WolfAnd then the culmination of our day led us to the panda bear exhibit, with Mama Panda Bai Yun enjoying her lunchtime snack of bamboo. Did you know that Pandas, a true bear, will not eat the outer bark of the bamboo plant, so they tear off the outer green skin before eating the fibrous bamboo?

All in all it was a glorious day of discovery and delight intermixed with feelings of sadness and educated contemplation. Wanting to top the day with an ocean sunset, we drove out to Mission Beach, grabbed ourselves a frothy tasty hot chocolate and nestled ourselves in to a comfy sand dune for the sun’s ocean dive. Mission Beach sunsetSpectacular colours and rhythmic waves lulled us into peaceful silence and gratitude; we are so thankful for a glorious Californian trip thus far. Pods of seaweed everywhereTruly, we are SO blessed! Not only do we have the freedom to travel and pursue our dreams at such a ripe young age, we have each other to explore the realms of opportunity together. FabulouS!

San Diego FuN

Duffy and sKYPoint Lomo LighthouseThe weather was rather windy and cloudy today. A good day to explore the area and play tourist. And what better place than touring San Diego, hanging out with an old friend who I haven’t seen in over 10 years? I was actually looking forward to introducing my husband~ to Duffy … they’ve known of each other for many years, but never had the opportunity to meet. And Duffy being the generous man that he is, offered to take us both for individual flights in his Beechcraft Skipper stationed at Montgomery Field Airport. When we met up, it was if it were yesterday, and the ease with which slaDE~ and Duffy got along, makes me feel all the more lucky to have such a social amazing husband. Because the high tailed Skipper only fits two passengers, I was the first to enjoy a spin around the area, enjoying gorgeous coastal views and skirting the lower edges of Class B airspace. At one point, we were 1500 feet above the International Airport of Lindbergh Field. Amazing that they allowed us to sight-see directly over top with a jet landing and another taking off just to our right. Duffy has a way with words :). Must be that amazing radio voice of his! In our tour of the area, we had front row views of Aircraft carriers, Frigates and Nuclear submarines which lined the coastal inlet, Naval Air Station North Island with F18s at the ready, Coronado Bridge with San Diego in the background, scenically impressive Point Loma Lighthouse, touristy Crystal Pier, and last but not least, the USS Midway Museum. This museum happens to be a real naval aircraft carrier that served in the United States Navy for 47 years.  Large and very impressive, it has real jets and real airplanes up on the flight deck that travelers can actually walk into, even sitting in the cockpits. Duffy did a skydiving demo in to there last month. Perhaps something on the agenda to see from ground level?

California coastlineSan Diego viewsAs the sun was setting, we glassed in a smooth landing and made our way over to where slaDE~ anxiously awaited his turn for a tour. I was happy for him to experience the ride of a lifetime. And Duffy was sure to not disappoint! The views of the city with the lights turned on undoubtedly provided a totally different vantage point from his mind’s eye.

We had a fabulous meal and a session of yogaFLIGHT to end a incredibly prodigious day!

Coaching and Safety Day

skydive - the ultimate adventureWhat a way to begin the weekend! slaDE and I sat through two days of intense but very entertaining days of ground prep and training for our USPA Coach certification. slaDE~s a naturally talented instructor, whereas I tend to lack confidence in my skills and knowledge base. Teaching yoga has definitely helped me gain a semblance of courage when it comes to standing in front of a crowd, but this took me a while with daily repetition and honing of my skills. I’m kinda rusty when it comes to skydiving (only back in the sport 10 months after a 4 year hiatus), and hence, I feel a tad shaky about the whole educational sweep of jumping out of airplanes. Currency in skydiving is imperative for this sport to be a safe and healthy recreational activity. That’s one reason why most drop zones around the world host an annual Safety Day each Spring (which happened to be held this very same weekend as our Coach course). It’s a way for drop zones to come together and serve their peers and community,  providing the wisdom and knowledge of professionals and experts in the field. This is fabulous for people like myself who need a review and update on safety and other realms in the sport. There are many skydivers who ‘hibernate’ over the winter months (most Canadian skydivers where skydiving is a seasonal event), and Safety Day is an excellent venue to brush up our skills. I’m finding the information in our Coach course (taught by Jay Stokes — who happens to be the USPA National Director), is like a Safety Day intensive on steroids. On top of that, as coaches, we have the additional responsibility of purveying that knowledge and building the skydiving skills to new jumpers in the sport, guiding and teaching them along their path to an ‘A’ license. Next step, Accelerated Free Fall Instructor (AFF)?? Maybe next winter 🙂 My flying skills need to be honed and refined. Sounds like I’m due for some tunnel time! But baby steps first, I need to get my 2 in-air coaching jumps out of the way. Surprisingly, I had the ground instruction down, no problem, with a bit of practice. I know that my success stemmed from the fact that I didn’t have to jump in between ground preps. Took the heat off and allowed me to focus on one task at a time. YaY!

DC3 Photoshoot


Hippy TwistDC3 Dreamin'Blessed, blessed, blessed we are to have such great skilled friends, bountiful opportunities and beauty all around uS! Our friend Spot, a professional musician, videographer, photographer, wingsuit expert and skydiving Instructor, offered to take photographs of slaDE~ and I enjoying yogaFLIGHT and partner yoga poses on the wing of the drop zone’s next door DC3 airplane (DOUGLAS DC-3 “DST” = Douglas Sleeper Transport). The gigantic radial engines and aluminum bare skinned wings provided a gorgeous backdrop to the sunny vibrant weather of the day.  For several hours, both mid-morning and near dusk, we lavishly explored the depths of flight and yoga atop & beside the wings of this iconic beauty of an airplane. So fortunate and privileged to grace the wings of flight with the yoga we hold so close to our hearts and being.Sky gazing