Bikram Yoga– PROGRESS!

Bikram Yoga Progress Picture 5

Okay, I’m about to do something rather brave and post silly pictures of myself on my blog. Who knew that talking about THIS stuff would be harder than What I Wore Wednesday posts? Seriously! If you are a professional yogi, please, save your eyes and stop reading now (I am a complete newbie, and up until 2 weeks ago had never even attempted a yoga pose, much less gone to a class).

But I just have to tell you all that Bikram Yoga is FANTASTIC. I’ve now gone for 2 weeks, 7 times, and I’ve already seen such a crazy amount of improvement.

Exhibit #1: Standing bow pose above (sometimes called The Dancer, I think?) is one of my favorites, and I cannot believe that I can not only hold this for nearly a minute without wavering, but that when I’m warmed up (aka, in a 105 degree studio, not my air conditioned living room), I can pull my leg high enough that I see my entire foot over my head in the mirror! The eventual goal is to have a completely straight upper leg that runs in one straight line with the bottom one (yeah, we’ll see about that…) You can see what it’s supposed to look like here.

Exhibit #2: I tell you the truth that just TWO WEEKS ago I could not even touch my feet or ankles, I was so inflexible. Now? It’s a complete cinch to touch my flat palms onto the floor. I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s a crazy amount of flexibility gained in just 7 classes!

Bikram Yoga Progress Picture 4

Exhibit #3: The actual pose is supposed to look like this. Much harder to do when you’re absolutely soaked in your own sweat (the grossest part about hot yoga, but you do get “used” to it).Bikram Yoga progress Picture 6

Exhibit #4: Okay, I was close to deleting this one, just because the perfectionist in me is mad that my standing knee wavered slightly right when the camera took, causing it to bend slightly and shoot my other leg up at too high of an angle. UGH, there’s my perfectionism, rearing it’s ugly head. But on the first class, I couldn’t even get close to straightening my leg, much less lift it up. The goal is to have one’s head touching the knee and then hold for about a minute (seems like eternity at the time though). You can see here what it’s supposed to look like.Bikram Yoga Progress Picture 3

Exhibit #5: Did I mention flexibility? The first class, I couldn’t reach my toes or bend at all. Hard to believe that was just 2 weeks ago.Bikram Yoga Progress Picture 2This one’s tough because it looks completely ridiculous from the outside, until one realizes how relaxing it is. Eventually my knees will be flexible enough for me to lay my entire back on the floor, arms folded over my head. Eventually. Haha. We’ll see.Bikram Progress Picture 1

I hope my testimony here inspires all of you to go out and try Bikram! I’ve already noticed so many of the benefits, including the fact that my back hardly hurts at all anymore (I used to wake up in pain several times a night), and my digestion issues have improved a TON (several of these poses are supposed to help with indigestion).

Most studios offer completely cheap trial months (mine was $25 for a month of unlimited), and it would give you an idea for whether this is something you like. I never would’ve known how much progress someone like me with zero flexibility could make in just half a month. If I can do it, so can you! Now go get em’, Tiger! 😉

Married for 8 Years (!)

wedding 31

On one hand, it’s hard to believe that Jesse and I have been married for 8 years (together for 11!). And then, it also feels like longer than that. In my mind, we’ve always been together.

My entire adult life has been spent together with Jesse. We started dating when I was 17, just 6 weeks into my first year of college at Biola University. Sure, I have a few stories of going on a couple initial dates with other guys, a few GYRADS here and there. And then there were 2 miserable weeks in which we were broken up (thanks for that smart idea, 18 year old self!). I used to regret that I never had a chance to “grow” on my own, that I never had a chance to grow into my own “person” before starting a relationship with someone 3 years older.

2004, right after I turned 18

2004, right after I turned 18

Looking back, however, I just feel grateful. I’ve made no secret of the fact that at 17 years old, I was not headed down a great path. I’d just gotten done with a toxic relationship, one in which I was reeling from for months. I was desperate for attention. I was self-obsessed, drowning in my own grief and issues. It was a time when all I knew were heartbroken quotes. I had an on and off again eating disorder that was waiting in the wings every time my perfectionism reared it’s ugly head. I was already in hundreds of dollars of credit card debt due to my out of control spending habits.

Looking back, I think that God loved me so much that he knew I needed someone to help. Someone other than my parents that I would listen to. Someone that I would admire enough that I would want him to respect me back. Someone who loved me enough to risk my wrath and help me to change. Someone I would want to change for.

When we were still just friends, I remember the first day I knew that Jesse would always be my safe place, the one that God had put on this earth for me to run to. I had just gotten one of “those” phone calls, where something tragic has occurred and you know your life will never be the same. One of my best friends back home had died, and I was reeling in shock. Jesse had also just found out, and he immediately ran all over campus looking for me. We saw each other from across the lawn, and he held me while I cried and cried. The world was reeling around, but the moment he held me the spinning stopped and everything slowed back down.

When I look back, I see how very different my life would’ve been without Jesse, and it scares me. Sure, I might have figured it all out eventually, but I have seen many who are still miserable and trying, well into their 30s. I am glad that my path was different– shorter time in which to change, more intense, loud arguing (anyone who has witnessed a Jesse/Kelly fight knows what I’m talking about!). But, in many respects, it got done. All of the hard work Jesse and I did those first tumultuous years of dating paid off.

If I hadn’t learned what I did, I don’t think I would’ve had the patience to parent a teenage girl at the ripe old age of 26. Or four boys at 27. Or move across the country THREE times. Or endure a grueling house hunt/buying experience. Or support him through grad school.

God used all of that arguing to grow me into someone He wanted to use for His kingdom. I know for a fact that Jesse was the instrument by which God fashioned me. I learned to take serious things lightly, and I learned to care deeper about those things which endure. I learned how to protect someone’s heart other than my own. I learned what it means to address those deep and scary flaws within the context of a loving friendship.

Thank you, Jesse, for being the best friend that I can share everything with, good, bad, gross, hysterical, tragic and momentous. You are a wonderful father to our two boys, and you are the spiritual head of our home. I am so grateful that you found my messed up teenage self and decided to look past all that and love me. Thank you for being a safe place for me to run to.

Jesse and Kelly Big Sur 2014 washed colors

Moving In– Dallas

Not our house, har-har, but this is what many of them look like just a few blocks from us

Not our house, har-har, but this is just down the street from us behind Jesse’s new school

It’s now been a week since we flew into Dallas. Jesse first brought me to see our new apartment last Saturday, and I have to confess, I was a little disappointed– not because I didn’t like the place. It was just filthy! While the last repair guy to come out did redo the countertops like he was asked, he also didn’t notice that it had been raining. There were muddy boot prints smeared ALL over the floors, bathtubs, you name it! Also, he didn’t cover the bathroom sinks when he sprayed the counters, so they were covered with a gritty gravel substance. The sinks were also streaked with rust, the broken sunroom door that they had promised they would replace was, in fact, still there, and the dishwasher looked like it was from the 1950s. There was someone else’s old truck filled with empty beer bottles parked in our carport out back (turns out, it’s our neighbor’s deadbeat son). We didn’t even have a clicker to open the gate to our carport (or the key to the community pool, but that’s small potatoes for now).

I called our property manager, and he sent someone out on Monday. And someone again on Tuesday. Things still weren’t getting done, however. It was as though they just needed time to assess.

Then, the ancient dishwasher actually broke. I was actually grateful for this one– our fridge is kick-A awesome, since we had to buy it ourselves and I found my dream one on Craigslist (new in the box with the warranty still good!). And the stove was also brand new. So I was actually thrilled that they would now have to replace the dishwasher, which they did on Wednesday.

But then we couldn’t hook up our new washer and dryer because the old hoses were still attached and were too rusty to remove.

And then we lost hot water because the water heater thermostat broke.

So Thursday morning, I sent out a stern message to our property manager, explaining that we’re reasonable people but that we’re starting to get annoyed. I explained that this was Jesse’s first day of work and he didn’t even get a hot shower. And he didn’t have clean clothes. And he didn’t have clean dishes without hot water.

He was very apologetic and said it would all get done tomorrow. Repair guy #1 came at 11:30 am and replaced the sunroom door (which may sound cosmetic, but it was missing the outside handle and had a 2 inch gap under the door, letting in all sorts of bugs and hot TX air). Repair guy #2 came at 1pm and fixed the water heater and hooked up our washer and dryer. Someone from the HOA office called me at 2pm about our clicker for the carport.

Someone’s supposed to come this afternoon and replace the sinks and faucets in the bathrooms, so it looks like the end is in sight. This is definitely a far cry from when we used to live in Euless, a newer suburb, with apartment complexes only 10-15 years old. I have to remind myself that we now live in the city of Dallas, where demand is high and buildings are older (we got this place before it even hit the market, and we had to turn in the application same day in order to get it).

But, there’s a huge plus side, one that I’ve been becoming more and more thrilled about as the week’s gone on. We now live in the city, a 2 minute drive (literally) from Jesse’s job. We don’t have to drive 20-25 minutes into the heart of downtown, we’re 5-7 minutes away. We are close to everything, getting to know the city in a whole new way now that we have to live here. The ethos is much different than in the suburbs, and I have to admit that I kind of love it.

Hollywood Hills Dallas

In a few years, we’d like to buy a home like this in the Santa Monica/Hollywood Hills section of Dallas. Hard to believe that homes like this are actually in our price range!

I’m also struck with how neat the city of Dallas really is. Honestly, if there were a few mountains nearby and the weather was a bit less extreme during July/August/January/February, the cost of living here would be sky high. As it is, certain sections of the city are more expensive than homes CA, they are so beautiful and sought after. The Museum of Art is now free, along with a Holocaust museum, and a gigantic zoo, all within 10-15 minutes of us. The public transportation has tripled in size since we left here 3 years ago. As we drove through downtown, I saw at least a dozen new buildings and skyscrapers I had never seen before because they’d just been built. The freeway even goes underground now at one point because they built a giant park over it! We especially love the Santa Monica/Hollywood Hills region, right to the east of downtown.

klyde-warren-park

When we left 3 years ago, In n Out and Trader Joe’s were the stuff of legends. Now, there’s at least 8 of both within close driving distance. These are the important things, right?

All in all, I’m glad that we get to live in such a cool city, even if it means I have to call out the repair team more often 🙂

My Life Is Full of Drama (or, how moving is hard)

Dallas Townhome front

For some reason, Jesse and I do NOT have an easy time moving. We never have. I don’t know if we’re cursed, if we are picky, or if we aim too high, but for some reason, we always wind up in the most weird and stressful moving situations.

Remember in 2007, when we had to live in a drug-infested motel because our apartment wasn’t ready yet?

Or how I found out I was pregnant and Jesse totaled our car 5 days before we moved back to CA?

Or how about our horrific house-hunting saga where we endured close to 10 different escrows?

I don’t know why I expected this move to be any different. I mean, I have been preparing for this thing ALL frickin summer, trying my darndst to break the cycle. In some ways, moving so slowly over the course of 3 months was good because we got to say goodbye in stages. In other ways, however, it’s been like ripping off a bandaid in the slowest and most excruciating way possible.

But I should have known. Moving, despite how much ANYONE prepares, is always crummy. We rely on our home for safety when the storms blow. What to do when your home is in boxes, you can’t find anything, and you work sun-up to sun-down, dealing with countless frustrations and set backs?

Jesse always says that the only difference between moving and a bar fight is that at least at the end of a bar fight, you know where your stuff is.

Anyways, back to our moving drama. Since we had decided to rent our house, Jesse and I decided we were okay renting in TX, since we are building equity somewhere. We figured renting would be less stressful than buying.

Read: Less stressful. So, instead of it feeling like a crowbar to the face, it just felt like someone breaking our toes.

After weighing the pros and cons of lots of places, we decided to rent sight-unseen. I had read the reviews, all of which stated that the complex was older but well maintained. We aren’t familiar with the area of Dallas we’re moving to, but I’ve been assiduously checking the crime reports for months and I felt okay about this neighborhood. The 5 minute proximity to Jesse’s job and 2 of our best friends helped the deal too. Not to mention the fact that it was a dream come true for our budget (around $900/month for a 3 bedroom, utilities mostly paid).

When Jesse arrived in Dallas at the beginning of last week, it was almost 2 days before he could check out the complex. Mind you, we’d already paid a couple hundred of dollars to secure it, but we hadn’t “signed our names on the dotted line”, so to speak.

He hated it. Hate hate hated it. When he called me, his exact words were, “It’s not about to fall down, but…”

Maybe this part of the story would be better told in pictures.

A picture from the website

A picture from the website

lakefront villas 2

What Jesse saw when we got there

I knew that if Jesse was saying it was bad, it had to BA-HA-AD. If the roles were reversed? Perhaps not, but Jesse’s a go-with-the-flow guy, and for him to knowingly walk away from something we’d already set up and put money down on (not to mention, we’d already hooked up the utilities!), it had to mean it wasn’t going to work.

So, instead of spending all of his time and effort getting acquainted with his new job, Jesse had to drive around Dallas for 3 days, looking for new places for us to live, with less than a week until the boys and I were due to fly out. I was worried sick on this end in CA, spending all day on the phone calling places.

I called about one particular house, and a realtor/property manager picked up the phone. Right off the bat, I asked if the property was even available any more. She said, “Yes, it is, but why are you asking these questions? A good realtor would be able to help you with all of this.”

Silence on my end.

She continued: “Do you HAVE a realtor?”

“No.”

“Do you want some help?” she asked.

“YESSSS!!!!” I half sobbed, and then I proceeded to start crying on the phone.

Within 3 hours, she had already found us the perfect place and had driven Jesse to the bank to get the deposit money and sign the lease. BOOM.

And that, my friends, is the dramatic story of how we ended up with a 2 bedroom town home with nearly the same square footage as our house in CA, but half the monthly price of our mortgage. The best part is that it’s only a 2 minute drive from Jesse’s work (around a 20 minute walk, if the weather is permitting!).  It’s on a quiet and safe culdesac, and the HOA pays for a pool and a playground! There are even hardwood floors! 🙂 But my FAVORITE part is that there is a large sunroom in the back, something I’ve always wanted in a home. It’s right off the kitchen, so it will make the perfect playroom for the boys.

The boys and I drive to LA tomorrow to pick up Jesse from the airport, where we will then go to his brother’s wedding and fly out to Dallas on Friday. Pray for a safe and uneventful last chapter of our move!