Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hard Boiled

Posted by Isabel Bennett and Lily Baumgart

Monthly Fan Fic Special (January)

Sherlock has been pecking at the avocado and eggs that John had served him earlier when he realizes that the wife had green fingerprint on her wrist. He smiles wolfishly and leaps nimbly from the smooth leather chair. “John!” he yells in the general vicinity of the kitchen. John appears in the doorway, looking alarmed. His expression hardens as soon as he notices the uneaten food lying innocuously on the side table. Sherlock hardly notices, caught up in his rapid deductions. “The wife took her own daughter! She’s about to get a divorce and wants to prove that her husband is not fit for childcare! Call Lestrade…. I thought something was off about her shoe size….” John simply juts out his chin, no compliments for the great detective.
Sherlock doesn’t even notice John’s lack of affection for him at the moment because he’s so caught up in his own brilliance. The air is practically full of the great detectives pride as he saunters over to John who is sitting on the couch. “What do you think of that one?” He asks as he sits down next to John.
“Nothing too impressive,” John replies as he scoots further away from Sherlock. He really was pissed now.
“What the hell is up with you?” Sherlock practically shouts.
"I'm surprised you don't already know, Mr. Detective," he retorts as he stares coldly at the eggs that are still on the table, untouched.
Sherlock sprung from the couch to examine the cold eggs. His eyes fly across every inch of the yellow food in front of him before he peers across the plate and back at an indignant John Watson.

"What's wrong with them?" he mutters in an inquisitive tone.

"What's wrong with them?!" John asks in bewilderment, "They're still THERE!"

God, Sherlock hated how John often ended his sentences by yelling the last word. Why would he do that? What's the purpose? He sounded fatuous. However, it was apparent that John was extremely offended by the mere existence of the eggs and they needed to be destroyed immediately. In attempts to win the army doctors acceptance and love again Sherlock hastily scoops the plate up and shoves them into the trash can in the kitchen.

"Better, dear?" Sherlock asks with one final flick of avocado into the bin. Somehow his voice conveys sarcasm, accomplishment, and exasperation all at once.

"You were supposed to eat them," John mumbles defeatedly, "It's apart of your new paleo diet. You complete idiot."

"I do have to delete some things. You know that. And this is just so foolish. And difficult. It's almost as bad as not smoking." Sherlock finally offers as some sort of screwed up resolution that John always ends up accepting because Sherlock is a hopeless husband.

Game Day

Posted by Amy Baranski

I'm just writing this blog post so I don't get fined.

Wrote this the other day.

Posted by Melissa Baumgart

Never give up. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Found my glow

Posted by Melissa Baumgart

I reached into my purse to clear out loose change so I could empty it into the change jar that my oldest uses to take the bus to school every day, since she had yet again lost her Orca card (for non-Seattleites, bus pass).  I gasped loud enough to startle my kids as I saw what I had pulled out.  It was a small, round, metal pin that I had never seen before.  I have no idea where it came from, but there it was in my had a heart on it and the word "Glow."

It was during my 60 day challenge in August/September that I first found my glow.  It must have been a day in September, because I know it was toward the end of the 60 days, and I know it was a Thursday night class at 7pm with Gary.  I was on my mat, in one of my usual spots in the middle rows on the right side of the room.  It was a very focused class for me, no fidgeting and just staring at my own reflection in the mirror.  There was very little darting around the room with my eyes.  Laser beam focus. 

Then it happened.  As I looked at my reflection in the mirror, I saw a yellow glow all around my body.  I thought maybe the heat was getting to me and I might be about to pass out...but, no, I remained standing and conscious.  The glow was around me for the rest of the class.  Each pose had its particular struggle, and that was OK, I realized the poses aren't meant to be without effort and sometimes pain. In between poses, I had the most peaceful savasanas I had ever experienced.  The whole class, I kinda felt like I was floating.

After the 60 day challenge, when I dove back into junk food, wine and no yoga, Amy and I often joked about how I lost my glow.  Then one day another friend reminded me that even when it's cloudy, the sun is still up there, behind the clouds.  And that even if my mind felt cloudy and my heart felt heavy with rain about to stream down my cheeks, my glow was still inside of me. 

Finding the glow pin reminded me that it's always been there, my glow is always with me.  Even when life is a struggle and sometimes feels painful, maybe it's not all meant to be easy, and we just need to find savasanas along the way until the clouds once again part and you see your own glow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pregnant Melinda Strikes Back

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Remember Pregnant Melinda?  I do.  I'll never forget the burn of humiliation on my cheeks or how deep I had to dig into my shallow emotional reserves to not fall to pieces in the pool that day during water aerobics.  When the instructor asked me if I was pregnant, into the microphone for the whole pool to hear, I felt I had hit a new low.  Since adolescence I have been hearing people either call me fat or ask me if I was pregnant.  And there I was, in a water aerobics class trying to be healthy and fit, and yet, meeting up with the same old comments.
03/12 "Pregnant Amy and Pregnant Melinda"

One of my current jobs is at a maternity store.  Last Sunday, I greeted a mother and daughter as they entered the store.  The mother said, "We need to find my daughter some maternity shirts.  She just isn't fitting into her tops anymore."  I stepped out from behind the counter to assist her and her daughter, "Of course, we have all of our maternity clothes right over here."  The mother looked me up and down and said, "Looks like you need one too," with a smile.  "NO," I said sternly and with force, as I continued to walk toward her, "I am NOT pregnant."  She continued to smile and pretended the whole thing never happened.  I spent the next 30 minutes helping her daughter find maternity shirts, exhibiting nothing but exemplary customer service.  I think they spent a few hundred dollars. 

While it did affect me, and I have shared the story with friends in a "Can you believe that?" kind of way, I did notice a huge difference.  I felt bold.  I felt fierce.  I did not feel small and less than everyone else just because those words were spoken at me.  I did not cower and want to hide with humiliation.  In that moment, I chose to stand tall and continue to do my job.  Sure, it has hurt my feelings since then, and occasionally added fuel to my fire of self loathing as I look into the mirror...but I can tell that I have changed since that last time I was called pregnant in the pool at water aerobics.  I still carry that inner dialogue of being the fat one and looking pregnant, but it's quieter and less incessant. 

I notice the contrast most in the yoga studio.  In yoga, you stare at your own reflection for 90 minutes.  This can be a challenge for those of us with body image issues.  The bright lights, the tight clothes, the sea of tiny women in the room seems to have no horizon at times.  I might start off class, looking around the room, comparing my body to others, feeling like the "big girl" in the back of the class.  But by the time I have rocked my way through half-moon, I feel strong and confident, and my size doesn't matter in the least. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Back of the class

By Amy Baranski

Gratuitous yoga pose while on vacation once upon a time.
Wow 17 months since my last solo blog postIt feels strange to be back on this blogging platform.

I'm writing while my son works at the kitchen sink rinsing out his favorite household item, the Vitamix. Standing atop a wobbly chair circa 1890 high on his tiptoes, sometimes one-legged to maneuver the faucet. The water gets really hot too. Danger abounds. I'm so impressed by his natural ability to find his edge and the focus and persistence he maintains there. He always seems to push further exploring his environment and his place in it. I want to be just like him!


After a two-year hiatus I returned to my Bikram practice almost a year ago. It has deepened so much of my life I'm extremely grateful to have returned. A few nights ago a student asked me why I always practice in the back of class. For the record I haven't always practiced in the back row, but recently I do place my mat in the same general area. This (ahem) happens to be in the back, under a fan, near a door. I rambled off something about not feeling prepared and following yoga etiquette, you know, reserving the front for the students with better postures, endurance, and such. The student gave me a "yeah, whatever" smile. I wasn't sure how to take that, and I couldn't believe I got called out.

Of course I obsessed. Why am I practicing in the back? I came up with a whole list of reasons!

I'm trying to stay anonymous. I feel vulnerable in the front. I have less self-criticism when I see my reflection from afar. (We practice in front of big mirrors; part of the Bikram practice is looking at yourself). I really haven't felt prepared lately. There was that one yoga party I went to...and I'm not entirely certain what I said to some other yoga you know giving that whole experience some breath. I get to look at the photos of Bikram and Yogananda during Savasana, and you know, that's cool. I've been ok with feeling comfortable. This trend started after a consecutive 60 day yoga challenge and I just needed a break from being a "front row person". Yeah, so that's why.

The next night I moved to second row. (The front was filled).

It wasn't a class without many personal savasanas, but I worked harder. I felt more uncomfortable, but that felt good. I experienced more mental chatter, but I brought intention to my thoughts. I'm not sure where I'll practice tonight. I don't want a plan, but I don't want to fall back into the familiar either.

Maybe I'll just make things really uncomfortable and ask a front row person if I can take their spot. I can say something like, "You know, Bikram says we're supposed to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable."

The lesson I'm learning here is that discovery is all about rearranging. My son is constantly rearranging. Putting the top on the Vitamix then taking it off. Placing something in the blender and taking it out. Each time he discovers and delights in something new. I think I'll take his lead.

half-way up the mountain

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Before the breakdown on the mountain.

I woke up this morning feeling renewed and motivated, sort of.  I described it to Amy as the feeling I had of being half-way up that mountain when we were backpacking. Tears and mosquitoes covering my face, the weight of my backpack feeling heavier and heavier with each sob, the mountain steep ahead of me and nightfall quickly upon me...I HAD to keep going.  I had to find something inside of me to overcome my intense desire to give up.  Life has felt dark the past couple days, mostly my own negative thoughts and perceptions being the ever growing steep mountain terrain ahead.  Today I will find that small bit of strength inside to keep going, to change my attitude and keep on climbing out of the darkness.

Healthival Update:

I started my Healthival a little early, so I'm a few weeks in.  The first two weeks, I went to yoga 4 days each week.  It felt good to be back, sweating in the heat, stretching my body and my mind.  Even just typing that makes me realize how much I'm missing it since I have not been to practice for over a week.  Tomorrow I will return to yoga and my intention is to go at least 4 times a week for the rest of Healthival, and through February, until our 30 day challenge in March. 

I have been keeping up with Paleo, mostly. 

I drink half and half in my coffee every morning, because me, it's not worth drinking without half and half.  I keep a half gallon in the fridge, and I'm the only coffee drinker in my house.  I once quit coffee for a couple months and when I went back I decided I would never make that mistake again. 

I was out on Sunday night and was offered pizza.  I declined.  After a drink at this amazing little speakeasy style bar in Belltown, Bathtub Gin, I decided to indulge in what was touted by my date as "the best pizza in Seattle" at Rocco's.  It was a delicious slice...crispy crust and light sauce, but I still prefer the atmosphere and spicy NY slice at Big Mario's in Capitol Hill.  I didn't feel guilty at all for going off paleo for that slice. 

I've also decided that I'm calling corn a vegetable, and damn it, I can eat popcorn!  Amy told me last night that corn isn't a vegetable, it's a grain.  (I looked it up and the UC Cooperative says that it is classified by botanists as a fruit.)  I still feel crushed by that news.  My whole childhood I was taught that corn was a vegetable, and in fact, for kids it is often a favorite.  Chosen to be eaten first above green veggie counterparts like broccoli and spinach.  Oh well.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I found my old crock pot underneath my counter cupboard.  I really need to organize that area.  After purchasing a pork loin roast at the co-op, I decided to throw it in the slow cooker overnight and see what happened.

I added in two celery stalks (minced), half of a yellow onion (minced), two chunks of fresh ginger (whole), and three garlic cloves (peeled and crushed).  After dumping in the pork, I covered it with 12 oz. of orange juice and about 8 oz. of water.  I finished it off with 2 Tbsp of chili powder and a few squirts of Bragg's liquid aminos.

This morning, the pork all fell apart without any effort and it tastes amazing!  Now, I just need to make a crunchy slaw and it'll be the perfect lunch.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Simple. Paleo and Yoga

Posted by Melissa Baumgart

Dinner.  1/4/15
My focus for Healthival is a nod toward simplicity, and not taking on too much.  I am eating paleo, which I have been doing since December 29th, and have been back to yoga on a regular basis this past week.  My main goal is to cultivate a healthy mindset in which I can grow a foundation for a lifestyle that supports moderation.  I can be so "all or nothing".  Shit, I recently went from practicing 60 straight days of yoga to 90 days of hardly any yoga and seeing how many toxins (junk food and booze) could I shove into my body.  The pendulum does swing. 

It was with that in mind that I chose to sleep in today and not go to yoga this morning before work.  I went four times this week and was up late last night setting intentions for the new year with a couple girlfriends.  When I finally fell asleep after reading in bed, it was past 1 o'clock in the morning and I decided that I would be OK with not going to yoga.  That's huge for me, I would usually berate myself for such choices.  Shame, my steady and constant companion upon a typical Healthival journey.  I want this time to be a different practice.  Sure, I might get it wrong, but that's fine.  I'm doing it in a new way, stretching my boundaries and seeing what new possibilities lie ahead. 

I leave this post with an Ernest Hemingway quote that relates to morals (that which is concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character).  This definition can be the very thing that sometimes bring me to a state of all or nothing.  I just finished my first book of 2015, about Hemingway and his wives, and I learned a lot about life and myself.  Hence, this all feels very fitting, indeed. 

“So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.” from Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway.

I will definitely consider this tomorrow when making my Healthival choices.

Friday, January 2, 2015


Posted by Amy Baranski and  Melissa Baumgart

Our first month for the blog this year is a term we came up with called "Healthival!"  It's like the debauchery of the Carnival celebration, but the other side of the coin...a dedication to our health.  Through patience, self-control, courage and self-reliance we will find our power and a more clear view of ourselves with love and compassion.  Here's to our health! 

We got the band back together!

Posted by Amy Baranski and Melissa Baumgart

WE'RE BAAAAACCCCKKKK!!!! And we're doing the blog again. Think of our last goodbye and the time away from here as a sabbatical. When we left the blog, Melissa found this fitting quote by Alan Cohen:
"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.  But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.  There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power." 
Honestly we can't remember where she got the quote from or who Alan Cohen is but over a year later his words are more resonant than ever. The movement in our lives has called us back to this blog bringing us closer to a sense of security that is deep and profound. 

We think it's pretty courageous to start something again that we said goodbye to (or really stupid). But what the hell? We think it's the courageous choice, just for the record.

So what happened?  We'll let you know soon, when you all become loyal readers of this blog.