Friday, April 22, 2011

Ukrainian Easter and More on Ethical Eating

11-075 $65, originally uploaded by katyegg.

A few Life as a Human articles for you. The first is my musings on Ukrainian Easter traditions and a bit of holiday nostalgia. The second is an article written by another LAAH contributer who is responding to my article "How to Save a Cow". It's a great continuation of the ethical food discussion and worth a read.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy Easter

Happy Easter, originally uploaded by Amaranth Road Studio.

100% wool needle felted bunny. After I made the felted eggs things got a bit out of hand and I ended up with an Easter Bunny to go with them.

Don't Beat Yourself Up

I’ve been getting bored with my work-outs and because I’m bored I’m getting lazy. I head over to the gym, I do a bit of cardio on the stepper or the elliptical or the treadmill but I don’t push myself too hard. I’ve been feeling like I need to challenge myself, push my body a bit harder, try something new to shake things up. So I went to a kick boxing class last Wednesday on my lunch, and perhaps got more than I bargained for.

There were three of us in the class and the instructor was a huge muscled man who looked like he could crush me with only the downward force of his eyelid. He taught us some basic punching moves, some basic kicking moves and then had us attack our invisible opponents. The air and I had quite the sparring match. Maybe I needed to blow off some steam, I don’t know, but I found myself really getting into it. Some animal part of me became unhinged and I punched the air with everything I had, I gritted my teeth, formed my hands into tight fists, and cut loose. I was panting, sweating, feeling the muscles in my arms and shoulders protest, but I kept hitting. I was, at one moment, described by the instructor as “small but vicious.”

I think in the end the air won. Who knew that punching and kicking air could be so dreadfully hard on the body? I’ve been broken for a week. I woke up the next day feeling like I’d been mauled by a bear. Putting on my shirt was painful because raising my arms above my head used my punching muscles and they weren’t in the least bit happy about it. And yet, after the class I had felt the endorphin rush. I felt energized, maybe a little crazed, but lighter. I felt like I had let go of some huge tension, some heavy albatross, some hoarded anxiety. So even though I was STILL sore a week later I went back to the kick boxing class.

Things were different this time. This time we weren’t just punching the air. This time we were instructed to kick our classmates who would hold up blockers so as not to take the full brunt of the violence. I wasn’t so sure about that. Kicking the air was one thing, but I wasn’t too keen on kicking the middle aged man that I was teamed up with. And it seemed he wasn’t too keen on kicking me. While the instructor paired up with a guy in the class who seemed to have more kick boxing experience and they wailed on each with furious abandon my partner hit me with kicks immediately followed by “sorry” “sorry” “sorry”. I kicked him back and tried to avoid missing the blocker and actually kicking him in the face. Eventually I was told to switch partners and my new opponent was instructed to “really” kick me. “She has to learn to take a hit” said the instructor. “Hit a little harder!” So I found myself holding a padded blocker while some guy I had never met kicked me and I attempted to “take a hit” and not be a wimp about the whole thing. “Harder!” said the instructor, and the guy hit me solidly. “Whoa! Okay, maybe not that hard!” said the instructor. I began to wonder what I had signed on for here though I got through the class essentially uninjured. I have a few small bruises and a few sore muscles but otherwise I’m okay.

What I’ve learned is that I like the discipline of kick-boxing. I like facing off against the air, letting out some aggression, pushing my body to its limit, and becoming more aware of my limbs flying through space. But I’m not actually keen on hitting people, even with a blocker in the way. This might be the end of my kick boxing career. Thankfully the weather is getting good enough to take up cycling again for the season. With any luck that will result in fewer bruises.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Felted Eggs

felted eggs, originally uploaded by Amaranth Road Studio.

A trip to Birkeland Brothers on Main Street yesterday resulted in a bag of stunning spring coloured wool roving. A friend and I spent a lovely afternoon making needle felted Easter eggs. I'm tempted to make a whole bunch more just so I can use more of the awesome teal wool.

A hint for getting the egg shape: form your wool roving into a rough oval then roll the egg around in your hands like you would clay. The heat will felt the wool and also create a more tapered shape.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to Save a Cow

Today I'm on Life as a Human talking about meat-eating, animal ethics, and how you can fight against factory farming without necessarily becoming a strict vegan or vegetarian.