Resolution #best09

This is the last of the Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. I finished 16 out of 31 prompts. Not too shabby considering I found this challenge on December 27th!  Here’s to better planning next year.

Taking the time to reflect on the past year in this way has helped me see what a great year it was. I blame all of you for that!

December 31 Resolution you wish you’d stuck with. (You know, there’s always next year…)

I’m not a big resolution maker. At least not a public one. I, like most people, failed to keep them year after year, so I eventually stopped making them.

Until last year.

By the end of December last year, I’d had a really good run of consistent yoga classes and I was feeling amazing. I decided that I would try to do some yoga every day in January. I figured I would start small – just a month – to see how it went. I made a spread sheet to keep track of my progress and did pretty well for the first few weeks until I got a virus,  broke my resolution and abandoned the project.

The second part of my secret non-resolution project was a bit more successful. After years of spending all my music hours almost exclusively on The Old97’s and Rhett Miller solo albums (Best Night Out and Best Album of 2009 – oh look! 2 more prompts just answered!), I decided to use January to expand my musical horizons.

During my Old97’s fast I listened to a new album a day. New didn’t necessarily mean newly released, it meant a different album everyday in January. I made it farther than with the yoga, however I still didn’t manage new music everyday.

This year, I’ve decided to try both these projects again(without the 97s fast!), but this time for the whole year.

In 2010, I am going to do some sort of  yoga and listen to new music everyday.

Please leave comments about classes I should go to, teachers you find inspiring, poses you love and music I shouldn’t miss. Hell, if you come across a book you can’t stop reading, be sure to tell me about that too!

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut and I’m counting on all of you to help me diversify.

YOGA! cluster #best09

For me, 2009 was the year of coming out of the yoga closet. Before this year, I’d been quietly practicing on and off for the last decade or so. In thinking what changed for me, I’d have to say it was my changing relationship with my favorite yoga studio, It’s All Yoga, in Sacramento.

In 2009, I really made IAY my second home. It all started mid 2008 when I began my career as a Desk Diva and that summer the studio relocated 6 blocks from my house. Those two things changed everything!

Suddenly I was able to go to as many classes as I wanted with all the amazing, inspiring and let’s be honest – funny! – teachers and that made me want to share all of the yoga yummy-ness with everyone I know. I couldn’t keep yoga to myself any longer!

Workshops, partner classes, book club, movie night, creek cleanup, birthday parties, fundraisers, teacher training…. I did it all in 2009.

Creek Clean

Creek Clean - the kill

The following are a cluster of Best of 2009 Blog Challenge prompts about yoga, yoga, yoga.

December 6 Workshop or conference. Was there a conference or workshop you attended that was especially beneficial? Where was it? What did you learn?

The Serene Heart with Mary Paffard – Working with upekkha, or equanimity, in all aspects of yoga. I wrote about this workshop in my Not Losing Your Marbles During the Holidays post.

The morning of Mary’s workshop I posted my Yoga Manifesto – Part 1 – REST.


December 8 Moment of peace. An hour or a day or a week of solitude. What was the quality of your breath? The state of your mind? How did you get there?

Short answer. Yoga!

December 9 Challenge. Something that really made you grow this year. That made you go to your edge and then some. What made it the best challenge of the year for you?

Yoga school while teaching. See the Saturation Point.

December 18 Shop. Online or offline, where did you spend most of your mad money this year?

Here’s a partial sampling of the yoga workshops and special classes I attended this year:

  • New Year’s Day with Michelle Marlahan
  • Valentine’s Day Partners with Michelle Marlahan
  • Earth Day partners with Michelle Marlahan
  • Chakras Workshop with Madeleine Lohman
  • Tapas with Mary Paffard
  • Yoga for Holiday Stress with Madeleine Lohman
  • Serene Heart Mary Paffard 
  • Anatomy Parts I and II with Baxter Bell

Valentine's Day

December 24 Learning experience. What was a lesson you learned this year that changed you?

Learning to teach yoga. Really to share what I love with others. That’s what this blog is all about.



December 25 Gift. What’s a gift you gave yourself this year that has kept on giving?

Short answer: Yoga!




Tea #best09

December 16 Tea of the year. I can taste my favorite tea right now. What’s yours?

Bliss from Temple Fine Coffee & Tea.

Bliss = peppermint tea, soy milk, coconut milk, and honey. Plus I think they sprinkle it with magic fairy dust just to make sure. It’s tastes like a warm Andes mint. MMmmmmm.

It’s all in the name people.


I am still playing catch up on the Best of 2009 Challenge.

Tomorrow is the last day and so I’ll do some posts together and then the final. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these as much as I have writing them. I’ve been really inspired and touched by some of the posts I’ve read from other people doing the Challenge. You can find more of them on Gwen Bell’s website.

Ad #best09

December 30 Ad.

What advertisement made you think this year

This lululemon ad caught my attention. I wanted to know what it said.

It didn’t make me buy the product, but it did make me stop and think.

Some people have very strong feelings about this company.

I don’t.

Mostly because I don’t wear fancy yoga clothes. I don’t think they’re necessary in order to have a yoga practice. I can’t really afford expensive yoga wear (I’d rather travel) and I’m pretty sure their clothes wouldn’t flatter my more mature womanly curves.

In any case, this ad made me take a look.

Laugh #best09

December 29 Laugh.

What was your biggest belly laugh of the year?

I have a really funny husband, so I get to laugh everyday.

Dude’s laugh even makes me laugh.

Lucky girl.

New Person #best09

Summer Al aka Birdman

Tams n' Summer Al


December 20 New person. He came into your life and turned it upside down. He went out of his way to provide incredible customer service. Who is your unsung hero of 2009?

Let me start with this. I am not a baby crazy woman. I don’t look longingly at other people’s babies or talk to pregnant strangers.

Yes, I like kids. I’m a teacher for god’s sake, but I’m not koo-koo for babies.

Until I met Alex.

Summer Al.

Aka Birdman.

I first laid eyes on Summer Al outside the Sacramento Amtrak station. It was about a 1,000 degrees and Jojos was  trying to keep the sun off of her tiny, ginger-haired British baby boy. He was tucked under her arm in the shade of the overhang like a little loaf of bread.

It was love at first sight.

I took him from Jo right away in an effort to be “helpful” while she and Julian clicked in car seats, loaded luggage and corralled their toddler. And pretty much for the next two weeks we were together, you could find the Birdman in my arms.

It wasn’t difficult, he didn’t weight much – hence the name. He was Mr. Easy Breezy, second-born kid. Who was this new person always holding me? Who cares?

I taught him a new game – Cyclops. I would take off my glasses, we would put our foreheads together, look into each others eyes and then shake our heads back and forth really fast blurring our vision. Then we’d laugh our asses off.

This kid was funny.

Birdman also became my dining companion. He wasn’t that interested in eating, which explained his bird-like physique, but when he did eat anything his pace matched mine. Nice and slow. We’d sit at the dinner table long after everyone else had finished and slowly make our way through our dinner like we didn’t have anything else in the world to do.

During our trip up the coast, whenever I wasn’t driving I sat myself strategically so I could watch Summer Al’s every move. There was just something about that kid.

When the time came for Summer Al to return to home, I cried.

Book(s) #best09

December 4th’s prompt:

 Book. What book – fiction or non – touched you? Where were you when you read it? Have you bought and given away multiple copies?

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane touched my heart this year. Although it wasn’t published in 2009, I read it this year. I picked this book up from the McClatchy Library because I had loved Kate DiCamillo’s other books: especially Because of Winn Dixie and The Tiger Rising.

I needed a book to use to teach my class about story structure, a book that would clearly spell out the story’s problem and resolution. My plan was to find a read aloud book to my class that we could analyze and enjoy the book together. My search for the perfect book was over when I found Edward Tulane.

As usual, I always pre-read books that I read to my class. I want to make sure I know what is coming, what I’ll need to explain and so that I can practice my read aloud voice. I don’t remember the details of my solo read, but I do remember thinking this is one of the best children’s books I’d ever read.

As I sat on my chair in the front of my classroom, kids sitting on the floor at my knee, I began the read aloud by showing them the cover of the book. Like the good readers they are becoming they began asking questions and making predictions about the story just by looking at the cover.

The kids asked what miraculous meant and wondered who was that little rabbit in the red pajamas in the picture? They decided that this book must be fantasy because rabbits don’t really wear pajamas.

Sharing a chapter a day, the kids sat on the carpet criss-cross-apple-sauce, leaning forward listening intently. They were immediately entranced with the story of this China doll rabbit.

When asked about the story’s problem, one of my students explained that the story’s problem was really Edward’s problem: “It’s all about love, Ms. Hackbarth. Although many loved him, Edward himself was not able to love.”

Nothing warms a teacher’s heart more than an eight year old so clearly articulating the problem! The main character’s inability to love is the problem in this story. The other students correctly predicted that by the end of the story he would come around to loving those who had loved him longest.

Some may say that makes Edward Tulane a predictable story, but I would argue there is so much suffering in this story that the resolution leaves you feeling like love really is possible. This book is absolutely heartbreaking and in the end so redeeming that I can’t wait to share it with my class this year.


I am a very lucky woman. I get to read to kids and they pay me. So in order to earn my keep, I read kid’s books more  than most.

The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake made my class laugh so much that they made me read it to them more than once. They even made me read it out loud in front of one of our parent helpers because they said I read it so well.

This book was a particularly good pick for this class because many in my class were reluctant readers, especially my boys. By the time I had returned The Dirty Cowboy to the library, the book had been well-loved and reread by many in my class.

Stationery #best09

December 28 Stationery.

When you touch the paper, your heart melts. The ink flows from the pen. What was your stationery find of the year?

After reading this prompt, I think I may be missing out on one of life’s simple pleasures. I haven’t written or received a letter on stationery in years. Like most, I keep up with friends via email, text and Facebook. I do, however,  remember the feeling of excitement when a hand-written letter would come in the mail.

For a while, after most people were keeping up with friends only on the Internet,  my friend Joanne and I would exchange real letters. We were inspired to write letters to each other based on a book about two friends living in different parts of the world and longing to keep the connection between them.

While Jo and I no longer write letters to each other and despite living on different continents, career changes and children, we still manage to stay connected to each other. Yes, Facebook has played a role in that. A smaller role than one would think.

Instead, we plan vacations together.

Before Jojos went to medical school and still had her fancy flying around the world job, I could count on her annual visit. Once she settled in country to study medicine, I wondered how we’d keep up that pace. Thankfully she missed California and wanted to show it (and her old friends) off to her new boyfriend.

The next summer we traveled to England to meet her new baby girl and to spend a couple weeks together in the South of France. The four adults to one 9 month old baby ratio was perfect for a relaxing holiday of swimming pool hijinks and cheese eating.

Last summer Jojos brought her little family, which now included a new baby boy, back to California for some summer fun. Some friends we have in town were traveling to Italy for the summer and generously offered their house to the Brits. They have two daughters so when little Sophie came into a holiday house filled with girlie toys, she exclaimed, “It’s the House of Treasures”!

 With our adoption plans keeping us guessing, we’re not sure what our next vacation will be.  Or even when it will be. Maybe in the meantime, I’ll spend some time writing Jo a real letter on real stationery and revive that little pleasure in my life.

Social Web Moment #best09

While lurking around many blogs today trying to uncover their mystery, I stumbled up  The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge.  The idea is to write 31 posts using 31 prompts (or as many or as few as you want) as a retrospective of 2009.

I’ll start with today’s prompt and see what unfolds over the next few days…

December 27 Social web moment.

Did you meet someone you used to only know from her blog? Did you discover Twitter? 

Blog – I’d say my biggest blog moment in 2009 is that I started one! It wasn’t my idea, but here I am trying to figure out what to write, when to write, how to write etc. I feel like a toddler learning to type or a dog trying to drive the car.

Yes, I can do it, but someone might need to take the wheel every once in a while or everyone might get car sick.

Anyway…Michelle Marlahan, our lovely leader of the It’s All Yoga teacher training, asked us to document our journey of becoming yoga teachers. About half of us signed up and shared our discoveries along the way. See my blogroll for the scoop…

While we have just wrapped up our official training, most of us are still using our blogs to find our new place in the world. I feel like these blogs have let us see what is behind the curtain for the new teachers. It feels like a community.

Havi Brooks of the Fluent Self is a complete genius. She came to Sacramento to talk to me and all the other newbie yoga teachers about business stuff and to do some very cool dancing.

I’m so glad I got to meet her in person. She has so many interesting and thoughtful and wordy things to say in her blog, it was nice to hear them and now I’m so much better at understanding what she’s talking about. I hope I get to meet her again!

I discovered Twitter because my favorite singer, @rhettmiller is on there.  Embarrassing semi-stalker confessions, but totally true. He’s the first person on my following list and he was my #97 when he decided to follow me (amazing because his band is called the Old97s).

Getting Rhett Miller to follow me took some lobbying from one of my other Twitter friends @sophieandlili who I did not know before the wonderful world of Twitter.

In addition to keeping apprised of all things Rhett, I’ve connected with a bunch of really interesting, smart women while I was there: @sophieandlili, @beckyandhollee, @ashmont  to name just a couple.


I love you.